Category Archives: BMF Show

Manx Terrier

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I always feel a terrible fraud attending bike events in a car. Especially when the sun is shining. You can just about get away with it in the winter, but heading to the BMF Show in the grannywagon was a return to the bad old days: of taking a non-riding partner to a social meet; of (whisper) not actually having a licence; of riding a 100cc bike that only managed 45mph downhill.

I was going to take the Lomax but I had so many excuses. The weather forecast was bad so it would be wet. The Citroen Specials Club didn’t have room for it on the stand, so it would be at risk of theft. I might be buying Big Stuff and need a boot.

All of these reasons are bollocks. As a wise friend says, “If you want to, you’ll find a way. If you don’t want to, you’ll find an excuse.”

The truth is that after its bad start I don’t quite trust the Lomax yet. I did my best to compensate with 100 Best Rock Tunes on the grannywagon stereo and the windows down, but it’s really not the same.

It’s not the first BMF Show I have been to in a car (see excuse no. 1 about non-riding partners), but it is the first time I have stayed all weekend on an exhibitors pass.

Friday was mostly anticipation. And bad preparation! I didn’t check where the Citroen Specials Club would be, so an increasingly reluctant Shakey and I wandered round the showground looking for three-wheel cars. We were very envious of the well-prepared bike clubs with their comfy seats and cold beers. In the end we gave in and asked at the organisers office. Classic and Vintage Arena? Well, of course! At least we headed back there in style, whisked along in an electric golf buggy. I may be able-bodied but my dog has three legs and suffers badly with being lazy.

Saturday was more about introductions. I have been following the very talented Michelle Szpak on twitter for a while. She takes amazing portraits of riders and their bikes. I love her work because it’s not just about the technology, it’s about the riders. So it was brilliant to meet her in person and see some of her latest portraits in real life.

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Shakey thought it was brilliant to meet lots of people carrying their packed lunches in plastic bags. I am considering setting him up in business as an example of the power of positive thinking. There is simply no doubt in his mind that a man with a sandwich in his bag would love nothing better than to hand it over for devouring. And his belief is rewarded. Every single time.

Which is why he had to sit down rather frequently and get his breath back. He tried to blame the hot weather but he wasn’t fooling anyone.

Sunday was all about conversation. Jim and Ken from the Citroen Specials Club, my hosts for the weekend, were doing splendidly at discussing the benefits of life on three wheels to potential new members. As I’ve only been a member about three months and have only had a working Lomax for about three weeks I felt I had little to add, so on Sunday I relocated to help man the Midlife Classics mobile shop. A prime position in front of the doors, a place to sit and the occasional well-built young chap stripping down to try on a t-shirt all made the time pass far too quickly, and it was lovely to catch up with Mr Midlife Classics, Tim Slaughter, another longstanding twitter friend.

I did wonder a while ago whether the lack of drama in my life was going to lead to terribly dull posts. No-one got locked in anywhere. I didn’t take a wrong turn and have to push my bike through a very large crowd. I didn’t have to ask a passing Polish chap to help me pick my bike off the tarmac. I had a lovely long weekend in the sun catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. And then I took my new Penelope Pitstop helmet home and drove the Lomax, with my fat dog in the passenger seat, to the pub.

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Beer, bikes, bands….

Finally I get to write my triumphant “car is fixed” post. Bear with me, it’s a long story.

This weekend I had three tasks – go to the BMF Show, go to the Fake MA Party with friends from work, and put a new fuel pump on the 2CV.  Friday, Saturday night and Sunday morning. Should have been simple.

I reckoned without the careful attention to detail of the people behind the BMF show. It was very good of them to provide excellent beer, great company, and a ZZ Top tribute band who (I think, but my memories may be confused by the beer here) rounded off their set with La Grange, which I absolutely love to dance to.

But the excellence of Friday night meant that Saturday morning started in a slightly wobbly and uncertain way.  I managed to chat to Sue and Uki from the Guzzi owners’ club about camping, mainly because they provided coffee and ginger nuts; caught up with Andy and Sheila in the grandstands for the White Helmets;  and then tripped on my heels and fell arse over tit down the grandstand steps to land at the feet of Leon Mannings. I don’ t think that was quite the entrance he was expecting me to make.

I have a dodgy left knee, I dislocated it dancing at one of my sister’s housewarming party in the days when she liked renting cottages in very remote parts of Scotland. One minute I was throwing groovy shapes, the next I had crashed to the floor.  I think some of her friends thought this was just an extension of my startling moves. After only 12 months of physio I was able to walk on it again. I got married with a full-length support stocking on that leg, just in case it collapsed halfway up the aisle. So some sort of karmic echo has probably made it necessary that I get divorced in a similar state of immobility.

Knees are a bad design and when you bugger them up they really, really hurt, in a “putting a brave face on it but actually on the verge of throwing up” way. So I didn’t see much of the show. I said hello to the Oval Motorcycle Centre,  and I joined the Trail Riding Fellowship so that when I go back to Australia I can ride the lovely red roads, and then I had to go and sit down.

Hell for me would be sitting in a room while all my friends are at a party and I am not. So you can imagine how happy I was on Saturday night to realise, after 20 minutes making small talk and eating excellent onion bhajis, that unless cold sweat had suddenly become what all the cool kids are wearing, I was going to have to admit my limitations and retire hurt.

This morning I woke up at 4.30, and it was raining. Attempting to remove a vital organ from the car in the rain seemed to be an unwise idea but by about half 10 the rain had decided that staying in the cloud would be fine so I lined up the instruments and got stuck in. “Oh dear, is the car still poorly?” asked the neighbours, to whom my endless struggle with machinery is a source of bafflement and entertainment.

My toolkit has expanded and the teeny-weeny sockets were a perfect fit. I find it interesting that when I start a job like this it seems impossible to wrestle past all the bits of engine to get a grip on the object of my desire but by the end of three hours the spaces feel twice the size  and I seem to have developed extra thumbs to hold the spacer, the washer, the bolt, the socket on the extension bar and the petrol hose. Although this may just be because I have been in the Fens too long and have acquired the local adaptation.

Having got everything off and the new bits lined up, greased up and stuffed into hoses, I had to persuade myself to take the final step and fit them. I think this was fear. If this didn’t work, I would be out of ideas for what was wrong with the car.  But the great joy of a 2CV is that you can stick a starting handle in the front and turn the engine over with it. As the pump is mechanically-driven off the engine, I thought I would be able to tell whether it was working. It didn’t chuck any petrol out of the top hose but it did make a magnificent sucky noise,  like wellies in mud. Which the other one hadn’t.  Which gave me great confidence, which proved to be correct . The car now runs, the exhaust doesn’t leak, and the boots? They’re still shiny boots of rubber. All I need now is the MOT and it will be a success to be proud of.

* I don’t have any good pictures from the show, so here is the Travelling Moose of happy memory.

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