Friday, March 20, 2009


Photo Credit: Anita Martinz from Klagenfurt, Austria (via Wikipedia)

It won't be long until we see tulips, daffodils, and other Spring bulbs bursting from the ground, what with today being the first day of Spring. The crocuses have already come and gone in some places...I've seen them bloom in the snow oftentimes in other parts of the world where I've lived... but for most of us the glories of Spring are just now arriving.

My all-time favorite memory of Spring flowers involves rounding a bend and swooping down a stone-walled lane into a tiny Cotswold village not far from where I lived in High Wycombe, England back in the early '80s. It was on a chilly Sunday morning in early Spring and I was out for a morning ride, alone. This village couldn't have been home to more than 500 souls, but there were literally
thousands of bright yellow daffodils in full-bloom lining both sides of the lane leading into and out of the village. It was a breath-taking sight, and that is understatement of the highest order.

I immediately headed back for home after trundling through the village, parked the bike outside the house upon arrival (leaving it running), and burst into my living room, surprising the living HELL out of The Second Mrs. Pennington. I simply said "Grab your helmet, put on your jacket, and come with me! Now!", my outburst being more of an order than a request. She complied... albeit in a somewhat perplexed manner... asking where we were going. I only replied "You'll see."

And see we did. I retraced the exact same route I had taken about a half hour earlier, except this time I approached the village just a little slower while reaching back and tapping TSMP's leg just as we entered the village. I could hear her "Ooooh!" exclamation over the noise of the bike's motor and rush of wind as I slowed to a veritible crawl. We pulled over to the side of the lane, parked the bike and spent about a half-hour walking the lane, drinking in the beauty of the flowers and the tiny thatched-roof houses in the village. And there wasn't a soul to be be seen anywhere, strangely enough. Just the two of us, amid a riot of daffodils on a quiet Sunday Spring morning in Britain.

It doesn't get much better than that, Gentle Reader.


Today's Pic: Our mount on that glorious Spring morning... my old RD350LC, on the day I sold her... the week before I left Ol' Blighty. Notice my pallor. That comes from living in a country where I might have seen full sun on perhaps seven occasions over the course of three years. OK... I exaggerate... but not by a whole helluva lot.


  1. Good ol' two stroke action. Back in '78/'79 I really wanted an RD.
    I had a KH250 and a KH400 (I think it was a 400, many years gone by)

    I loved the instant power that two cycle engines gave over waiting for the four cycle power band at 6K rpm.

    Sorry to hear about the aching. Hang in there!

  2. I can almost smell the fragrance of a thousand daffodils!

  3. Your memories of your travels with TSMP always sound magical. And sometimes I just want to kick her.

  4. I meant that in the best possible way.

  5. The bike looks as though it was highly modified. Or was it a Euro version? Was that the same bike you rode on the Isle of Man?

  6. The vision of daffodils is beautiful!

    I bought daffodils and iris today for my window sill-mason jar. Multiplying the volume and imagining what I think the English countryside lane might look like - perfect end to a Friday!

  7. Good story for the start of spring, Buck. It seems that it's the simple things in life that bring back the best memories.

    Wow, I didn't know there was ever such a thing as a 350 street bike...well maybe vaguely I did.

  8. DC sez: I had a KH250 and a KH400 (I think it was a 400, many years gone by)

    I loved the instant power that two cycle engines gave over waiting for the four cycle power band at 6K rpm.

    THOSE were some classic bikes! I'll never forget the first time I saw (and heard!) one of those monster KH500s back around '69 or so. The first of 'em were evil handling little machines but they went like JET-STINK. I would have rather had one of those than that other "rage" bike of the time... the first CB750.

    And... as noted elsewhere, I had a VERY serious "thang" for RDs!!

    Moogie: I resisted the temptation to get too graphic or flowery (heh) in my description of the scene, but the air was brilliantly clean and fresh that day... SO very Spring-like. And given this was a little country village pretty far from anything it was also rather quiet.

    Lou: Thanks, as always. I got your intent about the TSMP comment; no further explanation was required! :D

    Dan: The bike was lightly modified... the only changes being the addition of the fairing, a set of clubman bars, K&N air filters and the requisite jetting changes to accommodate the increased air flow. Other than that, she was box-stock. And yeah, it was a Euro model, not legal in the US. Which is why I kept her pretty much stock... coz I knew I was gonna have to sell it rather than take it home (like I wanted to).

    Ann sez: ...imagining what I think the English countryside lane might look like...

    Full disclosure: I went over 30 pages deep in multiple google image searches looking for an approximation of the village/daffodil combination... a fruitless activity I spent about two hours on, and that's NO exaggeration. Some things I saw were close but were plainly copyrighted images and I chose not to use any of those. More's the pity, coz a pic really IS worth a thousand words in this case.

    Buckskins sez: Wow, I didn't know there was ever such a thing as a 350 street bike...well maybe vaguely I did.

    Thanks for the kind words! And yeah... you see a LOT of 250/350 street bikes in Europe and Asia... and lotsa 125s, too! Licensing laws drive a lot of their popularity, as well as expense.

    I was always a fan of high-performance two strokes, most of which came in the 350/400cc size before they disappeared altogether. There were larger two-strokes, but they were sorta rare and had reliability issues, as well.

    Skywind: Is it Spring where you live in China? Do you have lots of flowers?

  9. Dan: Forgot to answer, but yeah... this is the bike I rode at the IoM. You can't read it in the pic, but the red/yellow decal on the radiator housing is a Brit "Motorcycle News" stickie from IoM '82. Something on the order of "I was there..." if memory serves.

  10. I saw the bars and fairing, thought that the pipes looked modified or after market. Racy looking pipe for factory stock. IoM must have been fun. I recall you writing about that, good story about a classic ride.

  11. I always knew spring was coming to Berlin by the fragrance in the air. Even though it had to duke it out with the exhaust from hundreds of thousands of vehicles, you could still smell it.

    That, and the crocuses popping up in the medians of the streets! Always the first to show, sometimes even through snow.

    I miss spring.

  12. I miss spring.

    There IS a lot to be said about a four-season climate, but these days I'm not willing to pay the price a REAL winter demands for Spring. But, that said... I hear ya, Christina.

  13. sigh...field of daffodils sounds soooo lovely!!


Just be polite... that's all I ask.