A friend of mine ascribes the recent decline in the number of young motorcyclists to the relentless marketing of Japanese sportbikes in the 1980s. These machines, unlike most that preceded them, had no room for a pillion. The father—or uncle, or grandfather—could not take the youngster out for a ride. So many kids never got a taste for the unique thrills of motorcycling.
It’s an interesting theory, and I reckon there’s some truth in it. So I always enjoy hearing a story where the father has passed on his passion to a son or daughter.
Today, this 1973 Norton Commando is owned by Florent Graglia of Toulouse, but it used to belong to his father, who rode it from 1975 to 1982. “When my brother was born,” Graglia recalls, “this bike was parked in a garage near Nice. The bike slept there for about 28 years. At Christmas 2010, I said to myself, that legendary bike is there, and it’s my legacy! I have to do something”.
With the help of his brother, Graglia resurrected the Norton and transported it from Nice to Toulouse. But the bike was not in good condition, and needed sympathetic hands to restore it. So Graglia contacted Vincent Prat from the Southsiders MC, and the restoration began.
After months of work, the bike was finished and kicked into life. “I can’t really describe the feeling I had the first time I rode it,” says Graglia. “I made a jump 37 years back in the past, to when my Dad bought this motorcycle and rode around the Mediterranean, carrying my mother over the steep roads of the Nice back country.”
Head over to the Southsiders MC website for more images and the full story. And if you’ve got a son or daughter, take ‘em out for a ride this weekend.