Not just a Flash in the pan

Martin Spicer’s life with his BSA Golden Flash not only spans 55 years, but also involved it going halfway around the world with him…

My story starts in 1948 when I was born in South London. The year before, my mum and dad went on their honeymoon to Hastings riding their tandem bicycle, so when I arrived on the scene the family transport was expanded to a small aluminium sidecar attached to the tandem.

However, once my sister and brother joined the clan, dad bought his first car, a Phase 1 Standard Vanguard; this was followed by a Phase 2, next was a Ford Consul Classic 315, and then a Mk 3 Cortina.

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In postwar England, living in council flats, we kids had some great play areas – like up and down the multi-storey flats, up on the roofs, and in the many bombed-out houses that were still around (no health and safety to worry about in those days).

Martin and ex-world 125cc champion Hugh Anderson in 2017.

I was always looking at ways to make extra pocket money. I used to go door-knocking and would ask for any old newspapers or lemonade bottles. Once I had my trolley full up it was off to the recycling shop (yes, even then) where I was given around three shillings. This then bought lemonade or Tizer, crisps and ice creams.

Martin and his BSA Bantam, Honda CBX and BSA Golden Flash.

I next did paper rounds in the mornings and evenings, and I also did window cleaning. Once I had money I started buying plastic Airfix plane model kits – from the Second World War, of course. I then progressed to building balsa wood and paper planes, and then I became a diesel head, buying 1cc, 1.5cc, 2.5cc and two 3.5cc engines, which went into a variety of model boats that I made, of up to 40 inches in length.

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I spent a number of years taking my boats up to Clapham Common boat pond. I had also paid £24 for a new 27-inch wheel, five-speed Dawes bicycle that gave me the freedom to go anywhere.

I also did a milk round, washed cars and, when I was 15, I worked on Saturdays with my uncle on his bread round. I also worked at the Herne Hill Sunblest bakery on Friday nights from 7pm till 7am.

Read more and view more images in the March 2019 issue of OBM – on sale now!

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