English Essay 1994

 ONE HOT SUMMER BY ALAN NOLAN

Cast                     The bikes

Brian                  Kawasaki Gpz1100 B1

Alan/Mike          Yamaha Xj650f

Loopy                  Gt550 Chop

Motty                  CB750K5

Pete                     Triumph T120                     

Brian’s mum       Wheel Chair

It was a warm humid summer-unusual for this country- but that’s how it began. We were all supposed to meet at a friends house at two o'clock and as usual with every bike outing I’d been on with the this crowd, things weren’t running to schedule and on arrival at loopy’s no one was there except him scoffing his tea. 

His mum offered mike and me some dinner, Mike accepted the offer of dinner and she started dishing it out. I declined and told the pair of them that I needed to chase up the others, I decided to take control of this outing as I felt responsible due to the fact it was my idea and I had suggested going to the destination. I told Mike and Loopy to hang loose- but they were to busy scoffing and didn’t seem to take any notice - while I found out what the others where up to.

First stop was Brian's and then Pete's. Brian “the lazy bastard’” was in bed and looked like he'd been on the piss the night before when he eventually got up. He obviously had forgotten all about the weekend run. I was waiting for him in the front room with his old mother who was confined to a wheelchair and swore like a 'docker'. 

All the time I was there She kept banging on his bedroom wall, which was next to the sitting room in the bungalow, with her wooden stick and shouting "come on Brian get up " ; she said Alan's here. The reply was just a grunt and some rustling sounds from the bedroom. Fifteen minutes later he appeared from the bedroom, stuck a fag in his gob and collapsed in one of the armchairs in the front room. We spent the next ten minutes discussing the events of his previous night out down at the pub while drinking tea. 

Eventually, he dragged himself out of the chair and started to get his stuff ready. All the time he was packing his gear his mum was constantly nagging him about money he owed her and chores he promised to do but he took no notice and muttered under his breath f*** Off, while pulling faces at me. 

Outside in the car park he slowly strapped his gear on to his bike with a series of bungee straps. Impatiently I started my bike and began to rev her up, hoping he’d get the hint that I was in a rush, but he just went even slower. His bike was a swine to start due to all the excessive tuning mods but eventually it sparked up and burst into life. 

I used to constantly take the piss out him when he put it into the Kawasaki shop to have the work done because he was always ringing them up and they were always putting off the collection date. I use to tease him saying that the mechanic doing his tuning was some cowboy with a huge hammer and chisel wacking big chunks of metal of the cylinder head. Why he’d had it tuned was no ones business because It was a Kawasaki GPZ 1100 probably the fastest road bike at the time and it made my Yamaha 650 look like a moped, even though both where capable of speeds above 120 MPH plus. 

Brian always had to have the fastest bike available when Suzuki had the quickest he had a Suzuki and when Honda had the fastest he had a Honda .He flew out the car park like he was in some sort of race and I followed him hammering it in every gear to keep up with him. 

We were at Pete’s in a matter of seconds and surprisingly he was all ready. He had a Triumph T120, it wasn’t as quick as the Jap bikes but it was so cool looking, it oozed a sort of Steve McQueen coolness. I liked it but Brian thought it was shit slow. 

We set off again and headed to the original meeting place all burning rubber. By the time we had got back to loopy’s it was about three o’clock and to my surprise motty had turned up, he said last week he wasn’t going because his Honda 750 had probs but he’d sorted it and was now up for it.    

 I wanted to get an earlier start than this because all the Muppets in cars would be jamming up all the roads coming home from work. So without any delay at Loopy’s we started off. We were going to Lake District and we had already discussed the route the previous week at the pub. The route was straight down the M6 and turn off at Kendal on some A-road. Cruising at about 90 MPH the journey should have only taken one and half-hours but mottty had to stop for a fag every half an hour and we didn’t get to Ambleside until teatime. 

It was quiet in the town with an odd number of tourists browsing round the main shopping mall, I insisted we look for a campsite before it got too late but the rest of lads wanted to dive in the chip shop and get something to eat, so I gave in and we stuffed our faces with fish and chips. We sat by the bikes in a small car park eating the food, Pete was eyeing up ever piece of talent that walked past us and Brian was pulling stupid faces behind Loopy’s back. 

We all agreed that we had to find somewhere to camp and so we split up into two groups. Mike,Motty,Pete and Brian would wait in ambleside and me and loopy would look for a campsite. The first night Mike, Motty, Pete and Brian pitched their tent on a car park in Ambleside. 

I ended up in Hawkshead with loopy because I didn’t want to leave my expensive tent on a car park. I went to the village pub with bender boy(Loopy) and they got shit faced in some trendy wine bar and invited back to a swinging party. Mike pissed on a carpet in one of the rooms at the party and got all of them throw out. He also tried a bong but was blowing instead of sucking and they thought he was taking the piss, which he probably was because he didn’t smoke. 

When they got back to the tent, it was pissing it down and tent collapsed because Motty jumped on it pissed and snapped the centre pole. Motty then slept in a puddle of water in his sleeping bag while Mike,Pete and Brian slept in the tent with no centre pole. They all got pissed wet threw. 

Something I did not know before setting off on this trip was it's very hard to get a pitch on any campsite in the Lake district if you’re an all male group motorcyclists, local people seem to think your trouble and will not give you the time of day. Anyway, after much pleading with one of the campsite owner's he agreed to let us pitch our tents, I was doing all the pleading and the others just sat round. 

Motty was showing off wheel spinning his  bike in front of some teenage girls and when I come back and told him to stop it, he replied by saying who are, vicar Nolan. After the tents where set up it was time to sample the local ale, so off to the pub we went. 

After all that travelling round looking for a campsite, we had been very lucky find one right next to pub, it was only two minutes walk from the site. It was business as usual; our business of getting drunk and having a good laugh, to my surprise the locals in the pub were quite friendly and they gave us a good game of darts. We won of course, Mike the lad on the back of my bike and whom I had known since school days was an excellent darts player and wiped the floor with them. 

Time past and last orders were called; all of us were drunk and ready for bed. The night never seems to end when you are having a good time and on the way back to the campsite we carried on laughing and joking. 

Back at the site we crept in to our tents and carried on drinking, the ale that we had bought from the pub as a carry out, until we were so tired we all fell to sleep. 

The next morning I woke up rough from the previous nights boozing mouth dry and the stale smell of ale on my breath, the tent smelled like a rugby players dressing room. It was sunny outside and Brian was crouching at the bottom of my tent "wakeup Alan we are all going for a swim", the rest of the lads were all outside waiting to go so off we went looking for a stream or lake to take a dip. 

Down the little country lanes we rode all in a line all chasing after each other, that's what it's like when we go anywhere it's all a game and everyone’s racing each other, suddenly Brian who's all ways in front, stops and pulls over on a grass verge. 

When we had all come to a halt, we could see a stream down in a gorge and decided this was the ideal place for an afternoon dip. Time to strip off and dive into the cool water, relax and splash about and have a good time, forget about work and everything back home. 

After the swim we decided to go to Keswick, it's a pleasant little town full of Tudor buildings shadowing cobbled narrow streets with several quaint public houses. Opening time at the pub so we called in for an afternoon drink, a game of pool, and then back to campsite for a few hour's sleep before another session in the local ale house. It sounds like an alcoholics dream, but that’s what people do when they are on holiday, relax and drink anyway "you're only young once" has the saying goes. 

Sunday Morning:, work tomorrow I might as well try and squeeze has much pleasure into this holiday as I can, so we are up nice an early and off into Ambleside messing round on the bikes, a couple of pints in the pub, a boat ride on the lake and then back to pack up at the campsite and then off for home. 

 The end


FATMANS GUIDE TO SECOND HAND MOTORCYCLES

Jeremy Clarkson and top gear faggots watch out fatmans about.

Fatmanratometer key to ratings

Rating 1 “shit” >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Rating 10 “Dogs”   

My bikes             Rating Dates

 Suzuki B120 Suzuki     2          1978

This was my very first bike I bought it for £120 from some youngish bloke inWarrington. I went with the Old man to view it and he spent the whole time trying to haggle about the price with the poor fellow by dissing the bike. We eventually agreed on a price and I think we put it in the back of the old mans van because he wouldn’t let me ride home. I got insurance but the old man insisted I practice down at Vic Carr’s farm before I ventured out onto the roads.  It wasn’t bad for a starter bike but it kept over- heating because the old man had altered the fuel mixture because he said it was running too rich. He liked to mess about with fuel systems on vehicles because every car he had stunk of petrol due to his tinkering. I didn’t like the styling of the bike it was very commuter looking and not very sporty. I realised how slow it was when I went out with a gang lads from murdishaw on a bike ride. They all had much fastest bikes and just burnt off leaving me behind. I can’t remember it being good at anything; it was uncomfortable, slow and dull looking.  

Honda CB250 G5         7        1979

I bought this from L&AB in Widnes for £395 pounds. I always wanted one because one of the lads who I used to know from the murdishaw gang had one. His name was Nick and he always wore a wrangler jacket, not leathers like other bikers. He loved chasing sports cars on his G5 and he looked dead cool as he flew up road burning after them. The Honda G5 was a large bike for a 250, it had the 750 cool styling, good power and comfort. I had to sell it because it was burning oil and would have cost too much to fix.   

Suzuki GT250A          4       1980

Another sale for L&AB, this bike cost me £300 cash plus £350 part exchange for my G5. I liked the bright red colour and white stripes. It rode well but was constantly breaking down. I remember going round to my girlfriends house (Joy the bike) on it and her stepfather asked me whether it was a triumph, I thought he was a bit thick because it had Suzuki wrote across the tank in massive letters. I also remember being at the traffic lights on the brow chasing Brian and Jonesy on their FS1E’s (50cc Yamaha) and the bloody thing blew the engine costing me a fortune.  I sold it for £15 to one of Brian's mates; it was completely knackered by then, though.

The Old Man Bike     

Cossack voskhod 175     3   1982

Old-fashioned triumph looking heavy twin two-stroke with no power, bad brakes and chronic handling, which can only be described using the metaphor “pissed up camel“. This was the old mans pride and joy. I don’t know where he bought it from or why or what ever happened to it. I only remember borrowing it from him when I worked at Vibroplant and running it into a set of portable traffic lights on the way to work. The bike slide down the road and the tank and headlamp were damaged. I offered to pay for the damage but he wouldn’t have it. I do remember he had it when he lived at Chester working at the gas board because he kept in the outside shed, is it still there? Who knows? Was it a symbolic representation of his loyalty to communism along with that horrible Lada, again who knows?  

Suzuki GT 250 X7       7     1982

I bought this bike from Brian Blackburn for £250, I think he bought it for £400 but it was looking a bit tired by the time I got it. I cleaned it up and I remember I was always pulling wheelies on it because it had good power to weight ratio. I pulled one outside Vibroplant and twisted my ankle when the bike hit the deck. They had to send me home in a works van and lacky took me to Warrington hospital. It was quite fast and sporty looking but its best point was the custom paint job of a church in a cemetery on the tank and panels. Wherever I went people passing would stop and admire the paintwork, it was a bit of a crowd pleaser.

Kawasaki Z44oG      4      1984

The old man helped me buy this because I didn’t have enough cash. The women selling it wanted £500 for it, it belonged to her husband but he had died in a building site freak accident and the bike had been left in the garage gathering dust. I went up to look at it with the old man it was just around the corner from where Chrissie was living. when on the farm in Buckley. It was so embarrassing this poor young women trying to get a decent price for her dead husbands pride and joy while the old man slagged the bike off to get the price dropped . She agreed on a price of £450 and we went back the following night with the cash and I rode it home. It was a nice looking comfortable bike but was very slow. I only kept it for about a year because I got so bored of it riding it. 

Yamaha XJ650F      9    1985

I bought the Xj650 because Ross (an old flame) had one.

I loved this bike from the first moment I saw it in the showroom of a Kawasaki dealer in Liverpool with a price sticker of £750 on it. I asked the dealer about part exchange for my Z440 but he didn’t seemed to be interested because he said “ 440! It’s not a 250 and it’s not a 500” what is it?. In the end I managed to swing the deal with paying the difference in cash he gave £400 for my 440 part exchange and I paid £350 cash. Brian rode it back to Runcorn for me because I wasn’t insured, he said it was the business for 650 and it was. It had plenty of power, lovely lines and handled well. It was very comfortable and went like a rocket. When I went back home to Chester the old man nearly had a heart attack. He said you won’t be happy until you’ve got a spitfire engine in a bike frame. It had a quarter fairing that looked dead smart and I fitted an Alpha four into one exhaust on it. It looked and sounded like the dogs bollocks. I destroyed this bike despatch riding on it in London and sold it for buttons when I come back home. It was a sad end to a beautiful machine.          

Honda CbX 550 F1   7            1986

I bought this from a guy in Widnes for £575 when I started work at scherings . It was a nice looking, comfortable, fast medium sized bike with funny looking inboard disks. I went on honeymoon to Scotland on this bike in November! It was cold and icy, a bit like the person I went with. I sold the CBX for nearly the same price as I bought it, so I reckon it was a solid investment considering it took me back and forth to work for a good twelve months.                  

Yamaha 350 LC     7      1988

I bought this from Brian Blackburn for £175, it was the bike he had his “accident” on. I repaired it without it costing me a fortune and it went like a rocket and handled well. I had the top end totally rebuilt at Grampian motors (Bootle) and took it out for a spin. At ninety miles an hour the thing locked up and left half the back tyre on the expressway. Luckily it freed up and I didn’t have any more problems with it. The only bad point was the paintwork; it was a horrible matt black without decals.   

Suzuki Gs1000S     8                1989

I bought this from a bike shop in west bank (Widnes) for £1100 they gave me £500 part exchange for my 350 LC plus I paid £600 cash. It was a very heavy fast bike but I had strip the gearbox down because second gear went after a few months of buying it. The Old man helped me with the gearbox because it got a bit complicated stripping it down. It was very comfortable, fast and good for two up touring. The handling was a bit of a nightmare, you had to have arms like a gorilla to keep it upright and steady, it tank slapped and weaved like a crazy mule. I wrote it off on the Chester southerly by-pass when a pair of young lads in a sports car tail ended me coming back to Runcorn from Chester. It was sold for scrap because the witness at scene stitched me up and the insurance wouldn’t payout.   

Suzuki GsxR 750H    9    1993

I bought this bike of Brian’s boss when Brian worked in London for £1850, it was very fast, not the best handling bike but all right in a straight line. It wasn’t a comfortable bike neither but I did like the styling and power grin factor. It got nicked and I cashed in on the insurance.

Yamaha FZ 750 E     9      1995

I bought this bike from a motorcycle dealer in Preston for £2500. It had the coolest paint job I had ever seen and was super quick, comfortable and reliable. I took it for a test drive, paid cash that day and rode it away. It was a beautiful bike and I wrote it off going to college one frosty November morning when I braked too hard. The bike ended up smashing into a transit van and I ended up in hospital. I had a pop at the copper who came to scene of the accident before being transported off in an ambulance. It was sold for scrap.   

Suzuki GSX750F     9      1996

I went to Rochdale Suzuki to pick up this bike, it cost £2800 but it was immaculate. The GSX isn’t everyone’s cup of tea because it’s not as sporty as the GSXR but it has a decent top end speed, acceleration and much better comfort.  I went to college on it all summer and then sent off to London on it. It was very comfortable, nice styling and very reliable. I sold it for £2400 when I lived in London so I didn’t lose an arm and a leg, when moving on to the next project.

YamahaFZR 1000   9       1998

I went to view this bike with motty at perivale London. I paid a deposit and later went back with Tony to pay the full amount £1999. It was very fast, reasonably comfortable. I painted the belly pan with all sorts of witches and Halloween stuff because the paint looked a bit tired. It had one problem it would overheat in traffic jams because the fan didn’t kick in. I sold it when I packed in my job to buy a workhorse to despatch on.    

Kawasaki GPX 600.  8     1999

I bought this bike from south London for £900. It was immaculate when I got it but I used it to despatch on and seized up the gearbox costing me £500 to repair. It was fast, comfortable and reliable and I despatched on it for about eight months. I swapped it for brain’s TV /video appliance when I left London because the MOT had ran out and it needed lots of work done on it.

Honda CBR 900 blade  9 1/2  2003

I bought this from a milkman in middlewich because I was fed up being stuck in traffic driving to work, it cost me £1800. It was mega fast with great handling but it was uncomfortable to drive over long distances. You can view this bike in all its Halloween glory on the Nesthole link. I sent this photo to the American chopper competition but only won discovery channel cap.

                                                   Rating

Others I rode for work purposes

CX500 (Lady bird).                                                  

I rode a CX at OTT and it was either just a bad un or they’re all horrible shit-slow, bad handling, unreliable pieces of shit. It was quite good on the fuel and pretty comfortable though to be honest.

Kawasaki GT550                             8

I also rode a GT550 at OTT. They were very good for despatching on. Excellent on fuel, low maintenance, comfortable and with a decent amount of speed/acceleration available.

Honda 650 revere                          9

These bikes are the dog’s bollocks when despatching and they have everything - Comfort, economy, low maintenance, flexibility through traffic, good handling and if you get one with a fairing luxury. I had one with a fairing and one without and difference is incredible. 

Honda 400 Bros                            8

Same as above really only on a smaller scale. Less power, comfort but better fuel consumption and flexibility through traffic. 

BMW K75                                     9

I rode a BMW K75 for about 2 months while despatching in London. It was an excellent “workhorse Bike” especially on long runs and it was very comfortable with loads of bottom end grunt. The special thing about this bike was the ABS, it was a lifesaver. Coming up Wood Lane London (W12) some nobhead in a car pulled  straight out in front of me, now usually you pull the brakes on so hard you’re over the handle bars or flying face down the road eating tarmac but not on this baby “it does want it says on the tin” it just steers straight and goes nowhere horrible. 

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