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Friday, May 8, 2015

Royal Enfield UK: Brass monkeys, snowmen in sidecars

The Royal Enfield Owners Club UK, keeping calm and carrying on since 1977.
I was horrified to realize that I had somehow so far missed reading the 2015 editions of The Gun, magazine of the Royal Enfield Owners Club of the UK. After checking that my membership had not expired (whew!) I took advantage of the fact that members can read the club magazine on the website.

Issue No. 245 for February and March opened with a fine letter-to-the-editor from Jan-Willem van Iperen who proves pretty conclusively, based on his collection of catalogs, that a mystery Royal Enfield shown in Gun 243 was in fact a 1922 225cc two-stroke.

The monthly welcome to new members included one from Belgium, one from Germany, one each from Finland and Israel and three from Australia, leading membership secretaries Chris and Gordon Gambrell to note that "interest in our RE motorcycle is very much world-wide and long may it remain the case."

Editor Robin Gillingham filled one odd space by explaining the origin of the saying "Cold Enough to Freeze the Balls Off a Brass Monkey," which turns out to be nothing at all like one would assume.

In a technical piece, member Bob Murdoch advised that it isn't always necessary to replace (or even remove for cleaning) the main bearings during restoration of an elderly Royal Enfield, these being "significantly over-sized for purpose by a very large margin."

The 2014 North East Rally was deemed a success. "There was no candidate for the best breakdown, apart from a certain Triumph (puncture) but every one expects Triumphs to break down so the prize, a multi-tool incorporating a hammer, went to the bike voted most likely to break down, Gordon and Christine's Ural."

Keith Starling, president of REOC Kent, reported that "John, Roger, Tony and I met at Farthing Corner before setting off for our rendevous with Martin, Mick and Alan at Dover." They were on their way to visit battlefields of World War I.

As always, the most stirring news came in the Branch Reports in the back of the magazine. Here are a few examples:

Northeast Scotland: "Another local club a couple of us are in were running an event (a model show, not the leggy sort, hence only four of us) at the Royal British Legion as a fund raiser for the same."

Somerset & Dorset: "We exited left from there on to the A352 at Warmwell roundabout, straight over onto the first Dual Carriageway to be built in Dorset (Robin clearly remembers this well; he's a 'big fan' of Lloyd George, y'know.)"

South Lancashire: "The Christmas meal was a great success; special mention must go out to Barry and May who were the only ones to arrive on a bike — Enfield and Stratford sidecar — the evening was freezing, literally."

Exeter and Torbay: "Griff's bike developed an oil leak which meant a trailer lift home, once he had moved several tons of Exmouth sand from the beach to cover a sizable oil slick that had mysteriously appeared on the innocent pavement. To cheer him up someone left a snowman in a sidecar outside his house..."

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