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My Great British Motorcycle Journey Part 2 - Mirror Mirror on my Bike...

September 17, 2017

The Honda CX500c. It shines up well. 

Well, I couldn't ride it (technically...ahem), as when I bought it I hadn't passed my test. So I was therefore confined to a 125cc machine like the LC (UK law). However, in the aftermath of the unfortunate demise of the Little Screamer, the knowledge that I already possessed another bike did bring some measure of comfort to me. It was a Honda CX500C and I had wanted one since I was 11 years old. 


Ok I confess, although that last statement is a slight exaggeration, clumsily injected into the proceedings to draw you into this tale, it is based upon a kernel of truth. When I was indeed a year shy of my twelfth birthday, I had happened upon an ad for the CX in a car magazine and it was the coolest looking thing I had ever seen. 


 The sheep don't look too interested, but I was smitten.


It says a lot about the CX that for a time the ad was stuck to my bedroom wall right next to the other object of my affections, the blonde girl from ABBA. It might even be in the attic at home somewhere, but alas we will never be able to confirm this, as we all know that the attic is the domain of the spiders. Ironically at the time, the standard CX500 range was much maligned, exceedingly un-sought after and mainly served as cheap hacks for London dispatch riders. Their nickname in the UK was ‘the plastic maggot’. Of course the bike in the ad was the ‘C’or Custom version, so in my mind, it occupied a completely different aesthetic plane.*


When I saw one of these for sale all those years later (12 to be precise), I had to have it. Accordingly, I once again set out with my buddy Chris to buy yet another bike that I would not be able to ride home. Money changed hands, I drove Chris’s car back and he brought the CX back to its new abode. 


Once I had passed my bike test, the CX and I bonded. Being my first ‘big bike’ it occupied a unique place in my heart. However, my principal memory of that time is the unhealthy obsession I developed with getting the shiny bits ‘chromed’ at the local bike shop. This was a service that they offered to preening idiots like me who had brought a 70s conceived chrome clad monster and were subsequently dismayed at how the cruddy British weather turned the shiny bits from ‘see your face in them’ sparkling to ‘can’t bear to look at them’ furry gray in about a week. Once I had taken my tarnished bike to them only to collect it 2 hrs later looking like new, (or at least not like a 20 year old bike), I was hooked. The problem was that the effect never lasted for long, the tarnish always crept back no matter how fastidious I was about cleaning and drying the bike and my agonized reflection in the chromework would get more and more indistinct with each passing day. Within two to three weeks, I’d be picking up the phone again for my next visit to the polishing and buffing emporium. That was getting expensive and I was getting unhealthily obsessive about it, so I sold the bike to a friend and took solace from the fact that it's replacement was already sitting in the garage…


* Incredibly CX500’s are getting very desirable now as both a base of custom machines and as unmolested (and impossibly shiny) originals. Verily, he moves in mysterious ways. 


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