Whilst I have not ridden a motor bike for many years now, they did form part of my early transport regime at another time, decades ago. My BSA Bantam was red, was not in as good a condition as in the illustration and was as primitive as shown.
Purchased for £A18.00 (pre-decimal currency) and traded in to $18.00, this was probably my first encounter with poor business decisions!
Armed with a spark plug feeler gauge and enough energy to push start when the kick starter did not work – I was free to roam Brisbane. Many of my mates owned motor bikes and their advice and support was constantly called upon for support; although I did feel that I had pushed the machine for almost the same amount of time as I rode it.
My first serious, albeit small, motor cycle was a nearly new Honda Sport 90cc (S90) machine. Note the word “Sport” – more in name than performance; I mean what sport machine would have a wind shield? An accessory that was rapidly taken off. This bike took me all over South Eastern Queensland.
The need for speed finally caught up with me. Enter the Honda Sport 250cc. No wind shield and a serious ability to exceed speed limits in most gears. This was fitted with leather pannier saddle bags (to hold photographic gear) and on occasions a small amount of camping equipment.
Whilst a motor cycle was not as good in the area of wooing of girls (a VW borrowed from a brother was called for there), it certainly was a cheap and easy form of travel. The problems started seriously as I ramped up my involvement in the photography industry. It was possible to ride whilst dressed in a suit and tie – such were the times we lived in – and one saddle bag could carry a Nikon F and a Mamiya C3; whilst on the other side would be my trusty Metz 502, film and business cards.
The Metz was a solid German made electronic flash gun powered by a wet cell battery, stored in a pack which was carried over one shoulder. Whilst the flash head could be angled upwards, this form of bounce flash was seriously discouraged by the erstwhile employers for whom I worked.
Probably the pivotal point that took me from two wheels to four wheels was arriving at a bride’s home just prior to one of Brisbane’s seasonal monsoonal storms in January and realising that my spray jacket was not going to protect me from the down pour, let alone protect the delicate and expensive photographic gear.
A second hand Hillman Minx was purchased – but that is another story all-together!