Published on November 9, 2017 | by Alastair Gilmour


Harley given a trouble-free ride

Stables Brewery brewer John Taylor’s Harley-Davidson keeps breaking down. It has caused him endless grief, ruined days out, and cost him a lot of money in repairs – but he loves it to bits. Engine failure is such a regular occurrence that John says he knows every RAC rescue man by his first name and he doesn’t even have to give them his phone number.  He also reckons he has developed Stockholm Syndrome towards his classic motorbike. This condition is named after a six-day siege in Sweden in 1973 when bank employees were held captive by a gang, causing them to develop a psychological alliance with their captors.

“I go out on the bike knowing there’s a good chance of me not getting home,” says John. “One good thing about breaking down is it always tends to be near a real ale pub. The latest was the Lord Crewe Arms in Bamburgh.”

Apparently the bike’s big end went kaput outside The King’s Arms in Deptford, Sunderland, but he did once manage to limp home from the Lake District.

“I’ve ridden a Moto Guzzi bike through Holland and France without any bother,” says John, “but I can never leave home on the Harley without a toolbag. The thing is though, it’s got style and soul – it’s got that oomph that’s a cross between Tom Waits and Robert Palmer.”

So, if you spot a red wine-coloured Harley on the roadside with someone scratching his head and about to aim a kick, it’ll be John Taylor. But he knows the name of the mechanic who’s on his way.

About the Author

Alastair Gilmour

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