Honda famously advertised that you meet the nicest people on a Honda, but you simply meet the nicest people on any bike anywhere in the world, but particularly a Royal Enfield.
Motorbike Writer and Mrs MBW are currently holidaying on Kefalonia, a Greek island north of Corfu, where scooters dominate and motorcycles are a fairly rare sight.
So when a rider wearing a Davida helmet, goggles, white handlebar moustache and black leather jacket rode past in Skala on a puttering Royal Enfield Bullet 500, I rushed out into the street to take a photo.
It’s a small town so I soon tracked down the rider for a chat at a beachside cafe where he was sipping a red wine.
Liverpudlian John Moore has been living on the idyllic Greek isle for the past two decades to escape the inclement British weather.
The former fireman says he’s owned 263 bikes in his lifetime and could have had any bike he wanted on the island with its narrow and twisting roads, but chose a Royal Enfield.
“Why would I need anything else on this island?” he says.
“I have a friend who has an R1, but he never gets out of third gear.”
John eschews modern technology and enjoys the simplicities of the 2009 model Enfield with EFI and disc brakes; two of the only mod cons of the model.
He’s done some slight modifications including a “people slicer” front number plate, gold RE badges to replace the stickers, aftermarket peashooter exhausts and leather panniers.
He teams it nicely wth his leather jacket and Davida helmet and looks like he’s on his way to a Distinguished Gentlemen’s Ride.
We got to talking … and talking … and talking … and found a lot of common ground as do most riders.
John still has three bikes in a shed back home in the UK: a 1934 BSA side valve, a 1954 Matchless G9 and a 1956 BSA DBD Gold Star.
They should be worth a pretty penny if he ever goes home, restores them and puts them on the market.
Which got us talking about inflated prices for old bikes.
And if you’re feeling sorry for yourself because you sold an old bike that is now worth a pretty penny, have some sympathy for John.
He says he once bought a rare, limited-edition red Vincent – I thought they were all black! – for about £200 and spent about the same on it to restore the machine. He later sold it for about £750.
Recently he heard from the new owner who said he had “bad news and really bad news”.
The bad news was that he had sold it.
The really bad news was that he had sold it for £250,000.