Gone But Not Forgotten
I was 16 when I got my first motorbike. Back in 1987 we didn't have to do any test to ride the 50cc bike, my parents bought me the bike to use to get to college on and I got on it and went.
The first trip I made was from my parents house to Maidstone where my grandparents lived, the journey is about 25 miles each way. I had no idea how to use the clutch and stalled the bike at every set of lights. Since the bike didn't have an electric start I spent a lot of time kick starting it. I stayed tight into the curb and my father followed me in his van as a support vehicle.
I started going to college in Greenhithe, the site of the college is now the housing estate down on the river front next to Ingress Abbey. Before the Bluewater shopping centre had been built I would ride from Greenhithe out to the A2 and towards London to get home. Riding down the hill on the way home was good, I could get almost 50Mph when the wind was behind me. Riding in to college, up the hill, was another matter. As the heavy lorries climbed up the hill toward the Greenhithe turning I would catch them up, unfortunately I didn't have the power to pull out and overtake. This often meant that I was part of the convoy of slow lorries riding up the hill.
Only once in the year that I had the bike did it fail me. My parents had gone on holiday leaving my nan looking after my brother and I. I got to college and the cog on the engine fell off. Without the tools to fix the bike at college I had to push it the 13 miles home.
The day that I passed my driving test for the car I stopped riding the bike completely. Not long after that dad sold the bike, mainly so he could get his garage space back.
14 years later I'm still able to wear the same boots and gloves. Though I still have the safety helmet the lining is starting to deteriorate so I had to get a new one.