My CJ Outfit Arrives in Australia
While I was a member of the Ballarat Rovers Motor Cycle Club in about 1966, I visited
Alwyn Sobey's place and looked over his BMW and Stieb sidecar outfit. I had also
been looking at a book about the history of BMW bikes. I clearly remember the
conversation: "One day, I would like to own a side valve engined BMW like the pre-war
R71." Sobe responded, "No, Phil; you wouldn't want a side-valve BM,
they were far too slow and didn't develop enough power."
The years came and went and I owned sidecar after sidecar and every so often the thought would come back: "One day, I would like to own a side-valve BM outfit . . . ," but it remained a very distant pipe dream.
August 1989: I see my first Chang Jiang outfits!
The train wound its way through the New Territories of Hong Kong and crossed the river
into Shen Zhen, in the People's Republic of China. The train stopped, but not at a
station. I heard a sound outside that made me pull the curtains aside and look out.
The train was surrounded by machine-gun toting PLA soldiers mounted on motorbikes
with sidecars! What a sight! Suddenly I noticed something else. The
bikes appeared to be side-valve BMWs!
January 2004: I start daily dreaming of my future bike.
One evening in late 2003, Wendy and I were in Sai Kung, NT, when we heard a motorbike. I watched as a black motorbike and sidecar sped past and I heard it continue around the block and pull up. I found it parked on the footpath outside a pub and immediately looked it carefully all over. Its owner, Simon Vallance came out and spoke to me.
I have had the habit for many, many years of kneeling beside my bed every morning to
pray. From January 2004, every morning when I knelt down, I would see images in my
mind of myself riding one of those Chang Jiang sidecar outfits. As I was supposed to
be praying and not daydreaming about motorbikes, I would try to "cast out those
interrupting thoughts." Months went by and every day, without fail, as I knelt
down the picture of the bike would come again.
May 2004: The LHD Chang Jiang sidecar experience.
The picture at right is copied with permission from http://www.changjiangunlimited.com which is an excellent site for anyone interested in Chang Jiang motorcycles and sidecars. The black bike in the foreground is the one on which I took a test ride on Saturday 29th May 2004. It is a Chang Jiang M1 750cc Side Valve Boxer-twin with 6V electrics which was restored by Gerald Gardebled at Long River Motorworks in Beijing and was brought to Hong Kong a couple of years ago. Chang Jiang sidecar outfits are still manufactured in China right up until the present day. They were originally copied from the Russian Ural M72 which was itself copied from the 1938 German BMW R71.
The green bike in the background is a 1960 Chang Jiang M1 750cc Side Valve Boxer-twin with 6V electrical system. It was found in a junk yard and restored by Simon Vallance.
As I bounced over badly potholed and rutted tracks near Simon's place on the CJ750, my grin got so wide my ears nearly fell in! This rough track was exactly what the CJ was designed for. This was my first time on a motorbike of any sort since 1989! And I thoroughly enjoyed it. I just have to get one of these bikes!
To subscribe to "The Chang Jiang Experience" and learn more about these bikes please use the above form.
July 2004: Prophesies about the bike.
In the Summer of 2004 I decided to earn some extra cash by teaching Summer School, so,
after visiting my family in Brisbane for a couple of weeks, I flew to Hong Kong for the
whole month of July, returning to Brisbane for another couple of weeks in August.
During that month back in HK, our regular pastor Steve Durie was away on holidays and the
four services were led by Jackie Pullinger and her team. During two of those
services, I was called out to the front of the church where members of Jackie's team
described in Chinese visions they believed the Lord had gave them concerning my life.
These were translated into English for me.
Back in Brisbane, I shared these visions with my wife Wendy and asked her to pray about them. She did so and responded that she felt I ought to buy one or two of those bikes.
My own Chang Jiang is now ordered!
Today, Wednesday 3rd November 2004, I have confirmed my order for my own Chang Jiang 750 cc motorbike and sidecar. It will be a model M1M which is a side-valve with a 12-volt electrical system and a reverse gear. I have ordered it to be painted in flat Army Green.
Here are some photos of a similar bike sent to me by Gerald of LRM:
My Trip to Beijing - A Bike Named "Alpha" - How Cold can it get?
On Saturday 22nd January 2005 I flew to Beijing to be met by Gerald Gardebled and Clay Jones on a motorbike named
"Alpha". As the
plane taxied towards the terminal the announcement was made that it was partly cloudy and
the temperature was minus two degrees Celsius (that's 28 degrees Fahrenheit for the
Americans). Out in the car park, Gerald pulled a huge warm fleecy-lined PLA great
coat from Alpha's sidecar and handed it to me. I thankfully donned it and climbed
awkwardly into the sidecar - my first time sitting in a sidecar for more than twenty-five
years! I was usually the pilot of these things, not the monkey!
Progress made on my bike: Gerald has sent me some more photographs of
my bike that were taken the week after I was in Beijing.
While waiting for the paperwork for my bike, I decided to have a go at
designing a tank badge based on the original BMW design. The result is posted at
right. Just click the thumbnail for the larger view. I really need someone who
is a graphic artist to clean it up a bit. It would also probably look better if the
two Chinese words were not in an italic font. The two words of course are
"Chang Jiang" in simplified Chinese.
I love this animated GIF of CJ riders having a ball. Does anyone know where this file originates? I would like to give full credit where credit is due and maybe write a little background about it.
Gerald at Long River Motorworks reports that my bike was crated and picked up by the shipper on 18th June 2005, so it ought to be on the way to Brisbane at the moment of writing. Before he crated it he took these photos of it:
It's arrived! . . . My CJ was delivered to my home in McDowall Brisbane in September 2005 after spending a long time held up on the docks by some sort of a strike.
I took my bike for its first ride, just around the back yard, since it wasn't yet
registered, in October:
In this series of photos, you just get several different views of my bike parked in the back yard at McDowall. These shots were "as delivered" when the bike had been taken out of the crate, but no mirrors or anything else fitted.
14th November 2006: I registered the bike today, so I shall be riding
it for several of my remaining five days in Brisbane.
The two pictures at right were taken at the BP station at Ferny Grove on the morning of 2nd January 2006. This was at the start of a ride organised by Brisbane Bikers. I did not go out with them on the ride, as I had to get ready to fly back to Hong Kong.
New Farm ... to be inserted later.
Yesterday, 28th December 2006, I took my Chang Jiang M1M on its longest run to date:
from McDowall to Toowoomba and back, about 300 km (186 miles) and actually remembered to
take a camera with me.
Old CJ meets new CJ: Dale arrives in Tony's driveway.
Another view of the two CJs as Dale also takes a picture.
The LH and RH CJs lined up side by side. The black one is normal and legal in Australia, the green one can only be registered (licensed) because it is a "Historic Vehicle".
2 CJs and the Yamaha, as Tony takes a photo.
Rear view of three bikes lined up as Roscoe arrives on his Kawasaki GTR with his son as pillion.
Not a good photo: 3 bikes lined up.
The four bikes and L to R: Dale (CJ), Roscoe's son, Tony (Yamaha), Roscoe (Kwaka).
The fourth seat in the boot of Dale's sidecar.
Driveway full of bikes with Tony, Roscoe and son, Dale.
2 CJs just before departure.
More later ...
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