Strikes Back - Gibraltar Or Bust
29th June | Sunday
1st August | Tuesday
3rd August | Thursday
5th August | Sunday
8th August | Tuesday
10th August | Friday
13th August | Sunday
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away,
there existed a British Motorcycle Industry.
It had been present at the birth of Motorcycling
and had spawned many exciting developments along
However, it had managed to push its head so
deeply into the sand that the first thing it
knew about any real competition to its existence
was when it felt a deep, violating stabbing
coming from its exposed rear.
Still its head stayed down and almost without
exception, it withered and perished leaving
little more than blue plaques on walls where
once monolithic factories had produced great
machines that thundered off of production lines.
Then, from over a distant horizon came a once
familiar sound. At first, some thought it to
be the ghost of Keith Moon keeping the beat
on his Bass Drum. Others thought it was the
sound of Thor and Woden battling it out in the
"Dub-Dub-Dub-Dub" On and on it went.
Getting closer and closer, - yet still oh-so-distant.
Then, from a garage forecourt, somewhere on
the A38, came there came a plaintive cry.
"Quick, - Mother, throw some sand on the
forecourt, I can hear an Bullet, and
it's coming this way!"
Few had remembered that, at the closing of an
Empire, the very technology that had caused
the demise of the Industry had been exported
to the only nation who could be trusted to keep
the dream alive and carry on like the Sorcerer's
Apprentice making the same old thing, in the
same old way, because no one said to do otherwise.
India had been making bikes based on the machine
that they had admired and chosen for their Armed
Forces and Police so many years ago. Now manufactured
to the highest of standards with CNC machining
and even tightening up some of the nuts and
bolts. They were now being rewarded with being
able to find a ravenous market back in "Dear
So many people are proud to be able to own a
link to such a worthy inheritance but sadly
many of them only get used as "Garage Ornaments"
and for physiotherapy by over-polishing with
"Magic Cloths" and potions.
This is the record of three variants of the
saviour being taken on a 4500 mile expedition
from the UK to the southernmost tip of the European
mainland Gibraltar,..........and then back again.
Bill has a 350 Enfield which he is loath to
give up as it is the reasoning behind his nick
It is rumoured that he is going to switch to
anthracite in it as a fuel to assist the current
The bike that Bill took to Europe was an Enfield
Bullet 500 electric start. He bought it for
a few hundred quid in several baskets and proceeded
to resurrect it from the floor up. The fact
that it generally held up for a 4000+ mile trek
is testimony to his skills and confidence as
These skills are second only to his ability
as a rider. Now, if only he had longer legs
and could reach the floor when he stops.......
I apologise for having to use a picture with
a Kawazaki in it on a Blog about Enfields but,
as you will see as this Blog continues, this
is the only incident, on record, where Bill
PRINCE HENRY OF ROCKHAMPTON
Henry is the proprietor of Price Parts Motorcycles
and it was his stupid idea to go on this trip.
For those who don't know Henry, he supplies
an excellent service in all aspects of anything
Enfield and, I have to say that, to watch him
set about fixing a non running, fully loaded
bike, spanners and oil flying all over the place,
in temperatures of 35 degrees, while you and
your mate wander across the road and have an
ice cold beer is truly a sight to behold.
Henry's daily hack is a Royal Enfield Lightning
535 with many mods. Samarat rockers, lightweight
piston, rollerbearing big end, upgraded oil
pumps, en-suite panniers..... the list goes
on and on. It's more of a work in progress considering
that Henry rarely has less that six bikes ready
to go in his workshop and enough spares on the
shelf to build another six.
The one mod that Henry did to his Lightning
for the trip was to copy my mod by removing
the twin seat and fit the "fat arse"
U.S. style sprung solo seat. To this is added
a piece of sheepskin.
You may laugh but no more "Enfield Arse"!
Yours truly from Chepstow, South Wales. I've
had an Enfield, of one sort or another for about
5 years and recenty went for the Electra with
the alluminium lean burn engine.
My bike had done 6000 miles before we departed
and has had a Delorto 32 m.m. carb, unrestricted
Hitchcock’s exhaust and a Goldie silencer
fitted along with the single seats (and sheepskin
The rack has a large top box and large hard
cased panniers attached to the sides. But more
of that later.....
I also had my Tom Tom Sat Nav with the maps
for Western Europe. We decided that, rather
than be led by the nose for the whole trip,
we'd use the Sat Nav to get us out of the clag
when we got lost beyond redemption.
I'd installed a weatherproof 12-volt cigarette
socket into the battery cover to power the Sat
Nav, Mobile Phone and Ipod chargers.
All three of the bikes were extensively serviced
prior to departure to the extent that even when
wheels were removed for tyres, tubes and tapes,
wheel bearings were replaced. It's much easier
to do something like this at one's leisure than
on a fully loaded up bike in the heat of the
noon-day sun somewhere.
Henry made use of his copious panniers to take
as many spare as he thought we might need and
could manage to squeeze in. On top of this,
I had spare cables, tubes, a mini compressor,
and as many tools as I could manage. Bill had
one of his wife's old leather handbags with
a selection of tools, a compact, comb and a
lipstick! Now there's confidence for you. He
must have thought he was going to get lucky
at some point.
Henry and I both had cycle computers fitted
to allow for a more accurate record of mileage
and speeds etc. We had enough cable ties to
tow a small ship, various nuts and bolts and,
most importantly, full breakdown and repatriation
We had all bought camping gear. Bill's first
atempt at a tent was a £12.99 thing from
Argos. It turned out to be the sort of thing
you might buy for the kids to use in the garden
on a Sunday afternoon. He had a "try-out"
in it and found it was more akin to a canvas
coffin. Henry and I had also bought weatherproof
"stuff bags" which proved invaluable.
Added to that was a liberal amount of bungees,
super glue, magic metal, liquid gasket, copper
grease, spark plugs, insulating tape, rabbits
foot....... and we were good to go.