NEVER MIND about worst bikes I've owned - there have been plenty of those. But by far the worst bike I've ever ridden was an Indian-built Enfield.

The standard bike was bad enough, but some bright spark had decided to make things even worse and fit a diesel engine. It was far and away the slowest motorbike on sale, as well as being thoroughly nasty and smelly.

I decided to match it against the slowest car on sale, also Indian-built, a Mahindra Jeep. Trouble was, the bloke driving the car took it seriously and started tuning it. That annoyed me, so I was determined to win the race - and duly did to everyone's surprise.

Worst car I've driven was undoubtedly a Peel. Built on the Isle of Man in the Fifties, it had a 50cc motorcycle engine and ran out of puff at the hint of an incline. The bizarre thing is that these truly terrible microcars are very collectable and can cost up to pounds 10,000.

In fact the bloke who owned it turned up in what I consider to be the best car in the world a Porsche 911 Carrera 4. I thought it was really funny that one man should own the two extremes of motoring, from the really desperate to the ultimate driving machine.

In the late Seventies, when Quadrophenia and the whole mod revival thing happened, a couple of Vespa scooters came into my life. The fashion at one point was to take as much off the scooters to create a "skelly". A mate of mine did it, but chose a Vespa rather than a Lambretta, which has a one-piece frame.

The Vespa didn't and the more you took off the flimsier it became. It wobbled all over the place and was impossible to ride for more than a few yards. I fell off 20 times. My own Vespa was customised with tiny eight-inch wheels which were fashionable for a time.

Then, after a few weeks riding around like a 16-year-old hooligan, I got a puncture. So I asked my dad to help me fix it and he looked closely at the tyre wall and said "read that". I did and what I saw chilled me to the bone: "John Bull, do not exceed 15 mph". They were wheelbarrow tyres!

Steve Berry's new book, `Berry on Bikes: The Hot 100', is published by Carlton Books at pounds 16.99. He was talking to James Ruppert

Comments