I am too young to remember the ad campaign when it came out, but I have seen the old copies.
The quirky drawing of people riding a Honda C50.
This was back when Honda where trying to reform the bike culture from what was perceived as thugs and outcasts, to everyday people.
The must have done something right since the Honda Cub went on to become one of the biggest selling vehicles of all time.
Why do I bring this up? I will get there.
Well, I started working on my grandfather’s old BSA and quickly discovered that my modern metric spanners just do not fit properly, even the older Imperial tools I had just weren't cutting it. With nuts and bolts that have sat outside for over 35 years I knew I was going to need a tight fit or else I would end up needing to cut and drill every bolt out of the bike, and to be quite frank it deserves better than that.
I did what every person my age would do and turned to the internet. I searched for what size the bolts where and all i was getting back where what seemed to me to be Imperial sizes.
It took the experience of someone who had been there to point me in the right direction, my dad.
He pointed out the w after the fractions and it was Whitworth sizes. My memories of needing the specific spanner for the tractor came back to me and we got searching for any Whitworth spanners we had, only to discover that we only had about 3 and they were all huge for working on a 1950's Ferguson tractor.
That was not going to work for us, everything on the bike was tiny compared to what we had and we couldn’t start with adjustable spanners, I would need some proper Whitworth tools.
Back to the internet to try and redeem modern technology, It had let me down a bit but it’s the global shopping centre, it will be able to get me tools if anyone can.
I found what I needed and was about to buy, but before I did, I checked my email. I had one from Freegle.
It’s a community of people trying to help reduce waste and landfill by offering old items that they want to get rid of for free. If someone wants it, they reply and come and collect it. You can also request items on it and if someone has one that they don't use, they can offer it to you . The only rule is no buying or selling.
I thought why not and created my paragraph of text, explaining what I wanted and why. I thought it would be better to use the tools from the era that are otherwise going to rust away and be forgotten.
The internet could get me what I wanted, Old school would give me the information I needed, but together they did both and more.
I got a few responses, a few saying they have what I need but still use them themselves, but I could borrow them, others with support and information about the bike. 1 person had some old tools in their shed and offered them to me and said they had some imperial stuff too if I needed it, another person offered to let me come round to his workshop to pick what I needed. While I was there, we got chatting, he was a former biker who had stopped because bikes where just too heavy for him now, but we talked about old models, cars, engineering, scrap, weather. I could have been there all day and still have not run out of conversation.
We talked about the old Honda Cubs he had a C50 back in the day which is why I named this post after the old poster.
You truly do meet the nicest people on a bike, not just a Honda.
I was going to take my bike that morning but something stopped me and I decided to take the car, I'm glad I did because as we were chatting about the bike, I told him it was a BSA Bantam D1. He looked up at me and said I have a D1 engine in the shed.
Between a few extremely generous people I now had the tools to work with, some spare parts and lots of information and offers of help.
This community is one that makes my heart sing with pride to be a part of.
Thank you all for being who you are.