By John Crawley
In the words of Bambi Winter sure is long, isnt it mother? Even thought this winter started out under the influence of EL NIŅO it has turned cold and snowy and now seems to have been going on forever. Despite that it has been a good month for . . .
It might seem strange that January is a busy bike month but here, in Edmonton, it is too cold for most other motor sports activates so we do bike things rather than ride or drive. Entry by the Canadian Vintage Motor Cycle Group into the Edmonton Motorcycle Show means that many of us are: detailing our bikes, moving machines, setting up displays and manning the exhibit.
I displayed my Norton at the show with the following, which was the script for the ECSCC Christmas party play.
The Devils Gate --- J. Crawley
Long I rode a coastal trail
Rested then, by biker frail.
Like his mount this rider old,
Shared with me his tale bold.
Once he rode across the sand,
Shot n shell around did land.
Dispatch rider was his trade
And each ride that he made
Was the one he thought his last,
But to duty he stuck fast.
Then a mine he well did hit,
Landing on the place you sit.
Next the bike did fall on him,
The exhaust on lower limb,
Then the dirt did shower on.
Bike and rider lay till dawn.
When, by buddies, he was found
To a pulp his foot was ground.
Back to France he then was sent.
To the hospital he went.
There the nurses gave him care
Thats not all that they would share.
But the foot they let go green
While the sheets they were between.
So to England he was shipped,
Where his love life was now clipped,
For the English nurses, cold
Only looked and were not bold.
For the other they did nix
And the foot they could not fix
So the Doc said: Off it goes!
And a cripple, he now knows!
With a limp n with a grin,
That did crawl upon my skin,
These the final words he flung
Like a ballad to be sung:
Be like me and love your bike
And you too the gals will like,
Each a ride that youll count!
Climbed then on his ancient mount.
Last he said with but a sneer,
Keep from each a souvenir
of your loves and what you hate
Leave them, though, at Devils Gate!
Then on his Norton he did ride
Round the bend he soon did hide.
So my bike I hopped upon
But too swift, he now was gone.
Through a corner, way too fast,
Where I saw he had gone last.
On the road he left a skid.
Follow him? God forbid!
Off a cliff to roaring surf,
This is were he left the turf
But a pack was lying there
Just before the open air.
Picked it up n left it closed
As from me a prayer arose
Now at last he is at peace.
So I went to find police
But at me they all just laughed
As their mirth was truly halved
For the story had been told
By the many who were bold.
Stories of a biker dead
Were just as the others said
And his message was to all
Just in time before his fall.
What Id seen was but a ghost
One who rides along the coast.
Hes not gone so never fear,
Once again he will appear.
But I said to them Ill show
Its his last ride that I know.
Then was silence all around
As I dropped what I had found.
At the counter they did stare
For the proof was lying there.
In his pack that I did pick
All was there without a trick.
There were bloomers but a pair,
Labeled: Mon Cherie My Fair
Next a sight that caused a gasp
A wooden foot was in my grasp.
And the grisliest of all
Made my throat constrict with gall,
Cause the thing that I then put
Upon the desk a mummied foot!
The display included a WWII packsack containing a wooden foot, a suitably inscribes pair of bloomers and a rubber severed foot. I wrote the Devils Gate based on a true story told to me by an old veteran Dispatch Rider who I met when I had my TRW on a ride in Saskatchewan.
I also showed my grandsons Suzuki Trail-Hopper to-be-done-bike. The display was a one-to-one scale diorama of a Bike as found in a barn. It consisted of the tired Trail-Hopper lying in the corner of a barn cutaway and covered with mice, spiders and other creatures. I spent most of Saturday crouched down, talking to little kids about how many spiders they could find in the display. It was great fun and I enjoyed every minute of it. The Journal reported that 20,000 people attended the show and I believe it as the place was packed.
The next motorcycle event was the annual Red Deer Canadian Vintage Motorcycle Group Christmas party. I know that January is late to have a Christmas party but in practice it is a great idea that has spawned an outstanding event. A busload of Edmonton Bikers and their significant others attended the event. All had a wonderful time, enjoying good food and hospitality in copious amounts. On the way home we watched a documentary movie Backyard Visionary about John Britten. The story of this amazing man can be found at http://www.britten.co.nz/. His life and accomplishments would inspire anyone to realize that one is only limited by ones own mind and that if a man can visualize it a man can build it. Be sure to see the flick if you have not already.
The other day we were sitting around the table, having supper with Jayson and the Grand kids, when the conversation turned to places because of a map game that the kids had been playing. I asked 5-year-old Bryden if he knew where New York was and he said: Yes thats where Mr. Bin Ladden knocked down the Twin Towers. We were all quite shocked that he related this terrible event to New York. Jayson said: Yes thats true but you do not have to call him Mister. Bryden replied: But he is Mr. Bin Ladden and his mother is Mrs. Bin Ladden and she is mad at him for knocking the towers down. Aah, the world through the eyes of a child.
Matthew, Jayson and Theresas youngest had to have an ear operation this month and I am thankful to report that he has recovered and the operation seems to have been a great help.
Tyler, who holds the middle ground in the family, told his dad the other day that he had run out of hugs because he had given them all to Paw (me). Kids do run out of hugs as they get older but perhaps they get some back as their parents age a bit. My youngest, Pax, gave me a big hug as he, Jen, and little Eddy were leaving for Airdrie after their last visit to Littlemore. Little Eddy is growing and when I asked Pax when he will be ready for his first motorcycle ride he replied that he didnt know but that Eddy had done his first mouse click at the age of one week.
Dee has finally laid down the law and forced me to begin the organization of my hobby room. This started with the purchase of five bookcases to hold my collection of hundreds of pocket books and magazines. I intend to decorate the room as THE LITTLEMORE EMPORIUM OF STUFF. I know that the word emporium implies that I am going to do that S word (Sell) thing. The S word has always been a four letter word for me but I guess there comes a time when space just runs out so I am destined to become an e-bayite. This being the opposite to an e-bayer one who buys things.
In the Shop
The guest Corvette has been progressing slowly but one thing I can tell you is to be grateful if your interests are in Little British Cars and Bikes rather than Corvettes. The cost of Vettie stuff is out of sight.
Most of my shop time has been spent on the single-seater. It will soon be to the point were I can I can publish a picture of it. I have found a web site that shows a similar vehicle displayed at the 1949 Sydney Motor Show.
It is amazingly similar to my Single-seater. Many of the things that the builder-of-old did in designing this car are identical to the solutions that I have come up with. If you are internet connected go to: Austin Works Site
It is well worth the visit for the complete story of this car if you are at all interested in either my project or in vintage racecars.
Someone asked me why am I doing this project and my answer was: If you spell racecar backwards its still racecar and if you dont understand that I will never be able to explain it to you.
All British Report
Since I volunteered myself to be President of the All British Motoring Society once again I thought that I should give a bit of column space to this very special event that is more than a normal show it is a British experience. It begins with raising the Union Jack and the singing of God Save the Queen. The day progresses with waiters serving ginger ale on the lawn and chamber music being played beside the flowerbeds. The Meet ends with a closing ceremony and Roast Beef. One or two volunteers are still needed so please contact me if you can help out with some small tasks before the day. Since I volunteered myself to be President of the All British Motoring Society once again I thought that I should give a bit of column space to this very special event that is more than a normal show it is a British experience. It begins with raising the Union Jack and the singing of God Save the Queen. The day progresses with waiters serving ginger ale on the lawn and chamber music being played beside the flowerbeds. The Meet ends with a closing ceremony and Roast Beef. One or two volunteers are still needed so please contact me if you can help out with some small tasks before the day
See the add elsewhere in the newsletter or visit the AABMS Web Site
Read "The Restoration of Prrrowl"