This is Jane’s last bike, a Kawasaki EN500. Progressing to this gutsy machine took a while.
With her dad’s encouragement, Jane started out on a green Honda C50. This was the original step-thru. It took her through all weathers from her home in Loughborough to her first teaching job in Quorn.
There were no best moments with this first bike. Worst moments were falling off in the playground on ice in front of all the children, and falling off whilst avoiding a head on encounter with her dad in the lane near home.
For some reason, Jane never had a picture taken of her Honda 50!
Married life brought with it the need to get to a new job. And what better way than on her second bike, this 125 cc Honda. She had never bothered to take her driving test on the C50, so she was limited to 125 cc until she passed her test, which she did first time in 1976.
For all the bike was kitted out with crash bars, Jane never came off this machine.
If you were wondering what Michael was riding at this time, the answer is nothing. His Honda CD175 had died and he was reduced to traveling to work in this 1963 Austin A40 Countryman (the first ever hatchback). Jane did try to learn to drive it, but her heart was not in it.
The only trouble Jane had with the Honda was not with the bike, which was always a reliable runner, but with traffic wardens. In those days (i.e. pre-children) Jane cut a slim figure, and in her green full face helmet and matching one piece suit she was once addressed as “sonny”. This upset her greatly, and on removing her helmet, she proceeded to inform the said warden about how upset she was. That evening Jane took out needle and threat and created the badge that you see fixed in a prominent position on her suit; it reads “Call me madam”.
Jane always had an eye for a larger machine. The year we were married, 1976, we went to Bristol for the wedding of Michael’s college friends, Ian and Jill. In a side street near the church, Jane spotted a brand new Triumph Bonneville 750. The owner had left his helmet with the machine, so Jane asked for this picture to be taken to imply that Jane was showing off her bike to Dave Curd and Anne and Jeff Gledhill. (Great lapels lads!).
Having passed her test, the 125 cc limit no longer applied. Jane began looking for something more lively. She found the Kawasaki Z200…
For 1977, this was quite a sophisticated machine, with an electric start, electronic ignition and a single disk brake at the front. Being the seventies, it still has a kick start, wire wheels and plenty of chrome. The bike was man enough to take us both on the 320 mile round trip from Ashford to Leicester. The top box came off Michael’s old Honda. He should have sprayed it brown!
The careful poses in these two pictures only just disguises the reason for Jane not wearing her motorcycle garb. She was expecting Abigail in a few months. The pictures were taken because the time had come to sell the bike to raise the deposit on the new car that was to replace the Austin, in readiness for the expected baby. Jane put on a brave face, but always resented the fact that Michael sold her bike.
Things were not put right until twenty years later when we bought another bike with a fairing. This was the BMW K100, a tourer built for comfort and speed. We clocked up about 10,000 miles together on this bike.