Tales from a Motorcycle Saddle.

"One Man and His Velo"

Preface and Introduction

1991  2118 miles in eight days on a 30 year old Velocette for the Dreams Come True Children's Charity, taking in John O'Groats and Lands End.

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A cold day.

Preface and Introduction
Day 1: Best Laid Plans
Day 2 Alone
Day 3 To J-J-John O'G-G-Groats and B-Back
Day 4 From High to Low
Day 5 Getting Warm
Day 6 Brum and Beyond
Day 7 Surprise Surprise!
Day 8 The Long Ride Home
Postscript

The LE Velo Club website.

Click here to visit the LE Velo Club website

Preface.
Who is this little account of my trip aimed at? I compiled it for the pleasure of doing so, realising as I proceeded that it would be too motor-cycle-orientated for those with little interest in them, and here I was primarily thinking of my wife. Also, it would not be technical enough for, say, members of the L.E. Velo Club. The person who kept coming to mind as I wrote was our friend Reg.
Reg and Doff are parents of Mike, a school friend of mine who was taken from them at the age of 24. I kept in contact with them and when Lynn, my wife, came into my life she came into theirs too. We have enjoyed many days out as well as a couple of weekends away together.
Reg and I have had long chats about things mechanical -he is one of those clever people who, with very few tools can produce lawnmowers from washing machine bits, garden seats from hedgerows and play houses from scrap materials. He loves reading autobiographies, travelogues and books of a mechanical or engineering nature.
--So, for Reg, here is:
ONE MAN AND HIS VELO

Introduction
July 1991  This is it. No popping back home now in five minutes. Home was two days and according to my log, 523 miles away. If the tent leaked I had no car to shelter in, if I needed company, I had no one to speak to. It had taken twenty one years to get into this situation, so I had better enjoy it. And I was.  What situation? This situation, of having a tent, and camping alone in Scotland. The motorcycle aspect only entered 1974.
Let me explain.
In 1970 I applied to join the Hertfordshire Police cadets. I can remember very little of the day spent at the H.Q. but I can recall being interviewed (by a Chief Super?) who realising that perhaps I had led a
sheltered life, suggested I should: "... take a tent and go camping in Scotland." I think I effectively destroyed any chance of a Police career by asking, "Why, Sir?" Three months later I received a letter saying that because "... of your health, I am afraid we can no longer offer you a position in the Force", which allowed them to refuse me without telling the truth, i.e. I was totally unsuitable.
Four years later I found myself in a job seventeen miles from home. I purchased, as an additional form of transport, a BSA Bantam, a D10 Sports model for 55. This had as much go as a Raleigh Wisp, probably due to the D7 piston in the D10 cylinder. On my country lane journey home, I found myself thinking once again of camping. I toyed with the idea and came to the conclusion that it was impractical. The Bantam died and so did the idea.
So, how come then, many years later, I found myself lying in a tiny tent, listening to rain falling on the flysheet and wondering how waterproof the electrics are on a thirty year old ex police "Noddy" bike? It didn't happen quickly but several ideas came together over a period of months. Summarised, the conversations with my wife were:
"I've always wanted to travel from John O'Groats to Land's End."

"Do it then! You've got the Vulgar Velo to go on."
"But it's over 2000 miles, round trip, from here. I'll be gone for a week."
"So? I'll survive. Anyway, it'll be nice to have the house to myself and the children for a week." (For "children", read "cats", five of the little darlings, to be precise.) She continued,
"BUT," (why is there always a BUT to put restrictions on an idea?)
"I'll only let you go if you get sponsorship and raise money for my charity."
"Her" charity, to explain, is Lynn's favourite, Dreams Come True, which will be described in detail later but briefly, it is a charity that makes dreams come true for seriously and often terminally ill children.
That is how the idea came about. My cousin promised me the loan of his tent. I had an extremely well designed, if old, small and rather slow motorcycle but most of all, I had a real reason to do it, not just to realise a dream of my own, but to help dreams to come true for children who have neither the ability nor time to realise their own.

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