Wow, what a surprise. I?ve noted a few recipients of MOTM make a similar comment in the past, but Mellow?s congratulatory e-mail really did come out of the blue. Especially as my first reaction was to wonder which message I had once again managed to post to the wrong forum. And what a nice warm glow when I realized that the message was for the award of Feb MOTM.
My motorcycling history is probably much like that of many other riders. Nurtured as a youngster with the distinctive rhythmic heartbeat thumping of my father?s single cylinder Panther 650 combination, I grew up with motorcycles as the normal form of transport. I doubtless have a different memories of manufacturers and coded letters, but the progression from the Honda C90, the BSA Bantam D14, the Cossack Ural and sidecar and the Yamaha XS650 with Squire 2-seater sidecar all reflected my growing enthusiasm, an increasing mechanical awareness and eventually the need to accommodate a young family.
In spite of the addition of sidecars, family needs inevitably took over, and the bikes reluctantly gave way to cars. The young boys grew into remarkable young adults, and after 25 all too brief years with our own children, the house, the fridge and the bank balance were returned, slightly the worse for wear, into our control once more. Motorbikes had grown up in the intervening period, and my hunt for a large low revving, torquey tourer with fairing and shaft drive eventually led me to my first ?96 ST1100. We?d had enough looking around on one particular day. I really liked the ST1100, but they were way beyond our budget. On the way home, an ?Ok, just this last one then? side street showroom presented itself. Looking a little uncared for and sporting an expression that said ?Buy Me? was a 28,000 mile 1996 ST1100. It happened to be ?5 short of our maximum budget. How could I walk away ?
We?ve now owned 3 ?Pans? - The ST1100T, The ST1100AY and the current ST1300A6 - the last two of which I ran side by side for 18 months ? and between them we have covered a total of 142,000 miles. My back-packing days are long gone, but I still love lightweight camping and the various STs have done us proud over the years, lugging our camping gear around Britain for 3 weeks at a time, and taking us on many hotel based adventures on the European Continent. Put ?jfheath? into a search of the Issuu site, and you will find some of my reports.
Servicing and tinkering is something that I?ve always enjoyed doing. I?ve learned a lot about the ST1100s and the ST1300 and I am still learning. I think that it is such a waste if having put a lot of effort into something, the experience and knowledge isn?t shared with others - whether it be about a route, a farkle, a diagram, riding, servicing or general chatter. If I can help somebody, sometime then I always think that it is worth sharing, and ST-Owners is full of thousands of really helpful people who contribute in so many different ways. It is a brilliant forum - polite, friendly and helpful and it has something that hardly seems possible for a website ? a welcoming atmosphere.
Thank you. I shall wear my MOTM badge with pride. What ? We don?t get a badge ? Excuse me, I think I feel a small farkle coming on !