1971 - Athens or bust - part 2



Nothing succeeds like success and after returning safely from Morocco we thought we'd look east for the following year. Everything was doubled up - two bikes, four of us and we had a month rather than two weeks . The destination was going to be the Athens wine festival with a stopover in Corfu on the way back.


I'd bought an old (even then) Honda 305cc CB77, which came with an additional 350cc Read Titan cylinder and pistons. These were soon fitted in the hope that the additional capacity would bring it closer to John's Yamaha and make it easier to ride when loaded up with pillion and luggage. I was really happy with the result and used it for several months trouble free but about six weeks before departure one of the pistons disintegrated without warning. No spares were available and I was faced with the prospect of no transport. My options were to try and rebuild it back to standard spec or borrow my brothers 125cc Yamaha AS1. Two up to Athens, with luggage, on a 125cc two stroke twin? ... hmm! I actually did consider it seriously but in the end took a chance that my rebuilding skills were up to fixing the Honda.


Our companions were going to be Jacqui and Brigid. Jacqui was a veteran of previous Pisquick Tours van trips - she'd been on the 1969 winter trip to Innsbruck, but this was their first long distance bike trip. I'm not sure they knew what they were letting themselves in for!




















Our destination in Corfu was the remote area of Sidari on the north coast. If you've been to Corfu in recent decades my description of Sidari as remote may seem strange as it's now one of the most commercialised resorts on the island but in 1971 there was nothing there. We even struggled to find water to drink. We had no problems camping near the beach and had the cove totally to ourselves.

The next few photographs show the result of a windstorm that suddenly blew up one day. The tentpegs didn't withstand the increase in tension and the tent was soon threatening to disappear over the headland. Fortunately Brigid was inside the tent at the time so giving John a chance to grab the guyrope.


The tent is a Vango Force10. John had bought it specifically for this trip earlier in the year and this was the first time it had been used in anger. It held the four of us comfortably for a month without anything breaking or tearing and features in many of the following year reports. John still has it over 40 years later and still uses it regularly.


He recently had to contact Vango looking for some spare parts and as far as they know it's the oldest one still in use. There is competition for that crown though. I bought one a few years later which I also use regularly and I know someone else with one from the mid 70's that they still use for motorcycle trips.









Compare the photograph on the left with a more recent image of the area
























The route