Not just a twinge, but a veritable stab of nostalgia as I discovered that the first motorcycle I owned has its own page. Strangely enough, considering it was an Italian bike, the page is a fan page in Dutch, which is a coincidence because it was from a Nederlander, Ari van der Heyden, a colleague of Dad’s, that I bought this beauty just as I turned 15. She cost me five whole shillings, a nominal amount that only a few months later became 50 cents, when NZ went to decimal currency. The best 5 bob I ever spent! Dank U wel Ari.
The interesting thing was that she had a one gallon fuel tank. I remember clearly that it cost half the price of the bike to fill her up. Petrol was half a crown (two shillings and sixpence = 25c) a gallon. That is about 5.5 cents per litre. It was a bit hard to work out, as she had no odometer as I recall, but as far as I could tell she did well over a hundred miles to the gallon.
She was temperamental, and had loose points that would often jump off the cam. One would be cruising along happily and suddenly the motor would die. I would have to stop, remove the cover plate, put the points back in and reset them before she would go again.
Parts were impossible to find, so as bits broke, or wore out I learned to cobble things together from whatever I found.
And here is a picture of her:
Once I passed my test, I was gone. I cannot begin to describe the sense of freedom she gave me. Just knowing that I was no longer restricted by how far I could pedal. In theory I could now go anywhere! Who cared if it had only a top speed of 29 miles per hour. 32 downhill. It was a motor cycle. She was a quantum leap from the first Raleigh push-bike that first gave me freedom to travel. (Trikes and pedal cars don’t count).
She was 49cc of throbbing, smoking, rubber burning, scintillating, wheel spinning joy.
I still feel that same excitement riding today, 45 years later.
You never forget your first love.