Me, in Dad's helmet and goggles, aged 5
I started motorcycling at 16 when my grandparents bought me a Suzuki 50. I don't have any photos from that period (thank God), neither the 350cc Triumph which followed shortly afterwards. However, I do have one with my 1955 Tiger 100, taken in 1966/7 at 19/20 years of age.
Slim and plenty of hair - 1966/7
Looking back, it's amazing how often I changed hairstyles and clothes - probably no different from most young people then and now . Hard not to blush looking at some of them. I think the following photo was taken in 1968. Rushed home directly from work without changing for a photo and article in the local newspaper about my Mk 1 drag bike.
Failed attempt at respectability
At the dawn of the 1970's, clean-cut was out and hairy was back in. The photo below was taken in 1970 at Santa Pod Drag Strip, UK. The item I'm holding is a bent pushrod from the Mk 2 short-stroke drag bike. The alloy pushrods didn't take kindly to violent cams and heavy valve springs but titanium replacements did the trick! In the way that only true friends can have a sly dig at a mate, one of them reckoned that I looked like an extra from the original TV series, the "Avengers". It's ok to snigger, honestly!
Ohh... the shame - 1970
The next photo is a non-motorcycling one taken in 1975 within a few weeks of emigrating to NZ. Only noteworthy for the mid-70's male fashion sense (or more accurately, a complete lack of it). Dear God, what was I thinking of??? The photo was taken at a geothermal area in NZ - I should have jumped in. Anyone remember the Weston Master camera exposure meter hanging on my front?
The shame continues
The following photo was taken in 1987 after a decade and a bit without a bike whilst building a career and raising a family. The Honda GB400 TT was an impulse purchase and Jennie was less than amused (an understatement). At least it scratched the motorcycling itch!
Less hair and filling out a bit - 1987
This photo was taken in the mid-90's when I owned a BMW K100RS. Our eldest son was very keen to own a bike and after a period riding a small trail bike on forest fire breaks to build his skills, his mother grudgingly gave permission for him to get a road bike. Mercifully, she remained ignorant of just how quick those Suzuki X7's were!
Lyndon and me - mid 90's
The next photo was taken in 2005 on the edge of winter whilst waiting for the ferry to take us to the north island. I was taking part in the Southern Cross round NZ in 5 days endurance ride. Approximately 4000km of low-flying! Quite an experience, contributing to hair loss I'm sure.
My beloved Blackbird - 2005. Now wearing spectacles to see where I'm going!
The final bike shot was taken last month whilst setting off for the 1000 miles in 24 hours Grand Challenge. Only noteworthy because of a "full circle" return to the Triumph brand just over 40 years after my first one. Oh, and one other thing..... considerably less hair than the early photos.
Over 40 years riding and still in one piece (more or less)
There's one non-motorcycling photo I wanted to include which was taken in 1972. It would be hard to disagree that in most of the photos, especially the early ones, I look like a complete ummm... dork. The subject of this photo most certainly doesn't. It's a genuine mystery with respect to what Jennie saw in me 38 years ago. She's had a lot to put up with in that time, with me being an anal engineer AND a complete bike nut. Can't believe my good fortune and I'm still unashamedly crazy about her.
Venice on our honeymoon - 1972
Ok, so who is prepared to stick some photos of their early motorcycling days on their blog???