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Cleobury Mortimer Vespa memories

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: June 04, 2014

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I WAS very interested to read Phil Lawton's letter in The Bugle (May 15 edition) about his memories as a young Rocker in the 1960s.

I would like to add my memories of a young scooter rider in the 1960s. I was never a Mod if I may add. Like Phil, I passed my motorcycle test when I was 16 and I still ride scooters today aged 65.

I lived at Claverley at the time and quite often went to Bridgnorth and no doubt Phil and his mates "blew me off the road" on many occasions.

My first bike was a Vespa 90 (top speed of 43 mph) and in 1966 I joined the Wolverhampton Vespa club which even then was on its last legs having shrunk to seven or eight members.

No matter we used to meet at the Royal Oak on the Wolverhampton-Bridgnorth road.

We set off to Wales to Bala, Vyrnwy, Elan Valley, Rhayader, wherever the fancy took us and then returned via Leominster, Shrewsbury, Ludlow and on one occasion Worcester, stopping at various pubs on the way.

I remember one Sunday we covered 300 miles and when I got home I was that stiff I could hardly walk.

I quickly learned to carry a complete set of spare inner cables and a jar of Vaseline because you never knew when a cable, throttle, clutch, gear change, front and back brakes were going to snap.

The Vaseline was used to rub on to the inner cables to hopefully thread them through the outer cables.

One advantage scooters had over motorcycles was that some models carried spare wheels so you could change a wheel by the roadside.

I can remember doing so around 2 o'clock on a Sunday morning just outside Bridgnorth where luckily there was a street light.

In those days you could replace most things at home, although my mother wasn't too pleased when I had a carburettor in pieces on the kitchen table.

I now possess a 2007 scooter which is extremely reliable and fast.

But you cannot replace or repair anything and you have to take it to a garage to even change a light bulb. I'm sure Phil with his motorbikes and "old rockers/mods/scooter riders" everywhere would agree in those days you had to be resourceful, adaptable and inventive, something which in my mind at least is to be regretted in the modern world.

Philip Westwood,

6, Cinema Court,

Cleobury Mortimer,

DY14 8PZ.

philipwestwood2@gmail.com

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