In 1947, I was in Tunisia, and it
was there that I discovered a passion for motorcycles, which I could afford for the first time. I was 20 years
old, and with little financial savings…I bought myself a 250 cc, mark TWN (Triumph Werke Nuremberg) salvaged from
Rommel's Africa Corps German, no doubt . It was a strange motorcycle : Two-cycle engine, with two staggered cylinders
and a unique combustion chamber. A very responsive machine, but with a tendency to kickback during start and retro-ignition.
I kept it one year. Looking for a bigger motorcycle, I found a BSA-500 cc "lateral" engine English made,
equipped with a sidecar. It had been salvaged from the Allied this time. This is it below, in " solo "
configuration on this particular day. Although it was far from being responsive and fast, with side-car attached,
it allowed for some "crew" excursions ...with as many as 7 men piled up on my machine!
My assignment to Indochina (Vietnam) in June 1949 would cause me to abandon it in Tunisia.
In 1951, I returned from Indochina,and I needed to look for another motorcycle. My financial savings did not allow me to buy a brand new one. Once again I found a BSA 500 CC, but with rocker-valves, and therefore more responsive. With this motorcycle, I crisscrossed the French highways back and forth during my assignments at Paris, then Aulnat and Avord, until in 1954, the year I bought my first car, a 4HP Renault . Then, the motorcycle was parked in La Troche until 1964, when I sold it very cheap, since the carburetor was missing. It would be eventually restored and now it is on display in the Motorcycles Museum in Savigny-les-Beaune Castle still under its registering numbers, and in working condition. Photo below.
A lot years have gone by, and after I finally retired from flying, in 1973 when I was 66 years old, I found myself longing to ride a motorcycle once again. After many hesitations, I decided to loof for a motorcycle in the same category as those I had owned earlier in my life. I located one in Lyon, a Yamaha SR.500cc, with a kick-starter. It was a stressful trip to go check the machine and to bring it back home, after so many years without riding a motorcycle. All went well and that it is always such a great pleasure for me to take a ride from time to time, when the weather is good. I fervently want to continue this sort of activities for a few more years.
There is the steed …and its rider.
August 1999: The starting with the kick-start became too hard for this septuagenarian, and not willing to resign myself to give up riding, I searched and found another more modern motorcycle with an once againelectric starter. I traded for the little custom Yamaha Virago 535 cc. It is the 1993 model , below. Let's bet that it will be my final caprice in this domain !
August 2005 : Approaching the age
of 78 years, I deemed that it would be reasonable to leave aside the motorcycle. Hence I canceled my insurance
policy and put the Virago under its dust cover.
My son Roger decided to buy himself a bike VTC. He inspired me to do likewise in order to escort him while he trains for the marathon.
That was an excellent idea which I immediately took to heart. Thus I have a new hobby : the VTC (Velo all paths, for the non initiated...) ; hobby that maybe would help to keep me in shape for a longer time ? Moreover, what astute reply to the unceasing increase of the barrel fuel prices!
Photo taken impromptu while I did the first "fly-test" up the " Rua des Mâs " ( Pond's Alley).