Bernie Freeman looks back fondly at the 250cc side-valve single that was the first love of his motorcycling life.
I knew I wanted a motorbike from the age of 13, when I saw one ‘tonning it’ along London’s North Circular Road, so as soon as I started work as a trainee fitter/welder I started saving.
My knowledge of internal combustion engines was nil, but I lived close to the Ace Cafe, and that was full of ‘experts’.
Even though my father had forbidden me to have a bike, I became the proud owner of a BSA C10 for around £15 just before my 16th birthday. It was tatty, unloved and very oily, but I was so proud of it. I kept it down at the local Scout hut, but the oily puddles caused concern and it had to go.
I parked it on the pavement outside the terraced house where I lived, but after the local council also became concerned about the oil, I quietly parked it in the front garden, and to my father’s credit, there was no adolescent/parent conflict.
By then I’d become an avid reader of the ‘Green ‘Un’ and was a regular at the Ace, where I heard about double-knockers, twin-port heads, twin-leading-shoe brakes etc. and wanted part of it. I’d acquired a decent tool kit and was ready to get the ‘ton’ out of my C10 (I know, but my only mentors were those at the Ace).
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