Hello and welcome to the shed.
As you can see, it’s a charmingly run-down, semi-forgotten little place, which had previously remained undisturbed since the 1980s: my landlord bought the house at this time, took a look in the shed and found it piled to the roof on both floors with mouldy old junk. He promptly locked it up again.
Time slipped by and nobody gave the place a second thought. The ivy flourished, as generations of cats and their kittens and grand-kittens hid and hunted in its many shady corners. Thirty years passed before I came along and bagged it for a measly tenner a month, on the condition that I clear it out.
It was once, I believe, a stable. It still has the original stone floor which slopes gently to a narrow channel in the centre, making centre- and paddock-stands an interesting prospect. Upstairs, there’s a large hatch for loading, with a ladder carved out of a single plank of oak fixed to the wall, connecting the two floors. The ground floor will hold two bikes at a time (my own GPz750 – Purple Thunder – is currently stashed under a cover outside, displaced by a comatose 550 Zephyr which I’m resuscitating for a friend), a small workbench and the usual array of tools and parts – shelved, suspended and piled in all the available space. Upstairs features a DIY zinc plating ‘lab’, more spares and decent wi-fi coverage.
It’s also a nice place to hang out.
Pride of place goes to my own W650 – fully stripped, powder-coated and rebuilt, with a homegrown PJ1 paintjob on the engine and exhaust, uprated suspension and a front brake that now works, thanks to a HEL stainless line and sintered pads. I splashed out on a pair of Avon RoadRiders, based on their use on so many old twins whose owners actually like to ride: money well spent. Renthal 983 bars sit under one-off clamps and make this gentleman’s Sunday cruiser feel like the nifty, ton-topping street tracker that it always was – I have a crateful of the chrome and fake chrome that I took off it upstairs, which is satisfyingly heavy. Even without any changes to the power output, all these modifications have trimmed a wobbly, underbraked nightmare to fit the mold of my enthusiastic and focussed riding.
So, shed life is good. Those of us who know this know it well. Motorbikes bring us joy, strife, endless technical education , temporary shots of freedom and the basis for daydreams, some of which we can materialise: stories of bikelife.