BMW K bikes (Bricks)

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Catching K pox ellicited this in an email from the old man...

'The year was about 1908, and he had bought a new Douglas motorbike with two horizontally-opposed cylinders. The successor of this early model was still around when I bought my first bike, but it was too expensive for me. My dad's bike had a brake, but no gears or clutch. So it was a question of push-starting, and braking and stalling to stop. A little while later he sold the bike to buy an engagement ring for your grandmother-in-law, and became a 4-wheel man.

By the time I was old enough to buy a bike, I chose a 1929 Ariel 500 cc, with a smart gear-lever on the tank. It cost £20 and ran for a fortnight before the big end broke. I got £10 for scrap. My next bike was a Triumph 350 cc, ex WD.....that meant that it had been a War Department machine, and had been sold as surplus to the Army's requirements- not surprisingly. It went well but drank oil in huge quantities. After riding this machine from Dundee towards Oxford, it developed a frightening wheel-wobble, and we crashed near Woodstock, only ten miles short of a Triumphal entry to Oriel College. Instead I was admitted to the Radcliffe Hospital, and discharged the next day. Crash helmet? We had never heard of the things.

The same day, tempting fate, I got a lift on a Vincent back to the scene of the crash, and picked up the Triumph, which was tough enough to deal with the odd crash without weakening. I loved the Vincent, which was the top of the range in those days, except for the mighty shaft-drive BMW, which alas was way beyond what I could afford.

I kept the Triumph outside the main gate of the college, but had to move it when the Provost's wife slipped on the patch of oil it had left, and broke her arm. I didn't dare confess my crime, and I don't think that the Provost or his damaged wife saw the link between the patch of oil and the young idiot who had dropped it there. I parked it round the corner in Merton St.

Next term I persuaded my brother Stephen to let me have his car, which he agreed to, on condition that I would sell it and credit him with the money. I remember telling a prospective buyer that the noise he could hear from the boot of the car was simply a loose petrol can, rather than the rotten body-work caught in some moving part or other. I got $100 for the car, but whether I charged Stephen commission on the deal I can't remember.

Happy days! no money and no morals either!'

'88 K100RT, '86 K75C, '05 Yamaha TTR250

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