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  • September 01, 2023 3 min read

    I guess it all started in 1958 when I became the very proud owner of a hand painted sky blue BSA Bantam 125. It was so underpowered that I kept snapping the throttle cable trying to get up hills. Since then I have had a variety of bikes including a Honda CX500, a Honda 750F, a Susuki Bandit 1200, A BMW K1200, a 1969 Triumph Bonneville, A BSA Lightning, a BMW RT, a Yamaha FJR, a Honda VFR and finally the best of all a BMW S1000XR.

    Over all these years I only had one “off” and that was in Purley in 1960 at the cross roads where a lorry pulled out of the centre lane and forced me off the road into a lamp post, classic SMDSY. It bent the frame and I waited over six months for it to be repaired. Between 1960 and 2000 I rode some of the above bikes either to work or trips with Eddie. I did have a gap of about 15 years not riding much at all.

    In 2004 I joined Kent Advanced and my dedicated observer was Ian Birchall who got me though my test in just 5 OR’s. I didn’t find KAMG particularly friendly so someone suggested I joined LAM, which I did. Wow, what a different bunch I was immediately welcomed into the club and I recall very clearly an early ride to do a recce for an SSI. My two companions were none other than Richard Strommer and Mark Vidler, who some of you might recall. I think after 50 odd miles I called it a day and went home.

    In 2014 I took my ROSPA test with Jon Taylor and managed to get a Gold.

     I joined SERV for a couple of years which was delivering emergency blood to various hospitals through the night. They were quite short of riders then and my final run was after five calls through the night ending up in bed at 7.30 in the morning. I didn’t sign up for that!

    Over the years I have enjoyed many trips abroad, especially with my Bruv-in-Law Eddie Wright. I was also lucky enough to be included in a group with Ashley Cole, Rod Leeming, Brian Bennet, Andrew Mearon, Norton Hawes and Frank Mizler among others. I have been to the Nurburgring, France, Belgium, Black Forest, Pyrenees, Picos and of course Wales.

    I joined the committee for a couple of years and became Membership Secretary which was thoroughly enjoyable but quite a lot more work that I envisaged. Trevor and Mike now run it between them.

    Trevor has a group of around 30 members and invites a number of riders to join him on rides to different pubs and cafes. These rides are not for the faint hearted but they do make you concentrate.

    About a year ago I began to suffer with back problems which was a bit trying and then I began to get quite tired. I went out with a group a few months ago and came back quite exhausted. I found that it’s the high concentration level when riding at interesting speeds that took its toll. I got home and made an easy decision for me, “That’s it” I said to my wife, “I’m done”. So at 82 years young, I hung up my helmet for good.

    There was quite a lot of pressure from long standing friends to “Get a smaller bike” etc. but Trevor came round, bought the XR from me and that was that. I advertised all my gear through MailChimp and a few days later it had all been sold, money raised to Chairs Charity, which this year was the Air Ambulance.

    There’s no doubt I shall miss biking and all the friends I have made over the years but honestly guys, if I had come off now there’s no doubt it would have hurt a bit more!

    Jeff Staples

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