The Relic


By Dawn King

It stood in the corner of the shop, forgotten and lost. Around it were the more, glamorous, sportier, quicker models that people wanted. Nobody wanted an old has been that could barely stand up and dated from years gone by. Nowadays people wanted speed, they wanted colour and they wanted power. It just couldn’t compete with them. It was just too old. It had already resigned to the fact that it would see out its last years there in that motorbike shop. Nobody wanted an old BSA motorbike anymore. They wanted the Kawasaki’s, the Ducati’s, the Honda’s and the Yamaha’s of today. It was a relic from the sixties. A slow, unattractive, naked bike that just couldn’t keep up with the needs of young bikers today.

It was in its prime in the sixties. Fresh from the workshop, with its blue petrol tank and chromed up pipework, it would be any biker’s pride and joy. Most riders owned a BSA motorbike then. Gangs would patrol the streets and the back alleys, dressed to the nines in their black leather and denim, scaring old ladies and children with their daredevil riding.

The bike was created in 1967, christened a BSA 250 and it looked a dream as it sat on the dealer’s forecourt. Its chrome piping glistening in the sun and the black, leather seat was hot to the touch. It sat facing the road and it watched in wonder at all the other bikes that passed it during the day. Its cousin, the BAS Goldstar, had become very popular but not everyone could afford one and the 250 came a very close second, soon overtaking the Goldstar in the popularity stakes.

The bike spent its days watching and observing the world and its nights locked up in the showroom with all the other bikes. But it wasn’t happy. It needed something else. It needed to be free and liberated. It needed a rider. Someone to share life with. Someone who would love it and take care of it. It wanted to be ridden, it needed to be ridden. To feel the wind sweep through its exposed engine and the rain fall on its hot petrol tank. It was getting stiff in the showroom. It was only moved twice a day and it feared that the engine would seize up. It dreamt of wide open spaces and beautiful countryside. And of fresh air and long journeys. Life was becoming dull and boring. It wanted excitement. The thrill of racing at top speeds along the open roads…Maybe it was all just a fantasy. Maybe none of it was real. But what if dreams really do come true?

The bike was bought by a young lad of nineteen. All the bike’s prayers and wishes had been answered. This person was going to show it what life was really like. The sensation of speed and the feel of power. It could travel three times around the world with all the pent up energy it had, stored up in its engine. It imagined all the journeys they would take together, all the scrapes they would get into and all the fun they would have together. Life would be great now it had an owner.

It wasn’t to be disappointed either. The boy took the bike everywhere. A special bond grew between man and machine and they soon became inseparable. They fitted together with such simplicity, they were meant to be together. Each was comfortable with the other and they knew how to handle each other. The bike settled into normal life with ease. It had its own parking space in the front garden and was kept dry at night by a protective sheet. It was oiled and watered every week and washed every other day. Its petrol tank was always kept spotless and its piping was always gleaming.

There was nothing more the bike could wish for. They spent their nights touring the surrounding countryside and it was just as beautiful as it had hoped. The stars shone brightly in the sky as the slight murmuring of the engine drove the two of them around the twisting, narrow roads. It let out a roar as it sped passed a slower moving vehicle and round the nearing bend. It felt good to escape everyday life for a while. The thrill of the open road was much more stimulating.

However, the dream couldn’t last. It was a clear night with lots of stars dotted around the sky. But the roads were dark. The boy didn’t see the car coming around the bend until it was too late, and the bike could do nothing but hit it. There was a screech of brakes, the boy was hurled from the saddle and the bike slid across the rough tarmac. The boy landed in a ditch just a few feet away from where the tangled mess that was once a beautiful bike had come to a halt. The boy died instantly, and the bike was seriously damaged.

It took months for the bike to be in working order again. Whenever something was fixed it would always break down again. It wouldn’t start, a chain would fall off or a tyre would puncture. But it didn’t want to get better. It had lost the only person who was prepared to show it what life could really be like. It now felt alone. It hadn’t felt this alone since the days on the forecourt. Who would ride it now? Who would take it for long journeys in the country? Who would make it feel like it was the best bike in the world? It had no one. No one was going to take care of it now and keep it spotlessly clean and polished and looking its best. The boy had done that. It had loved the boy and now it felt empty. No matter how much the pipework was polished, or the petrol tank was scrubbed it just didn’t seem like the same bike that had come off the production line only two years ago. It had lost its sparkle, its enigma and it looked grey and matted all the time.

The bike eventually found a new home. After spending some time travelling from workshop to showroom to owner, it finally found someone it liked. But the relationship wasn’t the same and the bike spent weeks at a time sitting in the front yard not moving and not being cleaned. It was taken out for fewer and fewer journeys as time wore on until one day it was taken out no more. The owner suffered a broken leg and was unable to ride anymore.

When the owner eventually died, the bike was taken to a nearby auction. It was in a terrible state. Headlamps were smashed, the once immaculate chrome pipework had rusted, and the leather seat was torn. It looked older than it was and didn’t attract much attention at the auction. A bike dealer, keen on restoring old bikes, took an interest and offered to take it off the auctioneer’s hands.

The bike was rebuilt to its former glory and although it gleamed in the bright sunshine, there was still something missing. It had no one to love it. The restorer didn’t care. All he was interested in was the profit it would make now it was as good as new. The bike needed love and care. It was at its best when it received that. The engine would always purr like a kitten and nothing would go wrong. But the bike knew it would never be like that again. It had lived its dreams and fulfilled its fantasies.

Now, it was an antique. And a priceless one at that. New, during the sixties, it would have been worth four hundred pounds. What would it be worth now? A useless piece of junk that would clutter this good man’s showroom for years. He had given it a home when no one else would. When no one else cared.

It wondered why it hadn’t been completely destroyed all those years ago in the crash. Maybe then it would have escaped all these years of heartache. Of uselessness and solitude. It wanted to go back to 1967 when the boy had first bought it. Those were the happiest years of its life. Two short years that had changed the course of its being forever. It was happy then…now it was alone. Forever as one. Two didn’t exist anymore. One had died so long ago, and one hadn’t made life go on since. Stuck for eternity in a time warp that would haunt it’s very being for years to come. Nobody wanted it, nobody needed it and certainly nobody loved it. No one would ever love it now. Not with the bikes of the twenty first century around.

It spent two years in the showroom. Surrounded by bikes it neither knew nor understood. It felt like a stranger. A foreigner in its own surroundings. For two years it watched bikes come and go as riders replaced their old bikes. But nobody was interested in a 1967 BSA motorbike. Nobody wanted a bike that couldn’t do more than seventy miles an hour. Nobody wanted the old-fashioned skeletal bike that could tell a thousand stories. It was sad but true. The bike had to spend its last years alone. In the showroom. With just todays youngsters for company.

That was until 1997. Thirty years after it was produced. A customer had wanted a new bike to keep up with the trends of today’s biker. He wanted a Ducati or a Kawasaki. He never intended to buy an antique. But he was smitten as soon as he saw it. It reminded him of his youth. 1967 was the year he had bought his first BSA and he hadn’t seen one since the day he sold his Goldstar. He had to have it. He would have paid a fortune for it. But the dealer accepted a smaller sum and bid farewell to the bike.

At last, the bike was going to feel at home wherever it was taken. They had come from the same era and had been through the same things. For both the sixties were a nostalgic period and together they brought back all those happy memories. The bike remembered the boy and the rider remembered his youth. Never before since 1967 had the bike felt at home. At its final resting place. The little rust that had formed while it was in the showroom was quickly destroyed and soon the bike looked like it had come straight from the factory. Gleaming and shimmering in the sun light. And its youth was finally laid to rest when it was ridden around the same bend as that fateful night. It was hard going back but it had to be done. Ghosts from the past had to be buried and a future had to be sought. A happy future for bike and owner. And they fitted together so well. The bike was to its new owner what salt is to pepper. Two of a kind. A relationship in a million.

And both of them grabbed at it with both hands. They would be together until the end of time. No matter what!!


Disclaimer: This piece of writing is solely the property of Dawn King. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this, unless you have the strict permission of the author. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.