Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Bought another trials bike. This may seem a grossly irresponsible, excessive and downright frivolous act considering I have a couple of trials bikes already - three if you include the non-functioning 250 JCM that I keep forgetting about in the back of the shed. But there's logic to this apparent madness. My two main trials irons (a pristine '57 350 Ariel HT3 and a '62 'works' 250 Greeves TES) were bought as 'keepers', not to ride and bash about in mud and rocks. Which meant that, prior to this recent purchase, I was without competitive machinery. Not good for a doddery old mudplugger comme moi. Despite the fact that I haven't ridden in a trial for around seven years, I still hanker after giving it another go. Sometime. Somewhere. Hence my recent search for a possible steed. Gave myself a budget of £1500 max for one of these here 'modern' bikes (i.e. post mid-Nineties - modern to me but probably ancient to others), ideally a UK registered Dougie Lampkin replica '04 Montesa 315 in good nick, preferably with full lighting kit, speedo and all the original extras. Rare as hens' gnashers and highly sought after. My thinking was that, if I could find one, I'd get it 'vanned' out here, use it a bit, maybe attempt to get it French registered (hence the need for lights, kms speedo etc.) and then maybe sell it for a vast profit (bikes are far more expensive out here, compared to those in the UK). So, as I said, method to my madness - otherwise known as a futile attempt to justify a thoroughly irresponsible and unnecessary expense.

Spotted the bike that matched my brief on eBay. Snapped it up for £1450. Seller had a mate (Tom) who lives in the Dordogne who could 'van' it over on his next trip to France for £150 (transportation couriers charge around £500 or more). Brought it over a couple of weeks ago. Now all I had to do was to nip down to the Dordogne with my trailer and pick it up.

Arranged with Tom to go down there last Saturday. Set off at sparrow's fart on a cold and frosty morning. Bit worried about a possible snowstorm but the day eventually dawned bright and sunny. Felt a bit guilty leaving the dogs at home but they were better there than cooped up in a car for nine hours. Stopped a couple of times for a fag and a swig of Thermos coffee. Then hit the usual wall of mist as I descended into the Brive valley. Whizzed past the Brive airport turning and hammered south, turning off the motorway at Souillac. Hit the road towards Sarlat and trundled alongside the Dordogne river. All very pretty down there with the palm trees and honey-coloured stone houses, but a bit too twee pour moi. Then hung a left over the river, a few miles east of Domme. Arrived at Tom's gaff at St. Cirq Medelon(?) around 1pm, as arranged.

'Gaff', in this instance, gives a misleading impression. It's actually a mightily impressive renovation of the village chapel. And all done in just over a year. Did most of the renovation work himself, aided by some helpful chums, relatives and an enthusiastic wife. Glanced through a book they'd made showing all the stages of renovation. Wonderful stuff. Told him I once put up a shelf, which is about the limit of my DIY skills. Anyways, loaded up the bike and headed back home.

Stopped off just outside Souillac by an impressive viaduct where I had another swig of coffee and a fag, checked the bike over (seemed as described) and took a couple of snaps. Then motorwayed north through the Brive mists, eventually climbing uphill onto the Clermont-Ferrand motorway where the mists cleared to reveal blue skys and bright sunshine. Days that clear are few and far between. Indeed, approaching the turn off to Ussel, the snow-capped peaks of the distant Central Massif were clearly visible, so I took a few snaps while still driving. Turned out okay. Then, about an hour later, I took a few more snaps on the uphill stretch to home. Arrived at about fiveish. Been a long drive. Stretched my legs with a dogwalk then shoved the bike in the indoor shed. Lovely looking thing. No regrets.

It's probably of no interest to anyone but I keep humming this:

1 comment:

  1. Just like the buses, you wait for ages then three turn up all at once.
    I presume this one's a runner, doesn't need doing up. I suppose one more bike to do up doesn't make all that much difference.