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Indian Motocycles - you can't wear them out                                  Indian Motocycles - built to last
My First Bike


I thought it would be interesting for members to write in and tell us about their first bikes with photos if possible, so I’ve started the ball rolling with my own experience.  This was a couple of years ago, so for the benefit of our many new members, I will touch briefly on the beginning.

In 1941 aged 15 I saw an advert in the Exchange and Mart (yes it was going then) for a 1929/30 Raleigh 350cc priced Three pounds Ten shillings.  I sent the owner a postal order and for the sum of five shillings it was put in the guards van in Swindon and duly arriving at Oxford station.

Living about 4 miles from the station I started to pushing the bike home as I had no other way of getting it there.  After about half a mile, nearly exhausted, I heard a splashing in the tank.  I managed to get the bike on the rear stand and having read books on how to ride and manage bikes I finally got it started.  I climbed aboard after kicking up the back stand, squeezed the clutch, putting it into 1st gear and off I went non-stop home.

I sold the Raleigh two years later for the princely sum of two pounds when I joined the Navy.  All the time I rode it, I had no license, insurance, tax etc.  Remember it was wartime and very few police were about, and they were on bicycles. They were retired  Bobbies brought back into service.

The Raleigh had two split tanks and I had petrol in one side and paraffin in the other. Once it was warm I switch off the petrol and turned on the paraffin, which it ran quite well on.  The hardest thing was scrounging pints of petrol from all and sundry, including kindly army drivers.

At least I did get my license at 17 years old, which I have kept ever since.

Since I first wrote my story for the magazine I visited an old friend of mine in Molash who does a bit of wheeling and dealing in early bikes and cars to introduce him to a friend who was looking for a pre 1914 machine.  As I looked round his barn to see if I could find myself a little project, what should I see propping up a wall but a very neglected Raleigh in dire need of some attention.  It just begged me to buy it!

Gordon, a good friend and I haggled a bit as I reminded him I was an OAP! We struck a deal and she was mine.  We loaded the Raleigh up and headed for home.  It was not as late as my original one or as cheap or as good a condition but what the heck, it keeps me out of mischief.

The Raleigh is nearly ready for the road and come the warmer weather I will take her on the road.

I hope this spurs some of you to send in your stories. 

mike 3.jpg (42598 bytes) Before mike 2.jpg (96443 bytes) After

  Mike De Bidaph          


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Indian Motocycles - you can't wear them out                                  Indian Motocycles - built to last  
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