Friday, May 22, 2020

Romantic view of Royal Enfield motorcycles

Period advertisement shows couple on Royal Enfield motorcycle.
Romantic Royal Enfield advertisement of 1928.
The benefits of club membership are legion, no doubt, but for an American member far from the British Isles, the jewel of the Royal Enfield Owners Club UK is The Gun magazine.

The Gun is delivered bi-monthly to my In-Box by email. If I miss an issue, I can find it at the Royal Enfield Owners Club website archive.

The magazine amply carries out the club's high-minded goal to be a forum for information "on the use, restoration and maintenance of Royal Enfield motorcycles and machines both old and new."

But that's not why I read it.

I read it for the romance of owning a Royal Enfield motorcycle. That emotion is coincidentally well represented by the vintage advertisement "Romance of the Road" that graced the cover of the most recent issue of The Gun, for April/May 2020.

Let me just quote from the account in The Gun of a fine ride-out conducted by the Cornwall Branch of the club (reprinted by permission of The Gun editor). You must read all the way to the bottom to discover the name of the author, although you may guess as you go along.

"On Thursday 24th October, six motorcycles and seven hardy souls met at the Cornish Services near Victoria, and set off for the Royal Enfield dealership at Bude.

"But, as Fran was leading, we knew it was to be no easy route. Of course, why would we entertain almost perfect roads when winding lanes and hairpin bends beckon!

"We hugged the river Camel from Nanstallon (just outside of Bodmin) along narrow debris laden single-track roads through Grogley, and down over the steep Cotton Hill towards the Camel, crossing over the Polbrock Bridge and up a never ending hill eventually emerging at Sladesbridge before entering civilisation as we know it at Wadebridge.

"Never be fooled in the comfort of known roads, as we took another turning past little Dinham, and hugged the Camel again! This time the tidal part of the river the estuary and mud flats, for those that dared to look, was stunning, especially as we descended into the lower side of Rock, and caught brief glimpses of Padstow, the azure looking bays and bluffs that came and went with each corner.

"Rock soon became a distant memory as we headed towards and through Port Gavern, and down to the narrow streets of ITV’s fabled Port Wenn, otherwise known as Port Issac.

"Did we stop? No.

"Onward to Port Somewhere, sorry I made that up as I was lost! Toilet break! Typical Fran, was a lay-by and hedge. It’s just outside of Delabole, but we did not go to Delabole, as we turned left down lanes so wet and mossy that scenery was taken over by the will to survive.

"Just North of Trebarwith we headed up another single track lane and into Tintagel, across the top of the road bypassing civilisation and down to Boscastle where we did stop for a comfort break.

"Cheered by the fact we had got this far with no mishap we started our steeds, three Enfields and three other oriental mounts, we continued to Crackington Haven through ancient woodlands older than time itself, ever aware that Fran mentioned it gets narrower from here on in! And it did!

"Narrow, mossy single-track roads with wonderful seascape panoramic views slipping in and out of view with each and every corner, and then a left-hand hairpin bend that you would tell your grandchildren about.

"First gear, go as far to the right as you can and pray you meet no oncoming traffic, and get around it. Then jubilation as you realise you'd made it, and just as that thought settles in, the breathtaking site of the cliffs and rolling seas.

"Widemouth Bay comes into view, sheer elation of this beautiful country that we live in. The bay gave hope of life and inhabitants, surfer vans, cafes, pay-and-display car parks, bungalows nobody can afford, and still the road rolled on.

"Bude appears like magic, hiding in the terrain and the low hills shrouded in cotton wool clouds and blue skies as we descend towards the canal, which floods almost every year, and mad people surf the surge, ducking under the low bridge until they fall off.

"Fortunately we take the road over the low bridge and head to the Enfield dealership for a well earned breakfast bap and coffee.

"Nothing much happened on the way home, as it was back to normal, proper roads; traffic lights in Camelford was about as exciting as it got.

"A great day out. Thanks to all who came.


1 comment:

  1. I love it! Before long rides like this, the rider always needs to make sure that all their controls "fall readily to hand". So nice to read civilized & enthusiastic motorcycle writing. It's a fine skill to put the feel of a ride like this onto paper and the British can be very good at it. Thanks again for this example; I'll be looking into the REOC.


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