The minor adventures of a motorcycle courier

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by JoeyBones, Aug 20, 2008.

  1. aspieman

    aspieman M58

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    Why do do ask that? Plenty of drs were ex-services in the UK.It provided the risk taking opportunities which some vets seek.I worked alongside Falklands vets an d guys who had done tours in NI in the worst years.


  2. PBOB

    PBOB MOTO NUT

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    Where can I get the adv in motorcycling dispatching on London book?
    I would like a paper back all I see online is kindle--- I don't want kindle dang it.

    Anyone have a copy they wanna sell me?!?
  3. Draechon

    Draechon Long timer

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    I just finished my Kindle copy a few days ago. Very captivating and interesting stories. Much happier with it than some other Kindle moto books.
  4. Chris S

    Chris S Been here awhile

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    Drae, glad you enjoyed it.

    Pbob: paperback only on my website for the moment.
    Sends to US right here
  5. ninja97

    ninja97 Been here awhile

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    I wish I had come across this tread earlier.
    Started as a courier in about 93 and sadly still working as a courier now, had a 4 year break from 01-05 but the lure of the open road was to strong so bought a new DR 650 and back on the road again.

    I first started at a company that wanted to start using bikes and I was one of the first for them but the hardest part was trying to work out where the hell I was going, the call from the despatcher calling some address for a pick up and thinking to myself where the hell is that and looking at the street map trying to figure some way to get there and then picking up the job trying to work out where it was going.

    Some of the stories I read here brought back so many memories of days past, lucky I had a good bike at the time, Kawasaki 650 Tengai, lasted me 2years before I sold it to a fellow courier.

    When I started at what was Melbourne's biggest motorcycle courier company Data Express, that was a total eye opener to being a courier, my god it was insane, despatches on the radio constantly, trying to get through on the radio was a game of chance at times, then getting 3 or 4 jobs and trying to remember them all.
    I think they had close to 40 bikes split between 4 channels just working one city, not to mention the 20 odd cars and vans, but only one bicycle.

    Ah they were the days, making money and working long hours, now it is a case of long hours and no money, damn Internet ruined a great job.
    I think it was maybe about 1999-2000 the day the music died here in Melbourne , it was almost over night that most stuff ended up going through the Internet , all the photo proofs going from ad company to client back to ad company then either back to client again or off to printers, all express .
    Now they just send an email.
  6. Draechon

    Draechon Long timer

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    It's INSANE to me how many bikes you went through in your courier days. I can't wait for a second with tales of successful travels through the desert!

    I wish I were more versed in London's layout so I could understand better when you speak of geography and areas of town, and of the political situations there in the early 80s so I could follow along instead of just having to skip paragraphs every once in a while.
  7. Chris S

    Chris S Been here awhile

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    It was insane. I just happened to be reunited with my '78 XT500 from 1981 (I was 21 then) for London Bike Show this weekend and realised it was my 22nd bike! But it is half the weight of some of the Touratech-laden tanks on the stand opposite.

    Well there is Desert Travels - same era but all Sahara and not all successful. Paper in the UK or a kindle in the US. Book starts with that XT below.

    tbh, I wouldn't expect most US readers to get the London despatching book - 95% sell to the UK as expected.

    Attached Files:

  8. Shaftrider

    Shaftrider Adventurer

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    Joe didn't catch your story till today.. I worked in DC for a couple of courier companies
    I split lanes, parked on the the sidewalk, spent time in the House document room, picked up mail for United in the tunnel under National Airport.
    I started using my own bike, an almost new BMW R65 working for Executive off K St. for Terry Floyd,the Rasta short fellow with Brit accent.
    I spent most of my career working for Metro, because we could put the abuse on their bikes -mostly R50/2s with 600 heads and also as employees we had Workmen's Comp.(which for those badly injured mattered a lot).
    The Motorola Radios we had were prone to some garbling, but there were repeaters to boost the signal for Bethesda, Arlington,Upper NE..There was A SuBway Restaurant I think on Constitution Av NE where the payphone was always free. Likewise alot of secuity desks didnt make you sign in once they knew you, there was an eye contact signal.My pay was pretty good all based on the number of runs about $400/week
    My Gas tank got damaged in a Domino tipover while I was at work, as I'd park my bike where I'd roll the work bike out of in the garage on Champlain St. Taylor,the Business manager told me they'd get it repaired,but They didn't I quit sued them in small Claims court and settled for the cost of repair.
    The Metro bikes were aging a lot in '83, but we had 1 1/2 full time mechanics.I rode a bike back to the shop that had completely lost the swingarm bearing and the tire was rubbing the mufflers and Masonite sheets protecting the canvas saddlebags for the trip from K st to Adam's Morgan.

    I used to remember more need some Pentothal I suppose.
  9. Chris S

    Chris S Been here awhile

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    Old time Brit couriers might like to know there's a feature on despatching's 1980s heyday in the new April issue of Practical Sportsbike mag.

    Warning: image below contains CX500

    Attached Files:

  10. chris999

    chris999 n00b

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    Been suggested to me I'd get up to 800 quid for it!

    any offers?

    Attached Files:

    • pony.jpg
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  11. theturtleshead

    theturtleshead Tits on a fish

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    Medellin Colombia ain,t nowhere better
    A CX with handlebar muffs! fUCK IT! I've had enough of the Eternal spring bullshit.
    I'm moving back to Hackney:D
  12. just jeff

    just jeff Long timer

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    Looks like he's push starting that bike!??
    JJ
  13. theturtleshead

    theturtleshead Tits on a fish

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    Medellin Colombia ain,t nowhere better
    He doesn't look like it-he is!
  14. just jeff

    just jeff Long timer

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    Gonna be a bitch to jump on with that top case!!
    JJ
  15. DesertRatliff

    DesertRatliff Tinker Tinker Ride Ride

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    Just finished Chris's book and loved it. I've only been to London once many years ago as a kid, but the time and place described in the book are so iconic. I loved hearing about the music, the politics, the squatting and of course, what many consider to be the peak of Japanese street bikes.

    Thanks Chris! :thumb
  16. Chris S

    Chris S Been here awhile

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    They've been looking after 'Acne' while you've been away.
    Shot last year at the Bike Shed event.

    [​IMG]

    btw, now that that issue has come and gone you can read the despatching feature here.

    PS: thanks D-Rat. Glad you enjoyed it.
    Off to the UK Classic Bike Show this weekend. Looking forward to seeing some old beauties from my era
  17. aspieman

    aspieman M58

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    My one-did you work out of Wembley?

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  18. Chris S

    Chris S Been here awhile

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    Since messages had to be delivered in person to the officer to whom it was addressed, despatch riders were automatically made corporals. According to army rules and regulations, no man in the ranks could on his own approach an officer ...

    Article on books covering the WWI origins of despatching.

    http://www.theridersdigest.co.uk/red-horse-ready-rider/

    [​IMG]
  19. Reynaldo

    Reynaldo Adventurer

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    Well, this is a turn-up for the books! My nephew sent me Chris Scott's Adventures in Motorcycling recently as I’d been involved in the despatching industry for over twenty years, and Chris’s book gave a link - interesting book Chris, not the way I went about despatching, but a blast from the past I definitely connected with – the link, led me here, and lo and behold I find names that I remember from despatching in London from '76 on, I hope some are still lurking in the woodwork! Pages 5 & 6 of this thread specifically, but I’ll get to that later.

    I started with Pony in January 1976 on a Honda 400/4. Back then Pony worked out of a back room office in Preston Road, Wembley, and of an evening 'The Parrot' would fix top boxes and radios to the luckless participants seeking to earn some dosh on their bikes, a bike would be backed into the side entrance of the shop with the bike taking up most of a small space in a corridor that led to the mini-cab office of Cossack Motors, the then parent company of Pony Express set up by Martin Chater & Alan Braby. The Parrot was a little bald headed guy named Arthur Powers, an electro-mechanical and radio engineer whose call sign for checking the radios was AP1, and every time he called on he'd repeat himself twice - "Aay Pee 1 to base, Aay Pee 1 to base, over" - hence - The Parrot. And so began a 28 year love hate relationship, beginning as Messenger 68 with Pony. The top rider back then was Martin Swift whom we never saw as he was always out on the street earning. His call sign was Messenger 6, but we only ever heard “six ‘ere”. At the other end of the efficiency spectre was Bill Rankin – Messenger 9. He ran a ratty Ariel Arrow with clip-ons and a racing fairing, and was very much a loose canon in terms of reliability. But a character nonetheless.

    I had a vague idea of central London's street layout, but wasn't prepared for the one way systems as the paperback A-Z didn't show them. First job must have taken me two hours to go from Wembley to Mayfair! Should have been 20mins at the outside. We all started somewhere similar I'm sure. I well remember that first month in January and one job in particular. I'd been in and out of town several times and ready to pack in, when they sought a volunteer to pick up from Warrington, near Manchester. Pump gaskets were needed for Sol Cafe in Greenford, and muggins here volunteered. It was a freezing cold night with a clear sky, and after receiving the details of the collection point up North, I headed for home near Tring in Hertfordshire for extra clothing and a bowl of soup before setting off. By the time I left home it was just gone 6pm, and it was M1 & M6 all the way. What with the sub-zero temperatures and no heated clothing, the journey North took several hours with me collecting the gaskets sometime around 11:30. Heading back it seemed to get even colder, and my Lewis Leathers sheepskin lined mittens did nothing to stave off frozen fingers and hands. I stopped at every service station there was, staggering off the bike into a caff for another coffee and suffer the agony of frozen hands thawing out, time after time. I eventually got to Greenford around 5am, called MT to the night controller and slunk off home for a kip. Come eleven o'clock I called on and was back on the road, vowing I wouldn't be volunteering again anytime soon!

    That Summer of ’76 was the long heat wave, and riding around town in ragged denim shorts and an open shirt still didn't stop us overheating. But I was earning twice what I earned as a bus driver (my previous job), and without weekend work or shifts. The dog eared A-Z was dumped for a Nicholson’s, which was a revelation in pinpointing streets – and it showed the one-way systems, though as we know, they are apt to be changed. Most evenings I would drop back into base at Preston Road around six thirty and take orders from the evening controllers for the Chinese up the road - sweet'n sour sauce, prawn balls, and spring rolls were favourites. Dick Howard and Robin Galetly were on the box back then, John Lane was our salesman, and quiet talking Ian 'Mac' McFarlane hirer and firer. There was a guy called Bob too, another controller, but the star of the night staff was 'Twinkle'. Twinkle had to be seen and heard to be believed. About fifty odd years of age, he would come to work in a pink wig, make-up, and some outrageous garment and chain smoke his way through the night. He'd be all over the women on the phone and piss take everyone else (or so it seemed). I do wonder if the Royston Vasey cab driver was taken from Twinkle. (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen).

    Arriving in the evenings I would often get looks of amazement as my white open face lid would bear smoke stains down each side from West end and City air pollution. Taking off my aviator specs then showed two flesh coloured circles against a black face - exhaust fumes. Buses and taxis mostly. And what did we carry? - what didn't we carry! There was one regular run up West of six Danish open sandwiches for one PR company; any amount of advertising material; legal documents; models portfolios; theatrical costumes; master tapes, demo discs; one time I had a cooked meal on a plate to take from a Kensington residence cooked by a Mum, and take it to the hospital in Horseferry Road where little Johnny wouldn't eat hospital food! Managed to keep most of it on the plate too. A master mould for an industrial safety hat (weighed about twenty pounds) - that went up to Leicester somewhere, and one customer on a regular basis, had us taking their dirty laundry to a Launderette – putting it through the wash cycle – and returning same. If it fit in the top box - we'd take it. If it didn't, we'd bungy it on the bike somehow - and take it, though there were one or two items that were a bit beyond the pail like a six foot cardboard macaw destined for an exhibition - and it was raining. "Sorry love, it'll get destroyed - you need a car". Some people just didn't get it. Blood from Edgeware blood bank, samples for the path lab at CMH (Central Middlesex Hospital - almost ran slap into Prince Michael of Kent and the Princess there), and various semi frozen bits of the anatomy. I’ve even seen a guy with a lawn mower tied on his rack, and another with half a dozen full sized builders shovels – a work of art in carrying! Resourceful I think is the word.

    I stayed with Pony until October that year when the weather turned. I guess I got spoiled with the copious amounts of Sunshine and wet roads didn’t seem so appealing. I quit, but didn’t really know what I wanted to do next, when the directors of Pony asked if I’d work in the office. Not really my scene – always worked outside, but they eventually convinced me to stay and Winter was approaching. At first I just fetched the buns and made tea, but there was a plan afoot. Preston Road was the control centre for Pony and the minicab service, but the administration and accounting was done over in the Hayes office by Hayes Station. There had been for some time a little warfare between Hayes where the directors hung out, and Preston Road where the work was done., and now I became the fly on the wall for Hayes. Not exactly what I had wanted, and by careful diplomacy gave over the antipathy – and the reasons for it – to Hayes, whilst also attempting to inject some semblance of calm into Preston Road. Another aspect of my task was taking the cash from riders who’d collected cash from the cash jobs, not just that though, I started some bookwork for circuit fees and radio rent along with interviewing new riders for the circuit. “Check the bike out, and if they can read and write – sign them up”. Well that wasn’t hard, and some of the names that have been mentioned in these pages previously first came to me to start despatching; Ken Couchman, Mike Gillet, Martin, Keith, Ray Hosker, Duncan who became Messenger 68 (my old number), Lianne Gentle, Neil Symes who slept under a bench in Hyde Park at night, and many more.

    The feud between the offices came to a head around the same time Pony Express moved into an industrial unit on the Northfields Industrial estate in Beresford Avenue, just up the road from the Ace café which at that time had been a tyre depot for some time. Preston Road was vacated, and Dick and Robin left to start Arrow Express somewhere off Oxford Street I think. New blood, new offices. Not just hiring riders, I now had the task of managing the data processing department which established who had done what jobs and therefore got paid for them, sorting out queries on pay, trying to get riders to fill in their log sheets in clearly, and get them in during the week instead of the last minute on a Friday – and impossible task!

    I stuck it out for a year or so, but the executive ladder left me drained, and work stayed in my head all over the weekend – every weekend. I longed for something simple, to have the end of the day with a line drawn under it – job finished. Clear head. Tomorrow’s another day. Later! Martin Chater had been good to me, and helped me get a foot on the housing market, but I needed to move away from the liabilities and pressures of meetings and deadlines. For a short while I started driving private hire cars in Aylesbury, but that was a joke, picking up drunks who threw up in the car didn’t appeal, and the pay was related to the earnings less a large percentage and VAT to the company. One day I spent seven hours working, and it was so quiet I’d earned £3.78p after their cut had been taken. I quit, did a bit of odd jobbing, worked with an ‘old boy’ setting up audio equipment at horse trials and such (for £1 per hour! A massive improvement on the taxi job), and eventually put the house on the market unable to make the payments during the period from 1978 – 1980 when interest rates went from 8% to 14%. That two year period saw house prices climb, and with what I got from the sale I bought a boat and lived afloat. That began a love affair with both the River and the canals which became a home afloat for twelve years. During this time I met my second wife, bought me a new CX500, started a family, and went back on the road despatching. This time with a little company in Grays Inn Road – Walker Despatch.

    Duncan had kept in touch and become a good pal, and it was he who got me in with Tony Walker aka ‘The Hippo’. There were only a half dozen riders, and I stayed for almost a year before taking time out to do some serious canal cruising. Long story cut short – back after three months and skint, I walked into West One Couriers at 33 Newman Street. Met ‘Blue’ in the basement office for an aptitude test which involved my knowledge of London, and got onto circuit that day after basic introductions with the control staff on the third floor – which was buzzing! As my old number of 68 was already allocated, I became ‘Apple58’, and I stayed there for a few years, that was from around October ’83. I saw the firm move to Bolsover Street, then to Castle Wharf, but the buzz that got us so much work at Newman Street had been lost. I quit and went to Deadline Despatch based in Gerrards Cross some time. Another small firm, but with satellite offices in Uxbridge and Marlow. I won’t call Deadline a dead loss, but there was an awful lot of dead mileage, and rare was the chance of a double up, let alone a treble or quadruple up that was the norm during the eighties with West One.

    I got through three CX’s through those years, and each saw in excess of 100,000 miles each, but I fancied a boxer twin, so I took on a pals BMW R80/7, kitted it out, and away I went. Those pots do damage don’t they? But it turned into a steady and stable platform most of the time, though thirsty at high speed. In my early days with the boxer, nipping back onto the CX was like getting a comfy pair of boots on with effortless controls. The Beemer needed a firm hand, but the long term economy in servicing and spares was good. It dropped a valve once, and a new clutch I put in sheared its rivets within 2,000 miles (exchanged free). The CX’s broke two cam chain slippers between the three of them, and a broken rocker. The Honda 400/4 had long since been shifted. That had a really bad habit of becoming a 200cc twin in the rain!

    Another break in despatching came with a spell managing a marina, but the longing for the road crept back - like putting sugar in my tea after a trial period of abstinence of the sweet stuff. Got to have it!

    Chris Scott’s book mentions riders getting ‘fed’ work. Oh yes, no one would admit it, but you can bet your bippy it went on. How do you get fed? Be there – all the time. Do the crap work as well as the juicy stuff. So many times I had seen riders stopping for lunch at places like the Country & Western in Shaftesbury Avenue, and knocking off early’ish to sup in the 'One Tun' in Goodge Street, and while I never did get to sample either establishments wares due to my controller saying: “You also want . . .” – and often was the time I got called up to the office for . . . you get the picture. I did no-one any favours, I just kept working. Did it make me pots of money? You jest! But it kept us afloat – literally – until we sold the boat and moved in with the in-laws. Less said about that the better.

    Having had enough of Deadline, and calling MT in Thornton Heath only to be given details of the next job in Gerrads Cross?!?! We parted company. I’d had the Beemer off the road for a few months (another rest period), stripped, cleaned and polished it up, and sold it – for the same amount I paid for it, and with 211,000 on the clock. An AA patrol man bought it, and after a year I got to wondering if he still had it, as I had a hankering to buy it back. But he too had just moved it on after many miles without needing to touch it with the tool kit, and was also regretting selling it. So a replacement was sought, and I fancied a Guzzi. I bought a dog of a V50III with a very pretty paint job (sucker!). Got it sorted and went straight round to West One, who had then taken up residence in Scrutton Street EC2. “Hello mate – you coming to start again?” Back on circuit that same day. God it felt good! Getting back in the saddle after a lay-off can give you aches and pains where you shouldn’t have them, and at times a feeling of wanting to chuck-up from the noise and rush, but you just get on and do it. Three days later – right as rain.

    The chronic problems of top box mounted radios were history now, it was all Motorola hand-helds, and if you had any sense – an earpiece to hear that vital: “58 where now?” In addition, a headpiece with microphone made communication pretty good. The controllers at West One were mustard. Get a bunch of details for three or more pick-ups, and they will give them in the order that you would arrive at the addresses in compliance with the one way systems in the locality. Brilliant! Though now and again you’d get some rough, like collecting a bunch of press handouts to be delivered to newspaper offices in EC4 and 3. 103 was my record, all in those two postal areas. Took two hours or more, though some were in the same building. For taking details down I used a six inch by four inch piece of Perspex as a notepad, painted with matt black on which a pencil worked dry or soaking wet. Little tricks were picked up along the way by seeing what others were using or wearing, and like Chris Scott says – Laurence Corner was a goldmine for stuff.

    After West One was taken over by City Sprint (‘scuse me while I spit) Tea breaks at roadside cabins became a regular feature. This would be some time around the late eighties or early nineties, though Sod’s law would determine that just as you got your lip searing hot drink and Dog roll oozing ketchup – you get a call.

    But London was changing. We’d had the railways Red Star parcel service take some of the distance work; bicycle messengers began appearing (usually across pavements and up one way streets the wrong way); and something called ‘email’ – the digital revolution was upon us. Add to which during the nineties, there appeared on the streets, not only begging Arabs with babes in arms and traffic light windscreen washers (two legged kind), there was an influx of Eastern European gentlemen on hired CG125’s who could speak barely Pidgin English taking up valuable air time having names of streets spelt out to them letter by letter and who accepted cuts in rates paid which affected us all. Add to that; bus only lanes; bicycle lanes; pavement build outs; one way systems changed that sent you back on yourself; short cuts truncated with pavement or concrete blocks; traffic signals where there were none before; signals that worked four ways instead of two keeping you stationary for twice as long; and some idiot paved the North of Trafalgar Square along with a lot of other places; and Covent Garden no longer accessible from the Strand.

    During the nineties up until 2001, traffic volumes entering and leaving the central area had changed only negligibly. A peak had been reached where folk would no longer enter the kitchen due to the heat. And yet, congestion worsened. It was designed to be so with the new Hungerford footbridge building plant reducing the embankment road width and closing Northumberland Avenue; new pavement works in that same Avenue and elsewhere; the aforementioned T Square being hacked to death. Short cuts denied forcing traffic along the main arteries which were further constricted through lane segregation for buses, and longer pedestrian phases at traffic signal junctions; and places like Seven Dials looking like some pedestrian paradise - all over the place! And a 20mph limit in Lower Thames Street - really? By 2003, I had had enough and started working two weeks on and one week off. By April 2004, I threw in the towel. That was the end of my despatching days. The Guzzi had seen me good for the last seven years and it was sold for £600 with 308,000 miles on the clock

    Over a 28 year period I had seen many changes, met many seriously great people amongst the riders (and a few total nutters), done some mad things, and got high on the adrenalin rush of getting everything on and delivered where it should be on time (and sometimes not - in fact, if I have nightmares even today, it's about despatching and getting lost!). It was a period of insanity – glorious insanity that we will not see again. I got knocked of a few times but only walking wounded. I delivered a package from a bloke downed in the central Armco on the elevated M4 over Chiswick for no payment – the grateful thanks was enough – he’d smashed his shoulder up (some bird was administering his troubled brow, so he was OK), and generally filled a period of my life with stories - mostly forgotten, boredom and excitement, and with never really knowing where you would end up next – I loved it! And the rides! So many, but apart from that frozen January, two stick in my mind:

    1: I’d been given details of a pick up in Austin Friars for building 521 at Heathrow with a deadline for export of 4:30pm. As it was 3:25pm – bags of time. Except there was a hitch with the paperwork and I couldn’t be given it until it was sorted. The clock ticked on. 3:45. “Do you think you can still make the deadline?” - “If I can have it within the next ten minutes, yes”. 3:55. “We’re so sorry, will it still get there on time?” “Well, it’s touch and go now”. At 4:04 I am handed the documents. The next 28 minutes were insane. At one point I saw blue lights behind in the Cromwell Road, but they didn’t catch up. Talgarth came and went, over Chiswick, the A4 then A30, and 521 in sight. Turned in, parked up and ran. Signature obtained at 4.32pm.

    2: Worked around town for most of the day, short stuff, then something down to South West London. On the way back MT around Clapham and about 4pm, I got a call asking if I wanted to work late. “What do you call late?” “Got a Coventry and a Birmingham”. I reckoned I could be back home by 9, or 9:30, so took it. Crossing the river I get called again: “You also want – Goldman Sachs for Chester, and Lazard Bros. For Deeside” – you bastard thinks I - “Rog” says I. I’m all on board by 5pm and heading North on a wild night with scudding clouds that brought heavy rain after the Coventry drop. The Brum drop is in the city centre. Security take the package and I call in with sigs. Onward, and the skies clear to reveal a setting Sun on my left. I grind on along the M6 for what seems like eternity. The Chester drop was found in darkness, and with the help of directions from an all night petrol station. It’s 11:30pm. The Deeside drop is a private house, with a name only, along an unlit road, in the countryside. Neston Road, Neston. I’d been instructed not to ring the bell - but first find the house! I’d been up and down a couple of times, and eventually resorted to getting off the bike to seek house names. I found it – about twelve inches off the ground, covered in mildew, and half hidden in shrubbery. MT – 00:15.

    In the darkness, I could see street lights and a few lights of houses on the far side of the River Dee, small diamonds against black velvet. Between me and those diamonds was the expanse of the Dee – inky black reflecting no light at all, spooky. I pulled into Chester services for some shut-eye, a hot drink, and soup. A company of police having spilled out of their crew transit were doing the same, stab vested and bleary. I kept apart. Then the long haul back South, taking in almost every service station to fight the double vision of fatigue, shaking my head out of slumber and taking deep breaths. Eventually the sky begins to take on a faint luminescence – the horizon becomes defined. Around Wolverhampton, there appeared over on my left the light of a thousand soccer stadiums, invisible beyond the horizon. The sky is cloudless, but as the Sun rises the entire world is bathed in a golden light until enough height is reached and the warmth returns. I think I got home by 6am, and later learned that that day had grossed me £660. Back on circuit about 11am, I had a crap day - £40! But the experience of watching the Sun go down on my left, then watching it rise on my left – unforgettable.

    So many stories untold, so many forgotten until someone comes along and jogs the memory banks. Such is the case with comments made on this forum – and seven year old ones at that. Life can become dulled and somewhat meaningless without a camaraderie of sorts. Despatching supplied quite a lot. Does anyone remember the website cum blog by the name of Angry Courier? It was very much a place for blowing off steam, but one contributor alone made it shine – 'The Vicar'. Tales of the unbelievable – but how we wished they were 100% true! I chipped in with quite an amount of comment at the time, and I’m sure the web pages got taken down by some do-gooder with an anus for a brain.

    And the meetings after riding: the One Tun, the Pakenham Arms and I dare say many more. But I’m out of it now, it’s history, as will I be at some time. But looking back is sometimes all that is left, because looking forward gets harder the older you get. The key is: if you have an idea, or a desire – do it. Some things need a bit of planning, but get on and do it, ‘cause three score and ten will be over before you know it . . . Don’t leave it until arthritis stops you in your tracks.

    This has been a short summary of what happened to many of us – me included. There is so much more to tell. At times like this, I wish I’d kept a diary – and carried a camera. There is so much more to tell about riding gear, bikes, people, buildings and places. It’s like skimming the surface of a deep lake. Some dabble around the edge, some drown part way across, and some reach the other side and wonder how that happened.

    So if there’s a Duncan, a Grant, a Mike, a Ken still out there – give us a shout. We may have nothing in common outside bikes, but what a common denominator that is!
  20. MaNDan

    MaNDan 'Old Japanese cycles & '26Chevy truck

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2013
    Oddometer:
    277
    Location:
    Wild midWest -USA
    Reyn:
    Wow, quite a first post. Very interesting!