Beachcomber's Tales from the day

beachcomber

TJ - Beachcomber
Some of you may have read my little story about "fishing for Gold Stars" from the early sixties, and there was a suggestion that there should be a thread for more of the same - others have indicated a willingness to throw their hats in the ring - so I'll kick it off. PLEASE - no "he said she said , but it might have been his Brother's stepson" - first hand stories are best.

Hopefully this will give a bit of an insight to the Cafe Racer Roots for the younger devotees.

"Get out of my town "

1962, riding with a bunch of good mates back from a burn up that started at Gallows corner and ended in Southend [ 20 miles ] - Southend is a bit like a small Coney Island - for East Enders. So after taking our fill of jellied eels, winkles and cockles and other Essex delicacies, we took a slowish ride back to Romford, which was the largest town in the area. It was also a market town - and in those days still held weekly livestock sales - in other words - a bit of a hick town. At the time my main ride was an ex-race Manx Norton that had "Bobby Dodger" bicycle lamps front and rear to make it "road legal" - that was the only change from the race track - oh yes and a bulb hooter. The approach to the market square was over a slight rise and as we were all meeting up at a Caff in the square - I thought I'd announce my arrival by screwing the bolloxs off the Manx and letting it bellow on the over-run through the open megga into the square, by now 2.0 am.

However, plod was on his late shift - and on a push bike coming the other way. On hearing the commotion he started waving his torch at me to stop - I obliged by taking the torch off my forks and waving it back!! Not a good start to our relationship. Now then - you have to imagine a good old English Bobby, with pointy helmet [ on his head ! ] and wearing a Dracula style cape over his shoulders. So I pulled over, with 20 or so of my riding buddies behind. He started to give me a dressing down, but his voice was drowned out by the instant revving of 20 or so bikes!

This got him really mad, so he went for the ultimate option - he drew his truncheon - now a truncheon was not like the US versions - this was around 12" long and more like a small club. Remember English cops have never been armed with anything lethal. So, Her Majesty's finest takes a legs akimbo stance in front of my bike slowly banging the truncheon into his other open palm for effect [ ?? ]
.
Walking around the bike he then stops at the main cause for his concern - the open megga. Still smacking the truncheon into his open hand he warns me that apart from the other 10 or so violations he could do me for - the open pipe was the worst offence.

He then insists that I start the bike - which entails a racing push off as there's no kick starter. To keep the engine running you had to slowly blip the throttle, which made a glorious noise on the over-run.. Plod was not impressed by this display and stopped banging his hand long enough to stick his truncheon up the megga................

"Ahha, I thought so" states Sherlock - "NO baffles".

"Fuck my old boots " says I " they must have all blown out down the road!

By this time my mates are in fits of laughter and the copper realised that he has lost any small control he might have had and decides to withdraw gracefully.

He returns to slapping his hand with the truncheon ..................... now covered in exhaust grime, soot and shit.

He takes one more tour of the bike, this time stroking his bushy moustache for dramatic effect.

"Well my lad, it's your lucky day - just get out of my town and don't come back until that exhaust is fixed".

By this time it's all me and the lads can do to stop pissing ourselves with laughter........................

 

djelliott

Real bikes are built in garages.
Nice. That could be a scene from movie. Keep them coming. I love the first hand accounts.
 

tWistedWheelz

BUILT NOT BOUGHT!
I love IT! Please keep up the tales of beachcomber! You are a talented writer, I could visualize every second of your story and even see that smirky grin you were wearing! ;D
 

beachcomber

TJ - Beachcomber
I'd have given my left bollock to see the reaction when he got back to the nick with his face covered in exhaust soot !!!
 

Rocan

"Long after I rest, my steel will live on"
haha! oh mann, that is funny as hell!

more please!

you should write a book!
 

IndieSol

"This one goes to eleven." -Nigel Tufnel
Great story.

Reminds me a bit of my dad. My father was a greaser growing up. I imagine greasers don't need a whole lot of introduction for those of us in the states, but for the users elsewhere in the world, they were more or less the American version of cafe racers in the 1950s. They were, from my dad's accounts, very much like what the British papers made the mods and rockers out to be. They were, especially in the case of my father and his friends, a rowdy bunch not afraid to get in trouble. In fact, my father has had false teeth since he was sixteen, when he (on his own) told a large group of dudes to "Eat me like a Hershey bar, nuts and all" He went on to join the Military, where he stayed for twenty years, including special forces duty in Vietnam. In short, he's a badass.

Anyways, my father and I were driving down the lonely highway 50 in Nevada. It's supposedly the loneliest highway in America. There are lots of stretches where someone can open up the throttle a bit. It was in one of these stretches that my father got popped by a state trooper for speeding. He must have been doing 110 or 120 when the cop nailed him.

The cop comes up to the window, asks my dad for his license and registration and asked "Do you know how fast you were going back there?"

"Absolutely not, officer. You can't take your eyes off the road at that speed. Not even for a second."

Had I been a bit older, and had more experience with police officers, I would have shat when he started laughing, but that's exactly what he did.

He ended up letting my dad off with a warning.

Side note - Were it not for Geography, my dad would have definitely been a cafe racer. He was even born in London's East end, sixth district. My grandmother is British and worked for the MOI as a typist during WWII before she met my granddad.
 

beachcomber

TJ - Beachcomber
Thanx for the encouragement and kind words - quite honestly there were a hundred tales from the day. You really had to be there to believe some of the stories. However, I PROMISE anything I write WILL be from first hand experience.

I don't want to overload the system - and I'd like to hear stories from others - so I'll spin them out over the coming months.

Upcoming before Christmas - a story about a vanishing motorcyclist - there's two stories actually - I'll pick one.
 

beachcomber

TJ - Beachcomber
OK you guys - here's the choice for the "Christmas Tales".

1. The Vanishing Motorcyclist [ #1 ] - MY favourite
2. The Vanishing Motorcyclist [ #2 ]
3. The Crispy Daimler Dart - GRP 2 seater British sports car - given to the pursuit police to catch the bikes !!!!
4. The disintegrating Robin Reliant - 3 wheel GRP utility car - used in the UK comedy show "Only Fools and Horses".

OK - any one of the above and the most popular vote gets it. The other 3 will appear sometime next Spring. Don't worry there are dozens more for the rest of the year !

Just a bit of English translation in advance -

1. Roundabout - or traffic island. Used in the UK [ and EU ] usually where there are more than 4 roads at a junction [ not always ], and especially where the traffic flow doesn't need to be slowed to a stop by traffic lights.
2. Dual Carriageway - 2 lanes in each direction usually seperated by a central barrier.
3. Lay-Bye - I have NO idea what the US equivalent might be, but these are sections of the highway [ usually around 400 - 800 yards] widened on the nearside for trucks / cars to pull over / rest.
4. "Lanes" - very narrow country roads barely wide enough for 2 compact cars to pass usually bordered with hedges and sometimes, liberally covered in cow shit.
5. Transports Caffs - contrary to popular misconception, in the early 60's we used to meet in Caffs set aside mainly for truckers - NOT Coffee Bars. Coffee bars were a later phenomenon - 67 on - and were MAINLY used by Mods. We very rarely met at pubs or consumed alcohol while out for a ride. Ohhhh - don't even get me stated about Juke Box "Record Racing".

That'll do for now and hopefully stop my US cousins saying "WDF is he on about"
 

phrige

I'm a pig, I'm A dog so exuse me if I drool.
I vote for #1,

THough really curious to hear them all. #3 sounds promising!
 

tWistedWheelz

BUILT NOT BOUGHT!
Can't wait to hear them all, like phringe, number 3 has my interest, but #1 being your fav, I've gotta hear it!

Thanks again comber for sharing these tales, this is better than any TV show or mag out there!

Do you want to adopt a grown american man to be your very own son?
 

Saki

New Member
beachcomber said:
OK you guys - here's the choice for the "Christmas Tales".

1. The Vanishing Motorcyclist [ #1 ] - MY favourite
2. The Vanishing Motorcyclist [ #2 ]
3. The Crispy Daimler Dart - GRP 2 seater British sports car - given to the pursuit police to catch the bikes !!!!
4. The disintegrating Robin Reliant - 3 wheel GRP utility car - used in the UK comedy show "Only Fools and Horses".

OK - any one of the above and the most popular vote gets it. The other 3 will appear sometime next Spring. Don't worry there are dozens more for the rest of the year !

Just a bit of English translation in advance -

1. Roundabout - or traffic island. Used in the UK [ and EU ] usually where there are more than 4 roads at a junction [ not always ], and especially where the traffic flow doesn't need to be slowed to a stop by traffic lights.
2. Dual Carriageway - 2 lanes in each direction usually seperated by a central barrier.
3. Lay-Bye - I have NO idea what the US equivalent might be, but these are sections of the highway [ usually around 400 - 800 yards] widened on the nearside for trucks / cars to pull over / rest.
4. "Lanes" - very narrow country roads barely wide enough for 2 compact cars to pass usually bordered with hedges and sometimes, liberally covered in cow shit.
5. Transports Caffs - contrary to popular misconception, in the early 60's we used to meet in Caffs set aside mainly for truckers - NOT Coffee Bars. Coffee bars were a later phenomenon - 67 on - and were MAINLY used by Mods. We very rarely met at pubs or consumed alcohol while out for a ride. Ohhhh - don't even get me stated about Juke Box "Record Racing".

That'll do for now and hopefully stop my US cousins saying "WDF is he on about"
the lay-bye would just be a rest stop, though ours are quite fancy and normally have bathrooms and such though some are just a little stretch of road and nothing else.

As for my vote I'd like to hear #1 cause if its your favorite its gotta be good.
 

RatBag22

New Member
Lay-bye? good heaven's, slang must change from place to place in the UK as well...

In wales we call it a "hard shoulder" it baffles me as to why, but it seem's to have stuck.
 

beachcomber

TJ - Beachcomber
Lay Bye - English versions are generally just a piece of ashphalt set aside for brief stops / breakdowns. In the EU - France and Germany especially they are proper rest over places with toilet / washing facilities, pic-nic tables and so on.

BTW - the "dual carriageways" originally acted as arterial roads to carry traffic around a town rather than through it - for that reason they were also called " Bye-Pass".

I won a prize from an English bike mag. once for alliteration based on Bye-Pass - " Bought a Bonnie to burn up the bye-pass" was one of my offerings. Got me a years' free subscription to the mag !

Forget my preferrence - it's your choice - #3 seems to have it on a free vote, #1 has been biased by me I guess. Don't worry - both had me in stitches just recalling the incidents!

Hey - do you have Roundabouts in the US? Favourite haunt of the 4 wheel "drifter boys" as you can imagine.
 

Drewski

"Invictus Maneo" - I remain unvanquished!
DTT BOTM WINNER
beachcomber said:
Hey - do you have Roundabouts in the US? Favourite haunt of the 4 wheel "drifter boys" as you can imagine.
There are a few in Canada, but I don't think they're very common. I've seen a couple in prairie cities and a few in Toronto.

Down the road a little in Cambridge, ON, the "powers that be" decided to add some small roundabouts in the suburbs of the city a couple of years ago. I think it was just to be different. Most of the locals hate 'em!! They confuse the crap outta too many drivers around here! ;D

Keep the tales comin' Beachcomber!! :) 8)
 
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