12 Dec 2010

My second bikewas a Honda CD 175

Was a 1967 Honda CD 175

This is hardly a glamourous bike, but I passed my rider's test on it and it was the first new machine that I had owned, as well as the only one that I didn't acquire by my own means. It was a gift from my parents when I turned 21. I had turned to cars in between, but, at the time, I was living in London as an art student and this was by far the most convenient way of getting to the Central and then Chelsea Art Schools from where I lived way out in the eastern parts of London, near the Manor House pub where Hendrix, Clapton and others would play regularly.

The Honda CD series was a more sedate version of the CB, with warp-around mudguards, electric start and so on. It was a new world after my battered old BSA Bantam. Its smooth 4-stroke engine made me feel like I was riding a kind of sewing machine, but it went pretty fast, at least more than fast enough for the streets of London, and I could even take it on runs out into the country, like down to Brighton. It ended up badly bent when a lady in a Peugeot 403 with a roof rack (I remember the roof rack as I must have broken my arm on it when I was catapulted over the top) pulled out of a side street in front of me and I barely had time to touch the brakes before the impact. Luckily the hospital was quite near, but it was winter and my thick sheepskin coat, plus a good helmet, certainly saved me from worse damage. I suppose that this machine was really responsible for giving me the biking bug, so I got something faster with a bit more character when I got out of hospital.

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