I grew up in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, a small country in (lower) central Africa that has a common border with South Africa and Mocambique to name but two. It was a prosperous country with huge exports of tobacco and maize and my formative years were happy and although my parents struggled to make ends meet, relatively care free.
My Father worked on the Rhodesia Railways for many years so we lived in the Salisbury (now Harare) suburb of Lochinvar and it was there as a young teenager that I had my first two wheel experiences that were to sew the seeds that would later germinate into a love of motorbikes.
I found this picture on the internet;
A friend of the family owned one of these Lambretta scooters and for some reason had no problem with me riding it, I spent many happy hours roaring around the streets of Lochinvar on that scooter, learning the riding skills that would serve me later.
The other early experience was on the Velosolex upon which you would start pedalling and then lower the motor onto the front wheel and it would take over, I remember it being quite cumbersome with all of the weight on the front but it saved a lot of energy.
After high school, in 1968 I joined the Rhodesian Police force; the BSA Police and there received formal motorcycle riding lessons and my licence and started riding "proper" motorcycles such as the BSA 650cc twin and the Matchless 500cc single;
This photo shows my late friend Paul Weinel on one of the Matchless 500s, a really nice motorcycle to ride, a bitch to start when it was cold but I would love to have one today.
After a couple of years the British bikes were slowly replaced with Yamaha 350s, they didn't have the "soul" of the Brit bikes but they were incredibly fast! And so began my love affair with motorbikes that continues to this day. Hopefully I have a good few years to go.