Midlands Royal Enfield customer Trevor McGivern celebrated his retirement after 33 years with Shrewsbury Bus company Arriva, by setting off to see old friends on his Royal Enfield/Watsonian Manx sidecar outfit. However, the friends live in Gutersloh, Germany, a mere 600 miles from Shrewsbury!
The reason for his trip was to be re-united with childhood friends, who Trevor met when his father was a serving Airman at RAF Gutersloh in the mid 1950’s.
Having left Shrewsbury at 3am, Trevor arrived in Dover five hours later, having cruised all the way on empty roads at a steady 60mph, only stopping for fuel. The Weather was not kind, despite it being the height of summer, and Trevor encountered heavy rain from Calais onwards. Despite this, the Royal Enfield's 500cc EFI (Electronic Fuel Injection) engine, introduced to the range in 2009, roared onwards and taking Trevor across France and Belgium to the German border crossing at Monchau, south of Aachen. The remaining 200 miles north through Germany took him via Bonn and on a fast Autobahn section to Gutersloh, where the old RAF station is now home to the British Army and its helicopters and will be until 2020.
Trevor had not advised his friends of his visit, preferring to surprise them, but he was in for a surprise himself. At his first destination he discovered that the house of his friend had been demolished and at the next address he found his friends away on Holiday. Undaunted, Trevor tracked down another old pal at his place of work, who proved suitably surprised and very pleased to see him. Further contact was made with most of the other friends, many of whom he had not seen for over ten years, and in no time they arrived with their own much-loved motorbikes for a grand party.
Most of Trevor’s friends are still active Motorcyclists, despite being well in to their seventies, and his Royal Enfield sidecar combination attracted much interest and favourable comment, although some wondered at his sanity in making such a demanding trip at his time in life.
The return journey took Trevor to the East of Germany to see the old Communist Border Post area, which still remains as a museum at Marienborn in the East and Helmstadt in the West. Heavy rain continued for the journey back until Brussels, but Trevor was delighted with the performance of the outfit. His only mishap was to pick up some stones while turning tightly in a car park. This had the effect of removing a couple of teeth from the rear sprocket, but the bike kept going in spite of this and got him safely back to Shrewsbury after 10 days and over 2000 miles. The outfit is now enjoying a welcome overhaul at Midlands Royal Enfield at Wem near Shrewsbury, where staff are speculating over where Trevor is thinking of setting off for next.