Friday, July 25, 2014

How Lampy went to Lerwick on a Royal Enfield

Graham Lampkin and his 1959 Royal Enfield Works Replica en route.
Graham Lampkin has shared his story of riding a 1959 Royal Enfield across England and Scotland — as much as possible off paved roads — to raise money for Cancer Research UK. His can-do spirit and sense of humor are inspiring and, after reading this you no doubt will be inspired to make a safe and easy donation to the cause through his JustGiving page.

Graham and his Royal Enfield Works Replica trials motorcycle set off June 3 from their home near the center of England, headed to the Shetland Classic Vehicle Show in Lerwick. Here, edited for length, is their story:

"The old saying is that the devil makes work for idle hands, so what does that imply about my mind the day last August when I dreamt this one up? My hands were very busy, but my mind was idle. So idle that I decided to go to Shetland Classic Vehicle Show this June, on a classic bike, on unsurfaced roads where practicable.

"That evening my daughter helpfully confirmed that I should do it, and raise money for charity!

"Mmmmm! I emailed the show organizers and Cancer Research UK to check if they were comfortable with me taking their name in vain. They both sent encouraging replies. Shucks, looks like I’ll have to do it!

"The date was set by the show organizers, what to ride and the route were up to me. I think the show organizers got the easy bit. I had already thought about selling the BSA B44 special that I had developed for long distance trials. It would have been ideal, but once you decide to sell — and it sold.

"That only left the Royal Enfield Works Rep trials bike that I had just bought, but no worries, I had nine months to prep it.

"Luckily I decided to get the organizing done as soon as possible. I started by building the website and appealing for help with regard to the route. Some people were very helpful, some not so helpful. The visit to see my son and his family in New Zealand came and went, promises came and went, encouragement came and — ehr — some went.

"The first big physiological boost was in December when Uncle Brasso (aka Frank Anderton) said that he too was mad enough to go, on his B40.

"In the new year, two more big boosts:  Les Humphries said he would like to go on his Tiger Cub, and share driving a back-up van with Frank (both riding when not driving), and the donations started.


"Early in the new year an outline route from home in Lancashire to the Scottish border was plotted, incorporating several green roads with minor roads in between. Then we came to the four backward steps!

"I remembered that there are no legal green roads in Scotland. Oh fiddle diddle bother.

"After a while, the gray cells thought of the Scottish Forestry Commission, owners of many miles of gorgeous tracks in Scotland. Again after many false starts I found the right person in that organisation,

"Katie. Oh Katie, how she changed my life! She said yes — please use our tracks; introduced us to the guy that knows the guy that owns the track, the people in neighboring districts that see life how we do, etc.

"She deserves a brew and sticky bun in the Olive Tree! That saved the game.

"A nice weekend on modern bikes up to the borders, to meet various people to cross t’s and dot i’s was a welcome break from sweating over maps and computer screen. Frank, Les and myself were joined by the Squire of Fence, we stayed in a good B&B, tried some new cafes and tried out the route in England. Life was improving.

"Planned changes to the R.E. were now instigated. Long range fuel tank, higher gearing, luggage rack and a less uncomfortable seat. Cheeky. Normal use was suspended in the last few weeks, with a dress rehearsal planned for the Ilkley Classic trial (about 100 miles of road, 16 sections, but not too difficult), scheduled for three weeks before the off. Oh, those gremlins, the best laid plans, etc.

"The weather had been that wet and punctures so rare, that guess what? I didn’t carry a spare tube. Six miles from the start and before the first sections the inevitable (yes you are ahead of me now) blow out occurred. End of dress rehearsal."

NEXT: Off and running.

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