The accompanying photo was taken 60 years ago, in 1957, outside my grandmother’s house in Dalston, north London, and I was very proud of myself after riding my recently-bought 1950 D1 BSA Bantam from my parents’ home in Mitcham, south London. The journey was a mere 12 miles, but it felt a lot more.
I’d bought the Bantam from Comerfords of Thames Ditton for £32-10s. It was a really tired example and gave me nothing but trouble – in fact I think I pushed it more often than I rode it. Eventually I sold it through the Exchange & Mart for £25 and bought a 1946 BSA C11 with the speedo on the tank.
The C11 was a lot more robust, and fortunately the annual MoT test was not around at the time, for my maintenance was a little lacking! The following year – 1958 – I received my call-up papers and the C11 had to go.
I’m now 78, but the memories remain strong.
Walton on the Hill, Tadworth
Read more Letters, News, Features and Opinion in the April issue of OBM – on sale now!Enjoy more Old Bike Mart reading in the monthly paper. Click here to subscribe.