Bogri, The Vintage Velo & The New Bike

That bike wouldn't be worth a thousand quid if it could sing an' play piano

- Bogri

I was stood chatting to Hilda, the barmaid at the local one afternoon when in came Malcolm, happy as a dog with two tales.

"I'm gonna get that Ducati Desmo I've always been after." he grinned

"The fuzz will get you" I warned.

"Not on their noddy bikes they wont." he was confident.

"I'm not talking about traffic cops, I'm talking about the feds what pick up bike thieves and lock em way."

"I'm not gonna pinch the bike, Bogri." Malcolm protested, "I'm gonna buy it - brand new - cash on the nail."

"Where are you going to get that kind of bread from, Malcolm? You owe two quid on the slate here." Hilda was as incredulous as me.

"That bloke I was talking to in here last night is gonna buy my dad's LE Velo."

I must admit that astounded me. Some bloke was buying Malcolm's dad's beat up, non running, rust covered, clapped out steam bike and Malcolm was buying a desmo vee twin on the strength of it. Malcolm is not the worlds smartest operator, but he knows the difference between an LE Velocette and a Desmo Ducati, if its only by the price tag. Even Hilda, who doesn't know one end of a bike from the middle, felt there must be more to it than met the eye.

"But that bloke last night was on a big new bike. What would he want with your old man's moped?" asked Hilda.

"It's not a moped." howled Malcolin, "It's a Vintage Machine, a Priceless Living Tribute to British Genius, a Mechanical Poem from an Age when the Future flowed Gently from an Ancient Heritage . . . . . . "

"What does he want it for, Malcolm, putting it out to stud in a breaker's yard?"

"He wants it as an investment, offered me a thousand quid for it." Malcolm was ebullient.

"Don't give me that crap, Malcolm. That bike wouldn't be worth a thousand quid if it could sing an' play piano."

"It's worth more than that," continued Malcolm, jigging about, "if it can sing in Japanese. It's worth two and a half thousand! Ying-tong, ying-tong."

I thought he had gone potty, delirious through looking at too many dirty books. I turned to the juke box but Malcolm caught the sleeve of my jacket.

"Have another drink, Bogri, a double. And you Hilda. Hey and you, Grease. Set em up Hilda." and to everyone's surprise he pulled out a roll of tenners and peeled one off.

"Jeezers, Malcolm, where d'you get that lot?" he was once again the centre of attention, a position Malcolm relishes to the full and stage manages like Sergio Leone. After a suitable pause he replied tantalisingly "Two hundred deposit, ennit." We drank his beer and ignored him for a while. Then he bubbled over again.

"I ain't daft," he assured us, "I know that bike's not worth a thousand quid but I could tell he was desperate. It's me shrewd business brain. I've got a flair for it. In the end I winkled it out . . . "

"What, your business brain?"

"He's buying British machines for a Japanese syndicate. Have you noticed how all the Jap bikes are based on old ideas? They were famous for copying the British at one time, but because they added a lot of gimmicks we've forgotten who thought of the things first. They're getting around to better ideas having made some less well known British inventions work. They're getting onto monoshocks and suspension tricks. They are still copying the British. Now they're onto fourstrokes and shaft drives they want a lightweight touring bike to copy. It will probably be the five hundred Gold Wing, my old mans LE Velo. They're desperate to get it. Behind with their development programme. I got the price up to two and a half thousand quid. He's coming in tonight to wrap up the deal. Another round for everyone, Hilda!"

Later that evening this flash guy turned up on a Kwaka Z1000 customised from its mag alloy wheels to the pneumatic tart on the pillion. He came in the bar and took Malcolm aside. Malcolm couldn't keep his eyes off the blonde's boobs or his mind off the money. They moved out of earshot. After a while they left having arranged to meet again the following lunch time. We were not quite sure whether we were dreaming or not.

Next night Malcolm was in early. He was broke again but quite cheerful. "I got a cheque for three thousand." he crowed. He got the cheque out to show Hilda so he could get some credit.

"I thought you agreed two and a half ?" asked Hilda.

"Yeah, but we pulled a bit of a con on the Japs."

"What you talking about?" I asked, getting suspicious.

"Well he'd got a cash flow problem. The Japs will only give him credit for the price of the machine and he's laid out two hundred of his own cash. We decided to say the bike cost three thousand, then I get an extra two hundred, the deposit, and he gets an extra three hundred, cash."

"Where from?"

"I gave him back the deposit he gave me, plus a hundred I borrowed off me mum and he gave me the cheque for three thousand. When the cheque is cleared at the bank I'll phone him to come and collect the Velo. Neat."

"You crafty devil Malcolm." said Hilda.

"Yeah. Brilliant" I congratulated him. "You're holding your dad's ten quid scrap heap and a rubber cheque as security on your mother's hard earned hundred quid."

Malcolm didn't believe it at first. Later we got him to phone the number he had written on the back of the cheque. I had to admire the bloke, it was police headquarters. They told Malcolm he was the fifth this week and wouldn't he ever learn that the police were overworked without idiots like him giving money to criminals. He'd got no chance of getting it back. His face really dropped.

"Never mind, Malcolm." I consoled him. "If you promise not to tell anyone where you got it from, your business friend, after discussions with me and Grease in the bog this dinner, agreed, for additional collateral and to show good faith, to leave you his Z1000. It's at my house now."

Malcolm had a whale of a time with the Z1000, frightening himself to death all summer, but didn't sell it quick enough. Someone stole it. Can't trust anybody.