I enjoyed an amazing childhood. The suburb of Cabramatta may now be famous for all the wrong reasons, but during the 1970s the streets around my neighbourhood were filled with kids.
When not playing rugby on the street, we could (or couldn’t) be found exploring the bush which used to signal the edge of Sydney’s Western Suburbs. As Christmas 1980 approached, I didn’t know it at the time, but my life was about to change forever.
My father, a hard-working man, seemed to be spending even longer hours than normal away from home – he would uncharacteristically disappear after dinner for a few hours each night. The reason became clear on Christmas morning when my present was the best looking motorcycle I have ever laid eyes on: a 1973 Honda XL175. I cared not a jot that it was old and painted in the same matte blue colour as the welding machines my dad repaired for a living. This was a motorcycle, and it was mine!
Turns out my father’s extra hours had been spent building the bike from spare parts. Unfortunately, he had not been able to get it running prior to the big day, however, that was a minor detail to me. While we waited for the required parts, Christmas was spent learning how to kick-start the big bike, which did its best to shatter my ankle if I didn’t position the piston correctly. Once running, it was the threat of the same “kick back” which quickly taught me to ride smoothly, not to crash, and not to stall the bike. I’m sure there are plenty of readers who were introduced to motorcycle riding in the same fashion.
From the AMCN team, I’d like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Let’s hope there are more bikes than ever being stuffed under Christmas trees this year.
Make mine a light blue XL175 thanks.