CANADIAN VINTAGE MOTORCYCLE GROUP
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GPR Garage tour
It's the middle of winter, bike shows are cancelled and everybody's been told to stay home. What's to do? Well, if you're a motorcycle person, the answer is obvious: retire to the shed and start fettling.
Here's several great stories of what our members have been up to. Enjoy.
Fairing damage from a Canada Goose strike while on my way to the Frontier Ghost Town rally in Durham, Ont - July 2018. Fairing saved me from ending up on the pavement.
Chopper at the rally event.
1) 1966 Aermacchi Harley-Davidson Sprint 250H that was supposed to be for the Cobble Beach Concourse d’Elegance this year. The category for motorcycles is Italian bikes. The event was pushed to September 2021 so I have another year. I will have it ready for the road in a couple of weeks. I started on this bike about 15 years ago.
3) 1971 Honda Z50A K2 MiniTrail - also pretty much the same as the other K2 I did 20 years ago, except this one is special. Cindy turns 50 March of 2021. I found this March 1971 build MiniTrail in Alberta and had it crated and shipped to me. It will be a 50 year old 50cc mini bike for her 50th birthday. It’s also the 50th anniversary of Disney World (her favourite place) so I got a Disney World 1971 key chain for the bike. I am waiting on the fenders and mufflers to come back from the plating shop...probably tomorrow....then it’s done.4) 1963 Honda Benly 150. Richard Freeman just showed up at my place one day with it in the back of his truck. Couldn’t say no. I’ve got it almost torn down now.
I’ve sure missed interacting with my colleagues in the Great Pine Ridge section, and this has been a weird year all around. However, I did get some garage work accomplished. Upon looking closely, you can see the new Mikuni carburetor on my AJS 500 Single. It was a significant improvement over the old Amal, with the bike becoming more spritely and idling better. I may do the same thing for my Matchless 600 Twin.
Brian Barrett, GPR’s easternmost member, has moved from Ontario back to his childhood home of Grand Falls, Newfoundland. He reached out to me with several emails detailing “The Life of Brian” and his motorcycles. Here’s Brian’s story, in his own words.
To see Brian's photos, click here.
My motorcycling story starts back in 1973 after finishing high school here in Newfoundland and followed my older brother Terry to Ontario for work in Toronto. In the summer of 1974 we had both earned enough money to buy our 1st motorcycles. Terry had bought a brand new Kawasaki 250 dirt bike and rode it all summer with no driver's license, lol. I was the smarter guy and got my driver's license first and then bought a bike. I bought a used 1970 Triumph TR-6 from Classic Cycle on O'Connor drive as we lived in Scarborough.
I was in the parking lot of Wexford college on Pharmacy Avenue practicing how to handle the Triumph when a Metro police car came over and asked what we were up too and after the 2 cops realize we were causing no trouble, I asked them if they would pretend to write me a ticket to send back home to the folks for a joke and they agreed.
I eventually got involved in organizing some of the shows and since my other passion is Aviation. Since also being a member of of the Canadian Air and Space Museum, I got involved in their Wings and Wheels events and was able to marry the two hobbies together. For many years I organized the vintage motorcycles attending the Wings and Wheels events and then took on the Brampton Fly in Event when my good friend Ruben Tang retired from motorcycles and it was a natural for me and a pleasure to organize a multi-sectional ride in event with the WW1 museum.
I acquired the 1936 Norton Model-50 from a fellow member of the GPR, Peter Wilson in September of 2009 and the odometer had only 13 miles on it. Unfortunately the bike had no spark and with the help of my good friend Keith Newton and Ken Rosevear, the bike was eventually sorted out and running and never totaled the parts and labour cost, lol. I have over 1200 miles on the Norton now and have enjoyed taking it to many shows and our Sunday breakfasts at Famous Sam's.
I was equally blessed with work where I took 3rd place in 1988 in my 1st Ontario Fuel Challenge and was driver of the year in 2005 for Southern Ontario and in 2012 awarded with my 2nd million mile accident free award driving tractor-trailer tanker of dangerous goods in central Canada and the Northern United States. I started working at Praxair when I was only 17 as a labourer and took 2 driver training courses at George Brown attaining my Class A, getting my tractor-trailer license. Also I worked my way up to the local Union President and doing many positions in between. After over 44 years of service, I retired at 62 because of a family matter and returned to Newfoundland to help take care of my elderly parents. I have been home now for two and a half years here in Grand Falls-Windsor Central Newfoundland and enjoyed riding my motorcycles and was trying to see if there was any intrest in organizing a CVMG section here in central. But there are very few vintage motorcycles here and 2020 Covid hit and the opportunity to meet potential members came to a grinding halt, so I still remain a member of the GPR section and enjoy receiving my mailed copy of the newsletter. I did attend a Flying Boat museum in Botwood and was the first one to be allowed to show my 1936 Norton inside the museum for their summer festival Botwood Days since the museum showcases planes from the 20's, 30's and 40's.
I've also traveled down to Twillingate where they have a lighthouse and beautiful ocean views. And lastly I've travelled out to the Avalon Peninsula and went to Signal Hill in St. John's where Marconi sent the 1st trans-Atlantic message to Europe. The other exciting thing I saw on the Avalon peninsula in Grates Cove were icebergs and I was fortunate enough to take pictures of one that I can clearly make out the letter "N" for Norton in old English script which brings me to the end of my Motorcycling Story for now.
Wishing everyone safe travels and eventually this Coronavirus pandemic will pass too, making it possible for everyone to get back together and resume a normal life.