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Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming:
"WOW, what a ride !!!"

Nigel Hollingsworth #356

Nigel's Piles

Oh no! I’ve got piles and they’re turning me bloody crazy! I suspect many of you probably have ‘em too.

No, I’m not referring to the piles you get from sitting on your arse for too long. No, no, no. What I’m talking about are the piles us motorcycle hoarders end up with when we collect an overabundance of bike parts.

I mean motor parts, tanks, forks, guards and carbies. Hubs, handlebars and those unobtainium NOS bits you have gathered over the years for the dream scoot you yearn to build. The one thing my motorbike piles have in common with the other type however is they are both becoming a royal pain in my arse!

It’s entirely the parts previous owners fault of course. They bait us with these inexpensive bits and instantly our minds start to wander off into a weird world of mechanical magic. A world where you can actually envision the perfect bike of your dreams, a bike like no one else’s.

In this dream world, a feeling of warmth washes over you, as you picture yourself in the happiest and warmest place you can imagine…. your shed. You are out there in the cold of winter, staring at the shiny chrome guards of some obscure Beeza or some godforsaken Czech shitbox, dreaming of the day Mother Nature does her job and brings forth the warm sunny days of spring. You look at those piles and dream of concourse perfection, and promise yourself that this is the winter you will get it all together so that when the balmy days of spring arrive, you can boast to your mates about how you’d done it all by yourself. Alas, the blustery winters come and go, your piles grow higher and your mind wanders further down that never-ending road, where you realize, upon gazing at your collection of treasures that it has become almost beyond the realms of possibility to finish the project. But why has it become so impossible? Perhaps it’s because our piles have changed. Some have grown larger than expected, but are still missing the key pieces to bring the project to fruition, forcing the restoration onto the back burner for a while. You’re certain of course that you will some day find the missing links. Eventually other ideas find their way into your mind and a new pile is explored.

First floor of the East-wing of my Beverly Hills Estate

Some of my piles are still in their infancy, awaiting some final, yet elusive bits needed to get the project away. The promise to myself to only collect parts to build the ultimate BSA B50MX has morphed into Yamaha piles, KTM, Carabela, Cagiva, Bultaco and more! The promise has been broken but then again how could you resist the temptation of a NOS Carabela fuel tank for only pennies on the pound! My goodness, a new tank in all its glittering Mexican glory, still in its original box, now that’s a find! I convince myself that it’ll be a breeze to locate the remaining bits to turn it into a complete bike. So I take the tank home to the shed, put it in a safe place, and begin looking for more Carabela gold. It’s sad really. Those parts are as hard to find as a rust free Jaguar so in reality, all I have done is to create…. yet another pile. Still, I tell myself “Nigel old chap, this is the final one” I swear there will be no more projects after this, I am committed to this bloody Carabela now, and must make the grand sacrifice and see this bike come to life.

Sitting down at my computer with a head full of ale driven steam, I Google in the word Cara-bela, and quickly discover it means ‘pretty face’ in Spanish. A fitting name for such a Mexican cutie! I repeat it in my head several times as I peck further away at the keys, knowing that all the info in the world of Carabela will soon be at my fingertips. Cara-bela, Cara-bela…it almost makes me want to learn Spanish when I say it. Then, in a flash the results of my search pop up right before my eyes. There it is, lit up like one of those thousand bulb marquis’ on Broadway.

Carabela/Ducati Inventory Liquidation! The ad said. I can’t control my glee (or my bladder for that matter). I may just have found the long lost Carabela holy grail. As I read on a little further, I discovered that this elusive Carabela stash it was only a few kilometers from my house! I call the bloke and make an appointment to visit his warehouse, finally hopeful of finding my precious Carabela parts, the key to the completion of my life long dream machine! When I arrive, I studiously begin searching through each and every box marked Carabela. Hours go by while I scour every corner of the building. Boxes, crates, bags and bins, nothing passed my scrutiny. Sadly I come up empty. I reluctantly began to realize that the search for my precious parts would have to continue at some other place, some other time. I’m depressed. The cash bulging my pockets won’t be spent today. I slowly zig zag my way out of the labyrinth of boxes and crates I’d been rummaging through, solemnly having one last look through boxes I have already inspected several times in vain hoping for something, anything I may have missed the first time. Unfortunately the parts stash was mucho Ducati, nada Carabela. I’d been through it all, and now reluctantly admit defeat. I walked slowly towards the door of the cavernous building, disappointed at not discovering a single part for my beautiful “Bela”, waiting for her revival back home.

I was almost at the door, forcing myself to think that it is better to go home with the cash still in my pocket, than to go home with stuff I don’t really need. I tell myself “Just get to the door Nigel, and everything will be alright, don’t stop, don’t look back, there is nothing here for you”. Then, from under a tarp in a dimly lit corner, a piece of chrome catches my eye, something I’d obviously missed on my way in. “Ignore it and go home Nigel ” says the persistent voice in my head. I disregard the voice, and make a beeline straight for the tarp, grab hold of its corner, flipping it back as one would the brittle bleach stiffened sheets on the bed of a cheap hotel. There under the tarp are a set of forks, shocks and cylinder. “What is this for“? I ask my gravelly voiced guide. “That there’s NOS Ducati, narrow case scrambler parts. If ya want ‘em, gimme two hunnerd bucks… all brand new”. My hand automatically reached towards the bulging pocket.

Ahhh the sound of a Desmo, and what a perfect mate for Bela…”Bela and Duke”…nice ring to it don’t you reckon? Sort of like a Latin Charles and Diana. I rushed home with my treasure and carried it into the shed, placing it carefully on the bench, being sure to not scratch anything. Several days go by, and I return, full of enthusiasm, ready to go. I look over my newly added to inventory and it hits me like a ton of bricks. Damn it! I’ve created yet another pile! My disease has moved into the incurable phase. I can’t be the only one in the world to suffer this bloody affliction. Surely there must be thousands more out there just like me suffering with piles. Hopefully among them there has to be at least one lucky soul that has found a cure. If you read this and find some pity in my plight, give me a call. I need help.


More from Nigel Hollingsworth and PJ Read


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