The plan was simple. The three of us would jump on the bikes head to Whitby, pitch tents and have a few days on the lash. Live it large, like young men are supposed to do. What could possibly go wrong? Our assorted rides for one thing.
Ian had an X7, a recently completed project with flat bars, single racing seat and expansion pipes. Nige had a Z250 Scorpion and I was riding my dad’s CD175. Both Scorpion and CD had Sidewinder sidecars attached (ask your dad).
My ride wasn’t a conscious decision, but foisted on me by lack of choice and money. But motoring down the road in a small group of bikes, the sensations were so intense. I had a huge grin almost visible through my visor. At last, this was life. My bike was crap, but in my mind it was an LC, or a big Z.
We found a camp site, pitched the tents and set about being utter dicks, annoying almost everybody unfortunate enough to be anywhere near us. It was the usual stuff. Start a fire, start the bike, rev the nuts off it. Ride to the toilet block even though it was only 30 yards from the tent. Priceless. Mid-afternoon we decided to ride into town and found that the road by the campsite ran towards the Abbey. Ignoring the ‘unsuitable for motors’ sign we passed the abbey and dropped down the hill towards the centre of Whitby. The road was getting narrower and then turned into a cobbled affair with slight steps. A wise man would turn around, but we were in sight of the Duke of York, one of the main bars in Whitby and a biker hangout at the time.
Then the road dropped away dramatically but by this point we were unable to turn back. As the gradient became steeper and the cobbles offered less and less grip I slid up the bike onto the petrol tank, my legs flailing to the right and pegged by the sidecar on the left. Panic progressed to sheer terror as I slowly lost control (all at less than 5mph) and the combo slithered down and onto its side, depositing me in a sweaty heap right in front of a jeering lager-ed up throng at the pub doorway. Ian got away a little easier on the X7, but what miniscule cred the Scorpion or CD may have laid claim to disappeared like a fart in a hurricane. Any hope of impressing a biker chick was long gone…