Tuesday, February 08, 2011
As enthusiasts groan about rising prices for the best motorcycles, complaining 'they'll never be ridden again', it's worthwhile to reflect that there is 'using your machine', and USING your machine. The degree of involvement each rider has with his/her cherished old motorcycle varies enormously, from pottering to the annual Vintage rally, to weekend enthusiasts, to the rare daily commuter (they still exist!), to the lofty Olympian heights of the ultra-user, such as Stuart Jenkinson.
Stuart bought his 998cc Vincent Black Prince in 1955, from St. Andrew's motors in Newcastle. It was his daily rider - a very special one of course - and he both commuted on the machine and rode it on long touring holidays. He developed the Black Prince over time, as it became a totally reliable tourer with 100mph cruising speed, and gained the fond nickname 'Vinnylonglegs'.
In 1980 he began a moto-tour company, using the Vincent as his tour-guide machine, leading his charges through Germany, Belgium, Austria, Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Albania, Macedonia, Czechoslovakia, Montenegro, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Hungary and Greece. He has led more than 40 tours of Greece, and at over 3,000 miles each, that's the life expectancy of the average car. Now Jenkinson has logged an incredible 721,703 miles on his Vincent, and reached an age when he needs to pass his cherished bike along for the next enthusiast. It will be sold at the Bonhams Stafford sale on April 24th, 2011.
From the Bonhams press release:
Stuart comments, “As any long term owner of a bike or car will understand, selling Vinnylonglegs after 56 years and almost three quarters of a million miles is going to be a serious wrench. I’ll just have to make do now with the memories of all our wonderful trips.”
Modifications have included a re-designed front fairing, incorporating twin headlamps, and replacing the original upper frame with a stiffer box section Series C frame, while a four gallon Series C fuel tank now caters for the longer distance tour. Electrical equipment has been modified to provide greater safety and reliability, while disc brakes and Koni dampers provide both safety and riding comfort. The pannier frames carry two five gallon boxes while the shelf above normally carries a large army kit bag with full camping gear.