I bought my '73 Triumph T140V 750 Bonneville third-hand way back in 1982 for the princely sum of £600. At the time it was pretty much standard UK spec with US spec bars and a hideous 'King and Peasant' seat, as my mate Chris called it. For the first three months I had it I rode it everywhere. Rallies, work, club meets. Everywhere. And then I took it on holiday to Devon and Cornwall. I made it to Devon but it seized the next day when the oil pump failed. The engine rebuild was done by one of my Lewes & District MCC club mates and apart from some minor bits that needed doing from time to time that was it. I carried on riding it wherever I wanted/needed to go.
Flash forward about six years. I'd moved to Reading and my Bonnie had a minor makeover. Well, a Triumph TSX tank, and the swing arm was altered to take a 5 x 16 tyre on a new rim laced to the original conical hub, along with an all black paint job and open drag pipes, one of which was later crushed by an artic on the M25 having fallen off on one trip - the bloody driver even had the audacity to wave a fist at me after turning my drag pipe into a fishtail leaving me at the side of the road waiting for the RAC.
I joined MC Rottum and started rallying again. Part of the deal with joining was that because the club was Anglo/German there was a trip out to the club party in Lingen
each year to be attended. Not a problem apart from running out of petrol one time a couple of miles from the clubhouse. The German guys were laughing so much as they filled up my tank from a can they turned up with. Only over a beer later did I find out that they had emptied out the petrol tank from a mower to get the fuel.
Over the years my Bonnie has traveled many miles, I've no idea how many as for a good few of those years I had no speedo on there. Well it was there but it didn't work. But it's done a fair few miles nonetheless.
Well it had seen a lot of miles and it showed. I was never one for doing much to it. I always answered any criticism of its looks with a 'I'd rather be riding it. OK'. In reality I was more than a little mechanicaly challenged but that would change some..
Acouple of years ago I decided another makeover was in order for my Bonnie. This time somewhat more drastic than the last attempt by myself, so off it went to 'Mr -
-Bike-Builder'. Just about all the money I had earned from gigging whilst solo went into the project and turned it from what it was into what it is. I was asked by someone (can't remember for the life of me who it was now) whilst my bike was away and halfway thru the build, what I called it .
" MiNE " came my reply, 'cos after owning it for 23 years now, I reckon that's just what it is.
The frame was chopped and the swing arm replaced with the softail rear end from a Dragstar 650. The tank was a one off - bloody thing took 8 months from me ordering it to it actually turning up. The bars and yokes were made, the front hub laced to a new rim for a 21" tyre and a speedo drive fitted to the front wheel - so yes officer, I now have a working speedo. Two loooong years to the day it went to 'Mr Bike Builder' it came home 'with a new set of keys an' a full MOT'. . I love its
looks and lines, and the paint work done by Andy at Hairy Designs is just stunning, though there were things that needed to be sorted to make it rideable.
Having some brakes is a good start.
After a bit of messing around getting the bike to stop when required it was time to set off for my first rally and meet up with a couple of mates one of whom I hadn't seen in some years but who had a Bonnie chopped and finished the previous year. We met up at the Annwn 'Snowplough Rally' in February this year and it was great to see John's
Bonnie chop, though I never got a picture of both bikes together like I wanted 'cos on the Saturday when I had to return home John was still akip at midday. Leaving the rally I made my way to the M25 and then holed a piston. Rather stupidly I limped the bike home with the assistance of the RAC rather than putting it on the truck. Didn't want my paint work damaged see.
On getting it home I realised that my engine was more than probably knackered and also knew that I didn't have anywhere near enough money to get it rebuilt. I phoned a friend who turned out to be a real mate right when I needed one. Griz said to me "Get it round here and providing you're prepared to do some of the work
I'll help you get it back on the road".
Good to his word Griz had 'MiNE' back on the road, engine and a good few other bits sorted in May and it's first real outing was to Griz' club, the 3B's, 'Only Fools and Bikers' Rally in June. I had loads of good comments about it. Folks loved the paint work. Yeah, me too. Thanx Andy.
It picked up Best Paint at my next gig, for the Triumph Owners MCC (Berkshire) and it's been doing a good few miles again recently as I rode and showed it at the Bulldog Bash then used it to get to the Anglesey Motorcycle Show where I was playing over the three days of the August Bank Holiday weekend.
Seven hundred and fifty six miles from leaving home to returning home with no real problems. Bloody great !!

.... Oh, all right. It leaks a bit.

There have been times over the last two and a half years during the build and engine rebuild when I wondered why I ever started having my Bonnie chopped and it was at those times I'd sit down with a Guinness or five and tell myself - because it's 'MiNE'.