Good reasons for not riding as often as we’d like

I’ve finally managed to catch up with the June issue of OBM and your request for thoughts about unused machines.

For me it’s like this: I’ve had a 1964 Triumph Thunderbird with a slightly modified Watsonian Palma sidecar, first registered as an outfit on June 25 of that year, for more than 30 years now (how time flies!) and still go out on it as much as possible.

It’s completely original, although it was overhauled some years ago (cycle parts by myself, engine by someone more expert) and is now kept in running trim.

I’m pleased to say that spares are not hard to come by, but I had to get a wheel bearing for the sidecar some years ago and it was difficult and expensive then.

Derry’s 1964 Triumph Thunderbird and Watsonian Palma is still a lovely outfit – but road conditions just aren’t what they used to be.

My main problem these days, at the ripe old age of 79, is traffic. Not only is there so much of it, but it also seems to be in such a tearing hurry.

I generally tootle along at between 45 and 50mph, but I find myself being tailgated, mainly for some reason by BMWs and Audis, to the point where it’s often quite uncomfortable and I’m often ‘obliged’ to pull over and let them pass.

That could well be a function of age, but over the years I’ve had the combination it’s become infinitely worse – and that’s why I don’t go out as often as perhaps I’d like to.

The other reason, frankly, is that I have to acknowledge my age, and although riding the outfit isn’t too difficult, today’s poor road surfaces, and particularly potholes, make it quite uncomfortable for my wife, who graces the sidecar, even with ‘the cushion off the sofa’ as padding.

I hope this adds to your folder of reasons for bikes not being ridden.

Derry O’Neill,
Ferndown, Dorset

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