Once Watson's Motorcycles of Dewsbury until 1995, now Adam's Carpets, on the corner of Bradford Road and Upper Street South
It must have once been a corner shop that had served the needs of millworkers in the rows of nearby terraced houses. Victorian and stone-built, on Bradford Road in Dewsbury, just on the corner with Upper Street, my Dad led the way in to Alan Watson’s motorcycle shop. A photograph of Watson, racing in black leathers and ‘pudding basin’ helmet, was proudly displayed on the counter. The man himself emerged from his workshop to stand behind the counter, accompanied by a very obviously dutiful and, seemingly to me, very capable daughter and a verytalkative and perhaps not quite so capable son.
I have no recollection of how the conversation started, presumably I didn’t say much at all; but the next thing that I recall was Watson advising that he had just the right motorcycle for me, a barely used, low mileage Honda CB 175 twin cylinder, with bright red petrol tank. The CB was all-important. This was the sporting version, to be distinguished from the more mundane CD 175 commuter. My Dad agreed the price and the motorcycle was mine. I had never sat on a motorcycle before, hardly ever looked at one before, let alone ridden one before. But my next recollection is of walking across Bradford Road to a back street where Watson stood sagely by as I sat astride this new gleaming steed. An electric start, yes even back in 1973, and with this Watson got the engine idling. He pointed out the throttle, brakes, clutch and gear changer and looked on as I slowly released the clutch lever to pull away in first gear only for a hundred yards or so. Apart from resting my right foot on the engine casing instead of the foot peg, he thought that I had done sufficiently well; and that was my only lesson in motorcycling.
The amazing thing is that I do not recall having any trouble riding that beautiful motorcycle, despite a distinct lack of tuition. Whilst I must have been oblivious to danger, that motorcycle opened a brand new world to me, as I covered miles and miles just for the sheer joy of riding it.
© John Dunn.