Sunday 17 November, 2013 by Uncle Spike
Way back in history… well, about 3 decades ago I guess, Uncle Spike was not even an uncle at all, but a scrawny little wannabe hard-ass biker. In reality though I was a bit of a 50/50 case. A biker of sorts, yeah, but not ‘hard’ by any stretch of the imagination and I didn’t have much of an ‘ass’ to write home about either!
By the point at which this tale is set, I had gone through the ritual humiliation of being a learner biker on a pokey little 118cc red bike c.1977 known as a Suzuki B120. Now I don’t intend to fill this post up with tales of those very early days, for that morsel of delight, I would urge my newer followers to check out one of my favourite tales: The Hairdryer.
So the bike, yes, well I was doing ok by this point. I had progressed up to an old black Suzuki GS550L, a semi custom styled 4 cylinder beastette called “Splodge”. She was a bit weathered, with some lovely mechanical features (oil leaks), rather rusty loud pipes – so yeah, in terms of bike bad-ass’ness I had that box pretty well ticked.
As for the rider, me, I was, err, well… somewhat lacking in the department of hard-assery. In terms of attire, I was there, or thereabouts. I had the old leather jeans (check), decent biker boots (check), open-faced matt black helmet or ‘lid’ (check), mirrored shades (check – remember the era, so mirrors were still cool back then) and even a denim cut-off (check) worn over my leather jacket; appropriately splattered with bike related and rock music badges (pins), plus a few crude motifs to show off how much of a ‘man’ I was.
Dig a little deeper into the truth, and I might even admit that I bought the cut-off with the bike!! Yep, the guy was ‘retiring from biking’ (or so his wife had led me to believe) and he sold me half his ‘proper biker’ gear. For a skinny white boy had having just got his full licence, this was considered, by me if not my mom, as a ‘result’ – I was 3% of the way to becoming a patch brother from the chapter (or so I thought back then).
As you may have sussed, Uncle Spike has travelled and lived all over in the decades since. I have hardly any memento’s left from my youth, but staggeringly, guess what I have upstairs still…? Yep, that same old denim cut-off! (which by the way nearly invoked a divorce clause into action when Aunty Spike offered to ‘wash it’ once, lol). No, no no…never…!!
Anyway, back to my tale. I had a bike suitable to an aspiring young biker. I even had the gear too. My big hairy biker beard was a little less authentic as my facial hair back then was more like the wispy fungus that grows on an old sandwich left in the school fridge over the mid-term break.
On the surface, street-cred was more or less intact (check), but any serious biking experience? Err, nope (uncheck). One sunny Sunday morning, Teen Biker Spike was out ‘cruising’ on Splodge the 550, all geared up and mean-looking, well as mean as a spotty lanky recent school-leaver could muster up. I was down by the sea front in Bournemouth, a coastal resort on the central south coast of Britain. It was sunny, the girls were out, and my shades were on. I was ‘the man’, or so I had led myself to believe. Perhaps I should have understood from the lack of a female pillion that I probably in all honesty just looked like the sad Muppet I actually was (under all the leather, studs, denim and attitude).
I wandered back to my big black bike, making sure the girls noted it was indeed mine, and that I was alone – yeah right, as if? So I got myself set, jacket, lid, shades… I put the keys in the ignition and eyeing the girls, I prepared to impress them with the noise from my rusty exhausts…
I stood there and pressed the start button as my bike rested on it’s side stand.
The bike was in gear, damn!
It fired up perfectly (which was rare) and shot forward straight past the girls and into a hedge.
They burst out laughing, obviously, and as the title suggests… Teen Biker Spike was cool no more!!
By the way, I didn’t pull that day either 😦