My name is John Chrichlow, I rode my first bike on a local coal tip in 1963 when I was eleven years old. It was a red and chrome 350cc BSA. B31 from about 1956, jointly owned with a few mates which we bought for ten bob from a local chap as the MOT had run out. Up until then, my Dad had always 'Drummed' into me the motorbikes were 'Death traps' and that there was no way that I would ever be allowed to own or ride one. From the moment I dropped the clutch and wound back the throttle on that BSA, I was hooked. We lived in a pub at the time and after school I would sometimes go round to a small motorcycle shop a couple of doors away. The owner was probably one of the first Honda dealers in the country and taught me how to carry out servicing and minor repairs on the small C100 50cc models. In return for my efforts, he would let me buy some of the old 'Trade-in' bikes for a few pounds, which I cleaned up, painted and rode around a small patch of rough ground at the bottom of the yard behind our pub. If another 'Nail' trade-in came in that took my fancy, I would sell the one I had 'Tarted up' to finance my new acquisition and so it went on. Over the ensuing few years I had many bikes including a Phillips Gadabout two speed moped, a Francis Barnett cruiser, a James Captain, Two Honda 50cc C100s, a Honda 90cc C200 , a Lambretta LD, a Lambretta LI, two B.S.A. Bantam Majors and a B.S.A. Bantam D3.
Three months before my 16th Birthday I applied for my driving licence, motorcycle test and with the help of my Mum (Unbeknown to my Dad) I acquired a four year old really tidy C100 Honda 50 (Trade in) for £15:00 from my dealer friend. On my 16th Birthday I was legally 'On the road', within a couple of months I passed my test and a few months later I bought a 1955 Triumph Thunderbird for £55:00 which was advertised in the local newspaper. The Thunderbird was the first Triumph I had ever ridden, it was by no means standard specification and I loved it. Triumphs became my favourite marque and I have owned at least one Triumph ever since.
I started my own business 'M.S. Motorcycles' on 2nd February 1982 and worked alongside 'Hughie Hancox' for twenty years refinishing and restoring Classic Triumph Motorcycles until his retirement a few years ago. I specialised in the paintwork side with Hughie doing the mechanics. Over the years our restorations have taken many awards including 'Best Trade Stand Exhibit' at the 'International Classic Motorcycle Show' six times. Specialising in Classic Triumph Motorcycle paintwork for so many years, I have picked up a fair amount of knowledge on the subject and as part of my business, supply paint and refinishing information to aid the home restorer with their Classic Triumph projects.