Gary Rootham

Long ago, slightly more than 60 yrs to be precise in a land far far away, south London or North Surrey if I want to be posh to the delight of my parents, I think! I popped into the world. Fast forward 15 yrs I joined a canoe club and started competing in slalom events around the country at that time no particular interest in bikes but several of the older guys in the club rode bikes, Norton Dominator and BSA A10 to name a couple, interest sparked, I was approaching 16 and looked for a moped. Languishing in the hedge of the back garden of a relations house a moped I could have for 50 bob, (kids ask your grandparents how much that is) I got rid of as much rust as I could, gave it a coat of paint and got it going, now the proud owner of an NSU Quickly 2, it’s not twist and go, it had a clutch
on the left hand and 2 gears on the clutch twist grip, rear brakes you had to push the pedals backwards.
NSU Quickly 2:
Doesn’t look great but the alternative was a Mobylette, FS1E’s hadn’t been invented back then, downhill with a good wind you could 40 mph, but I’m mobile and independent. Managed on the moped only throwing down the road once, get to 17 need something a bit bigger when a friend was selling his Honda 90 sport, so that’s a naked Honda 90 with a clutch, yep threw that down the road as well.
Honda 90 Sport:
I passed my test on this, one of those advanced tests where the examiner stands on a street corner and you drive around in a figure of eight, emergency stop he stands in the road 300 yrds in front of you and raises an arm, not sure anybody could fail unless you got lost. So I’ve got a full licence now need a bigger bike, Honda CB250 to commute to work, didn’t do very Honda CB250 same colour as mine well at school thoroughly enjoyed my school days, thick, lazy or both I wasn’t going to make it as a fast jet pilot in the RAF (first choice) ended up in a paint research laboratory, that didn’t last any more than the bike did, car pulled out in front of me (SMIDSY) I cleared the car completely and rolled down the road the other side, off to hospital for some X-rays nothing broken, bike written off, this time it’s a Honda CB350 (doing it in stages).
Honda CB350 same colour as mine On the way to Devon for a holiday piston ring breaks and puts a hole in the piston, I carry on for miles and stop at every petrol station and put a pint of oil in, must have got through a gallon before I got to my destination, had to put it on the train to get it home, shiny side up on this one but it had to go once it was repaired.
Triumph T150V:
Yep I bought a Triumph Trident T150V if you look around the museum you will find one, right foot shift loved this bike handled like a lump of jelly, with a pillion the handlebars went around in circles. By now I had managed somehow to get a job in a hospital research laboratory, cancer research sorry if you’re offended, but I worked with rats which would be killed, and I would slice the livers one cell thick.
Now I’m on a Suzuki 750 fully faired, no pics of this one and for some reason I really don’t remember much about it but time for another change. Moved job to Kings College Hospital and into Haematology being a bit colour blind I gravitated to Blood Transfusion and finished qualifying in Transfusion Science. New bike time, back then chains were a faff (still are) so it’s time for a shaft drive.
Suzuki GS1000G:
The 850 was very popular and they released a 1000 version I had the 4th one in the country (EYP417V) shows it’s age and a sad old git who can remember number plates, loved it toured and commuted to work but I passed my car test and bought a Hillman Avenger, can’t afford both and I’m getting wet and cold on the bike, has to go. Twenty-six years off a bike, moved to Birmingham and now working in healthcare IT one of my neighbours Joe Smith an ex BAM member re-ignites my interest in bikes it’s a hot
summer so I have a couple of lessons on a school bike to see if I can still ride and enjoy it, dropped the school bike in the carpark but didn’t put me off. Bugger! I’ve been bitten by the bike bug again and I tell my mum I’m back on a bike, didn’t go well first
time but I’m older now (getting old is mandatory, growing up isn’t), she still doesn’t like the idea. Joe sensibly says if I get a bike, I should join BAM, so this time it’s a CBR 600F
I joined BAM in 2006 and finally learn how to ride a bike, thanks to Neil Murray and a host of other observers for your patience I passed my test in 2008, mainly because of my reluctance to ride in the winter and Neil’s shifts it took a couple of years to get around to it. Time for a quicker bike I find a VFR 800 for sale in Cambridge
Good deal 1yr old 3800 miles and £5 short of £5k, loved it but after 10yrs it needed quite a bit of work and another valve clearance service, look around and fancy the new Kawasaki Z1000SX. Kawasaki Birmingham give me a good part exchange deal and luggage.
Kawasaki Z1000SX:
It’s a great bike and now I ride all year round despite a professional ACF50 coating it’s corroding a lot and Kawasaki are not interested. I have been the club secretary for 18 months now because I feel I needed to put something back after years as a full member
and not really wanting to be an observer. The good news, since joining BAM I haven’t thrown it down the road also never looked back, it’s a great club with a group of guys and gals with a common goal to enjoy life ride safely and look out for each other.

Kevin Songhurst

kevin songhurst

The website design team working with BAM, from UK Design Group. Also do work with TUI formerly Thomson Holidays and First Choice holidays.

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