TALES FROM THE YEARS SPENT POLISHING
Chapter 11: Leighton Buzzard
Biggest dump in England
It was June glorious biking weather. Bill and I were cruising round the Hertfordshire lanes full of careless abandon, not speeding just enjoying the note of our exhausts and the rush of acceleration under the control of our right hands which we exercised at every twist in the road. I was sometimes mesmerised by the bouncing of my telescopic forks as they absorbed the unevenness of the road.
Bill found a new distraction, accelerating at sparrows dust bathing in the lane. He would rush at them swerving to see if he could squash one. We both had sport for a while, generally they would fly twittering in all directions but occasionally one would get caught up in the front wheel spokes and end up as a puff of grey feathers. We were not cruel lads but these were pre-conservation times! We just thought nothing more of it than squashing a fly.
Sailing along wherever the lanes might lead us we came to a village sign and limits. Instinctively we dropped down into third, not to obey the speed limit but to make our bikes sound louder and more impressive to any inhabitants and to give incredible acceleration should anyone be around to look at us.
We came to what seemed to be the village centre with a village general store and post office. Two women stopped their conversation to look where the noise was coming from. Likewise two elderly men who were sitting on a seat watched our approach. To them we were just a couple of tearaways to be frowned on but in our own minds we were Marlon Brando and the wild ones playfully terrorising a village. We threw back our twist grips and sliding back on the dual seat and clinging onto our clip-ons we went from 15 to 60 mph in the space of a hundred yards!
As we exited the village a couple of girls waved and shouted "Give us a lift". About half a mile further on Bill slowed to a halt. "Lets go back and chat up that crumpet" , he shouted. Standing up on the footrests trials style we cranked our bikes round and pottered back.
The girls were about fourteen or fifteen, one was pretty with long blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail. She wore a satin bomber jacket which was much too big for her with United States Air Force written across the shoulders and a snarling tiger on the back. The other girl was less attractive, she had brown mousy hair and a brown suedette jacket with the collar turned up. "Where are we?" I asked like an alien from another planet. "Leighton Buzzard", replied the blonde. "Biggest dump in England", added her friend. "What do you do for laughs round here?" said Bill to the blonde. This was going to be awkward I thought, we both had the same one in mind. I wasn't interested in Mousy even if Bill was a mate. "Nothing its dead boring" said Mousy smiling at Bill. "Going to give us a ride then?", said the blonde looking straight at me. My heart gave a bounce as I realised that I was in with the main chance. Bill would be bound to take the other one just for his old mate! Before I could answer Blondie swung her leg over my Hurricane and her friend approached Bill. Without daring to catch Bill's eye, I flicked down my footrests and we slowly moved off. She had done this before, I could tell. Clasping her hands behind her back she relaxed onto me leaning her head on my back as we swept along the lanes. In my handlebar mirror I could see Bill. I smiled when I saw his terrified passenger clasping him tightly round the waist for dear life and trying to sit upright on every bend!
This occasion called for a shameless display of speed and bravado which meant a good road. We made for the A41 at Aylesbury then thrashed our way at about 70 to 80 mph through Tring, Berkhamsted and Apsley, on past Hemel Hempstead and Watford to the Busy Bee. On the way Bill overtook me determined to make or break his petrified cargo. I was quite happy to follow in second place enjoying the soft, warm weight cuddling round my buttocks.
We swung into the car park but there were only a few bikes as it was just early afternoon. The interior looked smokey and was filled with lorry drivers eating unwholesome but enormous meals.
As we dismounted Bill's girl got straight off and pulled my Blondie away to whisper. "Going to buy us a drink then?" demanded Blondie. I was broke. I looked at Bill with a "I'd do the same for you" expression. Bill was pulling quite good money with all the overtime he had been doing recently but he was always reluctant to spend it. He theatrically searched one pocket after another except the inside pocket in his flying jacket which contained his wallet and a supply of pound and ten shilling notes.
The girls tired of waiting announced that they were going to the bogs and disappeared inside. "You lucky bastard" spat Bill "I'm only doing this for you y'know". I felt a little ashamed. "Yours is alright" I said, "nice smile".
"Not bad tits either" replied Bill with a leer! "Still, don't suppose we'll see them again". He was right, they had used us to get them out of the biggest dump in England and now they would find a couple of lorry drivers to buy them food and drink. "Pity", said Bill "I could have done with getting my end away". As young men we always spoke as though this was the natural conclusion of any meeting with the opposite sex whereas we were usually lucky if it ended with a kiss!
The sun still beat down as we sat side saddle on our bikes contemplating our next move when out came the girls with four bottles of Pepsi. They handed us a bottle each and we all drank.
That afternoon we rode onto the Dunstable downs, bouncing over the grassy hillside and meandering through tall beech trees, crackling over last year's fallen leaves to some sand dunes that Bill and I knew would give us some seclusion. I noticed that Bill was no longer with us and must have stopped somewhere. I did the same and leaned the bike against a tree.
I removed my leather jacket and threw it onto the bike tank. Blondie seemed to know the routine, she took me by the hand and led me to a grassy dip surrounded by new bracken.
While kissing she guided my hand to places hitherto only achieved after a relentless tussle. Her creamy, soft, white body moved me in a way that I had never felt before. I was aroused yet felt protective and did not want my passion to rush in and spoil the moment. After petting we were content to lie back and hold each other and feel the warm sun on our skin.
From near by there were grunts and moans coming from Bill and Mousie. "Dirty bugger!" I thought, "Working faster than me". I leaned back over Blondie to rectify the matter when a shadow fell across us. Looking up we saw Bill's girl looking I bit dishevelled and straightening her blouse. "Come on Av. Time to go ", she said and the two girls walked over to the bikes.
We hammered off back to the biggest dump in England and as she dismounted I asked Blondie her name. "Avril" she smiled, then "Thanks for the ride, see ya". The two girls walked off arm in arm without looking back then giggling, they broke into a run.
That night as we sat outside the Cellar coffee bar watching the Thames flow past I asked Bill what had happened. "You two were so quiet I thought you were getting it so I tried a bit harder", he replied. "Too hard! She suddenly wouldn't have anymore and well you know the rest".
The next day Sunday I found myself returning to Leighton Buzzard alone. I cruised up and down the deserted High Street and with a dull heart swung round to return home. As I passed the off limit sign at the end of the village I noticed in my mirror a flash of turquoise like glimpsing a kingfisher as a tiny figure jumped up and down waved vigorously. On returning there stood Avril in a tight blue woollen sweater and skin tight jeans. She was smiling radiantly.
This was the start of a new page in my biking experience.
- Tony Sheppard