For sale, one careful owner (and 720,000 miles on the clock)

Vincent Black Prince motorcycle to be auctioned after 56 years on the road

Love affairs come and go, but few can have endured with such lingering and obvious affection as that between Stuart Jenkinson and his motorbike Vinnylonglegs.

After more than half a century of happy times together, during which the retired chemistry lecturer has never forsaken the object of his desire for the allure of a younger model, the time has come to finally say goodbye.

In April, Vinnylonglegs – the name he gave to his beloved 1955 Vincent Black Prince – is to be sold at the Imperial Motorcycle Show in Staffordshire with an estimated price tag of £45,000.

The parting of the ways between the 83-year-old, who is now too weak to lift the bike, and one of the jewels from the heyday of the late lamented British motorcycle industry, will prove a sad occasion for the one careful owner of what is thought to be among the most travelled machines in the history of two-wheeled transport.

"It's a love affair of sorts. Yes, absolutely that's right," he said this week as he gave it the once over for one last time at his home in the Cleveland hills. "Selling it feels like selling a child. I feel so sentimental about it. A few women would have a feeling like that for a machine but there are plenty of guys like me who have fallen in love with a bike," he added.

Not that there have not been bumps along the way – a road which measures more than one million kilometres travelled together (721,703 miles) or seven times round the vehicle's well-used mileometer.

There was an early wobble over handling problems, three big ends worn out and replaced – and the time in Austria eight years ago when it nearly all ended in disaster on a winding Alpine pass.

Vinnylonglegs was Mr Jenkinson's third Vincent. Bought in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the year Anthony Eden became Prime Minister, it cost £385.

"It was more than a year's wages in those days," he recalls.

It was one of the last motorcycles to leave the famous Vincent factory in Stevenage where Phil Vincent had been producing the prized machines which set many world speed records.

The Black Prince was billed by its creator as a "two-wheeled Bentley". Although not initially popular, its 1000cc V twin engine capable of a top speed of 120mph – achieved only once by Mr Jenkinson in 1957, travelling downhill with the wind behind him – was to prove adequate to his needs.

"I didn't have a car then and I thought a motorbike was poor man's transport and I would ride it for a while until I got a car," he recalled. Although he did graduate to the solidity of four wheels, it was never more than a device for moving from A to B.

"The Vincent is a magical bike – there is no other like it. I couldn't ride anything else," he said. In the early days there were no helmets or expensive leathers, so riders made do with a pair of strong brogues, heavy tweeds and a pair of ex-RAF pilot's goggles. He accepts he has been lucky, after having more than 100 crashes – mainly prangs in the icy Northumberland winter.

The worst occurred in Austria in 2002, when Mr Jenkinson was running a motorcycle touring company offering guided trips which took him to more than 40 countries. A fainting fit saw him come off and break his femur, collar bone and five ribs.

Seven years earlier, his wife Anne had finished accompanying him on his jaunts after coming to grief on a country lane in a thunderstorm in Yugoslavia. "She said: 'That is the last time I am ever going on that bike' – and it was," he said.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
i100
News
Budapest, 1989. Sleepware and panties.
newsDavid Hlynsky's images of Soviet Union shop windows shine a light on our consumerist culture
News
In humans, the ability to regulate the expression of genes through thoughts alone could open up an entirely new avenue for medicine.
science
News
Williams says: 'The reason I got jobs was because they would blow the budget on the big guys - but they only had to pay me the price of a cup of tea'
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
A sketch of Van Gogh has been discovered in the archives of Kunsthalle Bremen in Germany
arts + ents
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Associate - London

    Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - HIGHEST QUALITY INTERNATIONAL FIRM - A...

    Austen Lloyd: Senior Law Costs - London City

    Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - EXCELLENT FIRM - We have an outstandin...

    Austen Lloyd: In-House Solicitor / Company Secretary - London

    Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: IN-HOUSE - NATIONAL CHARITY - An exciting and...

    Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - Exeter

    Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - A great new opportunity with real pot...

    Day In a Page

    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

    Cabbage is king again

    Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

    Paul Scholes column

    The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
    Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee