2003 and Royal Enfield Restoration
First of all, apologies for not
updating the site much in the last 3 months (this was originally written
in mid 2003), but thank you to all those who have sent me e-mails
in that time, the feedback has been most welcome. Admittedly I have
not done much on the Vincent restoration recently, but read on and
I'll tell you why.
just before I got there, a 'Blue Van Man' (with bullbars) decided he was
not going to stop at the junction I was just going past and I became a
rather large bug on his windscreen. I have spent the last 20 years avoiding
prat's like this one, and had forgotten how much it hurts coming into
contact with blunt objects moving at high speeds. (actually having had
quite a few 'off's' while racing, in the split second that I saw the van
before impact I genuinly thought it was 'lights out' time). The resulting
impact left the Fireblade written off and me with broken kneecap, damaged
hip and various cuts and heavy bruising.
I spent 5 days in hospital realising just how lucky I was and trying to figure out how I was going to race my go-kart (latest hobby) with my leg in plaster from the groin to the ankle. Incidentally, if you want an advertisement for how good the recent developments in motorcycle clothing have been, you should have looked at the bruising around my elbow and shoulder, in the shape of my jacket's body armour - I tried to imagine what my elbow would have looked like if the armour had not have been there.
As always, even though the police confirmed at the time that they would attempt to prosecute the van driver, and I had multiple witnesses to support my case, it has still taken months for anything to happen, but at least his insurance company has now admitted liability. It's now six months later and although I'm back on a pretty nifty step-thru (see photograph), I'm still having problems with the damaged hip and dont feel the leg is strong enough to take the weight of a big bike. Anyway, there's one excuse for my lack of Vincent progress.
|Footnote to Accident: 2005
Just to leave this restoration article for a second; I don't mind admitting that this is an unashamed advert for the services of the solicitors I used to make a civil claim against the driver of the van that hit me after the accident, the solicitors being Levenes Solicitors: Levenes Solicitors
Although like all road accidents, it took a long time to finalise and receive back any damages, I found this company to be excellent and very professional, in fact in the period when the case was active I came to know the solicitor dealing with my case quite well and trusted his advice explicitly. As a result I finally received a quite sizeable payout and felt I would not have got this without their help and guidance.
As a website owner, I have been approached by other similar companies since, asking me to place banners, but have always refused, as I only have first hand experience of this site, which I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone unfortunate enough to have an accident on a motorcycle.
The other reason for lack of Vincent news is that I recently (God forbid) started work on one of my other bikes, a 1961 Royal Enfield Constellation. Just before the accident I had rebuilt the bottom end of the original engine (I have had the spare engine fitted for many years) and had started stripping the bike in preperation for ftitting it.
It was only a couple of months ago that I felt well enough to venture out into the garage to look at it again, at first just with the intention of cleaning it up a bit, but you know how things are, once I had started stripping bits off to clean them I couldent help myself and before long the whole bike was in bits - dont I ever learn!
|Even at this
stage, with the bike fully stripped down, I was only intending to re-stove
the frame and clean/replace the worst corroded bolts, but as always happens
in these cases, you clean one bit and all of a sudden the bit next to
it starts to look a bit grubby. I wont bore you with all the details (this
is, after all, a Vincent web site I hear you sigh . . . ) but as I write
this piece from our Norfolk holiday chalet in the blistering heat of mid
July, I hope only to be a few weeks from having it ready to go back on
Now I think about it, I dont think I have ever completed a full(ish) resoration in such a short space of time, but thats partly because I have been working most nights into the early hours, in an attempt to have it ready for a show before the end of summer. Obviously, given my current status, the biggest problem is going to be trying to ride the bike, but at least it will be sitting there ready for me when I do feel up to it.
And of course, it is another bike that I will no longer look at and think - 'Mmm . . . that could do with a cleanup'!
|It's amazing how you
take good health for granted, particularly in the workshop, but the last
couple of months of hobbling around my garage has reminded me not to be
so complacent about such things, it's been much more of a struggle than
before the accident.
So there you go, thats why I havent been updating the web site much lately. I do expect to have a couple of new sections in soon, although they might have to wait until the RE is complete, but once the long nights start drawing in I'm sure the Vincent will once again beckon.