Friday, February 19, 2021

Royal Enfield club magazine keeps the spirit alive

Cover of the REOC club magazine, The Gun.
A Royal Enfield, a snowy day, and a hill to be climbed.

A delightful photo of an ancient Royal Enfield sidecar outfit gliding up a snowy road illustrates the cover of the February/March edition of the Royal Enfield Owners Club (UK) magazine, The Gun.

It's a 6-horsepower Royal Enfield with sidecar climbing Brock Hill, near Redditch, in the winter of 1914. Idyllic as the scene appears, its date means that World War I already had begun and its horrors were becoming evident.

Perseverance against weather, tides and troubles is the Royal Enfield way; especially these days, the magazine confirms.

Branch coordinator Jason Reeves describes the feeling well:

"Well, there goes 2020," he writes. "Not many people will be unhappy to see the back of that..."

"Despite the increased restrictions at the worst possible timing, we have managed to set up a new branch," (South Wiltshire) and others are in the offing, he reports.

The magazine contains further evidence of indomitable human spirit, including a remarkable obituary celebrating the spirited life of David "Dave" Davies, first chairman of the Royal Enfield Owners Club (UK). He died Dec. 6, 2020, of cancer.

The fond obituary, recalling the good old days of working on motorcycles in the living room, was written by his friend Dr. Stefan Thomas, a very early member of the club. Both were young when they joined.

I might have imagined that the club was founded by staid elders interested in preserving Royal Enfield's history, but no. The obituary makes it clear that they were riders full of youthful enthusiasm.

Dr. Thomas joined in 1978 because he meant to put a 500cc British Royal Enfield motor in a donor 350cc Bullet from India and surprise some people. But the Bullet he'd ordered and paid for never arrived.

"I am still waiting for this bike today," he writes. Now that's perseverance.

Member Geoff Wallis wrote in about returning to vintage motorcycling with acquisition of a 1961 Crusader as a 70th birthday present. The Royal Enfield had been well cared for, but Geoff's article quickly becomes a good natured account of his missteps, including trying to reach the Crusader's supposed maximum speed of 75 mph. Better judgement ended his top-speed run at 55.

Royal Enfield Owners Club Chairman Graham Scarth wrote an item explaining the numbering on 350cc Royal Enfield Bullets built in Britain. Calm perseverance has figured here, too, as this is no simple riddle to untangle, as Graham has.

Andy Ward reported that Bristol branch members rode out to retrace the tracks of the very first REOC club run back in the summer of 1977. Club archivist Bob Murdoch took members across the Mendip area, past Chew Valley lakes and Wookey Hole near the Cheddar Gorge, with a halfway stop at Deer Leap viewpoint before continuing to Priddy.

What a fine idea and, while I have no idea where those places may be, the names evoke images of other times.

There's no hiding from these times, of course.

Mike Connolly acknowledged current conditions in his Branch Report from Kent: "...today, New Year's Eve, and another 1,000 deaths have been announced. I want, like the rest of us, to get on our bikes, ride out and meet up with old friends again. Let's hope we can so do that again. 2021 must and will be better! Keep safe."

And join the Royal Enfield Owners Club at this link.

4 comments:

  1. I read that wonderful David Davies obit, written by his lifetime motorcycling friend Stefan Thomas. Because I have moved several times around this huge country, I have no lifetime riding friends to write a great obituary like that one about me. We're fiddle-footed, we Yanks, and we pay a price for it, don't we?

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  2. You mention Chew valley, Wookey Hole, Cheddar Gorge, DearLeap and Priddy. I am fortunate enough to live in Bristol a few miles from these wonderful places on the Mendips Hills. These places make a circular route that I think were made for Motorcycles, winding country lanes, hills where a third gear climb will bring the exhaust sound to full fruition, I also stop at a place called Prospect Stile, from my pannier I get out my camping stove and brew a coffee and take in the peace and tranquility and the views out across the Somerset levels and Glastonbury Tor. This for me is my therapy ride where I can come back home and feel great.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for describing this. I hope the route remains a pleasure always.

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