Mike’s story

Hi.  I’m Michael O’Sullivan, AKA Mick, Mike, Mike O’S, Mick O’S or whatever, and I’ve been a member of the Honda Owners club for about fifteen years now.

My two-wheeled career began in 1966 on a Vespa GS Scooter. OK, not a real bikey bike, but it was a start and I thoroughly enjoyed the freedom it opened up for me!

I took my test on it the following year.  In those days the test entailed riding around the block in both directions while the examiner hid behind various cars to observe my immense riding prowess, ultimately leaping from behind a parked car in order for me to carry out an emergency stop without hitting him.  Confession time: in reality all I had to do was close the throttle and my old scoot slowed quick enough for me to not run him over!

At the time I was an apprentice Mechanic and I had the job each morning, after my Charge Hand had unlocked the workshop, to ride his Gold Flash round to the back and park it for him.  That 650 Beezer was a big old beast for a wimpy 19 year old like me.  Sadly for him, less so for me, he suffered a prolapsed disk and had to pack up biking so – me being the expert at the 50-yard dash on it – he offered the bike to me.

Not Mike’s actual Gold Flash – but just in case anyone here is too young to remember the A10!

That old bike served me well.  I toured Cornwall on it a couple of times, and the Lake District.  In fact it was pretty easy to see exactly where I’d been – you just had to follow the trail of oil around the country….

But other interests came along; they led to a girlfriend who became my wife, which in turn led to a car, a mortgage on a house …. and no more motorbike.

Fast-forward about 35 years and the bug bit again.  Arthritis was starting to make itself evident and I thought ‘If I don’t do it soon it’ll be too damn late!” and I contacted a riding school in Harpenden to book a refresher course. I spent a morning riding around on first a Honda 125 and then a CB500 until the instructor said “You’re OK, sod off and get yourself a bike”.  So I went out and – to Jacky’s dismay – bought a Yamaha Fazer FZ6.

“What to do now?” I wondered.   I hadn’t seen my family in Ireland for a couple of years and I felt the need to get some miles under my saddle so off I went for a week to Glengarriff in County Cork.  It was fantastic!

But I really didn’t like the way the Yamaha’s bars buzzed with vibration so I went looking for a proper bike and finished up with what was to become my beloved 2002 Honda VFR800 V-Tec.

 Oh, what a revelation that wonderful V4 motor was!  She only had around 16k on the clock (valve clearance time, but didn’t bother with that).   Over the next eight years I put around 55,000 miles on her while exploring the UK, Ireland (again!), France, Belgium, Germany, and a couple of tours of Spain.  And she was still looking pretty minty when I eventually sold her.

Her place was taken by another V4, an ST1300 Pan European, and to my mind that was quite possibly the best bike (next to the VFR) that Honda ever built. I bought this from a good old HOC Club mate who’d retired to the Isle of Wight.  David Rivett had done just about everything involved in biking during his years, a real Gentleman and great loss to the biking community.

So, off to Ireland again, just to try out the Pan, and she was absolutely wonderful.  I carried on travelling on her, around Cornwall, Wales 3 times, Lake District, Scotland 3 times, France twice, Spain twice, Germany and Luxembourg.

Alas, as much as I hated to like to admit it, arthritis was taking its toll, and wasn’t as strong as I used to be, and the Pan was getting a little too heavy for me.  With an even heavier heart, I sold her on to a very good home in Sheringham.

I now ride yet another Honda, this time an NT1100.  She’s no Pan European, but quite a bit lighter, and I do like the engine and DCT Gearbox. 

The picture above was taken at the Gorge du Tarn in France during a great little tour last September, but I’m still not gelling with the NT as much as I did with the VFR and the Pan.

I kind of feel that I’d have to pay an awful more to get that kind of quality again these days but, having said that, I do rather fancy an Africa Twin….

Anyway, that’s me.  Not as many bikes as most of you, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it so far.  I realise that I probably don’t have as much experience as many of you guys have, but we’d love to have you come along for a ride, or turn up to one of our gatherings and introduce yourself. You never know, you may not be too bored, and it would be great to hear your stories. 

I look forward to meeting you soon!  

All the best…. Mike