This past weekend I participated in a ride held by http://www.retrotours.com/ I want to point out at the outset I had/have no relationship with the company or its owner. I found it advertised on the internet while searching for info on old British bikes and though the idea of renting a ride on a classic bike for a weekend was too good to pass up. A few months ago I reserved my spot, picked my bike and waited anxiously for the day to arrive. I have zero experience with old bikes. When these machines were new I was only old enough to pilot a mini bike around my grandparent's farm. Therefore I have no preconceived emotions or ideas as to what these bikes were or should be from 'rose colored glasses'. My impressions are those of a guy who appreciates old machinery and has a curiosity about them. And, I like motorcycles. I arrived at Joel's (the owner of the bikes) home at around 6:45am. He was quick to greet me and introduced me to the four other riders who had also signed up for the trip. In total there would be six of us traveling together. How it works is we each selected a bike we wanted to ride in advance. Throughout the tour we would round-robin through the bikes and try them all. The plan was to leave Joel's house in Kennett Square, PA and ride to Canaan Valley, WV, spend the night, ride the area the following day, then return back to home base on day three. That didn't exactly happen... This was the scene as we geared up in preparation to ride a half-dozen 1970s bikes nearly as old as we are some 900 miles round trip: My only bike right now is a 2008 Triumph Bonneville. From Joel's fleet you may have expected me to pick an old Bonnie to ride to compare. I did think of that but instead chose something else based upon my one friend's BSA and the wonderful sounds it makes. That's right, I picked a BSA Lightning: Joel had restored this from a mess and it really presented well. It is one of the much-maligned oil in frame models and appeared to be pretty stock right down to the shocks. After a period of instruction on starting and the controls of the various bikes (they are all different which makes for some hilarious and terrifying gear changes) we were ready to set off. I'll give my impressions of each bike as we progress, starting with the BSA. After tickling the carbs (always wanted to do that!) and making sure the clutch was free I successfully kicked it to life. As we left his driveway and entered the roadway I was overcome with a feeling that I may have made a big mistake. My thoughts were that if all the bikes were similar to this one it was going to be a very long weekend. The BSA was complete rubbish, I thought. Constant vibrations throughout the rev range, mediocre seat, gauges with needles that fluttered like the wings on a hummingbird...good gawd, was I actually going to ride this pile of bolts for several hours? Err...where is my Triumph? As we meandered along the two lanes trying to escape population negative thoughts filled my head. Maybe I wasn't cut out for this adventure. As we chugged up an incline I heard a pop/bang from two bikes forward and Joel coasted to the shoulder, a non-running BMW beneath him.