no one said it
would be easy

a youthful folly across the americas on old bikes

Des Molloy

No One Said It Would Be Easy

A youthful folly across The Americas on old bikes

This is not a travel book … not a biography, nor a book of social or historical commentary. This is a reflective record of a boisterous adventure of substance. Deep down, most young people want to jump on a motorbike and ride off into the sunset, to places unknown. Sadly, for most, these aspirations remain only dreams. Our protagonists lived out that dream. We all have pasts, just some are bigger and more excessive than others.

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Journey

January 6, 2020

Show Time!

Every year, at the beginning of January, the Nelson Classic Motorcycle Club in New Zealand puts on a two-day show in the Stoke Community Hall. This is always an interesting presentation of club-members’ bikes. I’ve been to a few over the years and never has the content been the same as the previous year. The organising committee makes an effort to maintain that variety. With the display being limited to about 75 bikes, it also it means there is plenty of room to view the bikes from all angles. This year’s show was an ideal opportunity for me to offer my book (No One Said It Would Be Easy) for sale. For what would seem to be an inconsequential event, it is always interesting to note the exotic and mundane mixed up and presented equally, with little to distinguish between them. This year was no exception and four bikes from the ‘six-figure’ range mixed with the ‘grey porridge’. It could be seen as an ‘equal opportunity’ show. For me it is a great opportunity to meet old friends and make new ones … and one of those new ones, I have to tell you about … because of the serendipitous nature of our relationship. Murray McLean (The owner of the Matchless Golden Eagle) and I both live two hours away in Golden Bay, so sleep in the hall on the Friday and Saturday nights ... providing security! On each night we were gifted a local member to share our beers and lies with. Friday night’s was Paul, an ex-army Brit. Now my book of course features Penelope, our reasonably rare Panther M120 from the obscure manufacturer Phelon and Moore, of the small Yorkshire town of Cleckheaton. So, when we’d locked-up, I stood admiring the sole Panther in the show. Paul was nearby and says “I grew up in Cleckheaton … we used to break into the old factory … dropping in through a skylight!” He went on to describe how all sorts of things still littered the place and on the shelves were even complete engines (his description put them as the Villiers twin-cylinder engines of the last 350s). Paul and his teenage oppos didn’t have the nouse to nick anything of value, or probably the ability to get it out through the skylight. They did however make off with a quantity of badges. Years later, at a ‘Festival of 1,000 bikes’ Paul saw a Panther Owners’ stand and handed over badges to them. Probably saved them from the wrecking ball.