Meet the Member- James O’Shea

Name and where you live

My name is James O’Shea and I have lived in Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire since 1984. I joined the BMW Club, Oxford Section in March 2019

What is/was your day job?

Up to Covid arriving you might have found me cruising London streets seeking your custom as a London cabbie. Post retirement, I had studied the ‘Knowledge’ over 3 wet winters riding a Burgman 650 and obtained my ‘green badge’ in 2013. Previously I had enjoyed 30 years in the Met Police, 5 of them on Traffic Patrol in South London followed by secondary school teaching, widening participation in H.E, crime reduction and then training and development but not all at the same time!

How long have you been riding?

I started riding in 1967 and apart from a 5-year break in the early 90’s, it’s been a lifelong passion. The absence was caused by selling my BMW R75/5 when ‘we’ agreed it would be a good idea to  finance a patio in the back garden!

What was your first bike?

I got into riding following a gift from a generous brother-in-law of an aging D1 BSA Bantam – all 125cc of it! Famously owned in droves by the GPO and ridden furiously by telegram boys it was my pride and joy and a great nuisance to neighbours when I discovered I could take the silencer baffle out and simultaneously reduce the engine power by 50%.

Other bikes followed down the years; Triumph T110, T140 Trident, R 75/5, K 100 RS, Trophy 1200, Gold Wing, Suzuki Burgman 650, KTM 1290 Adventure until currently a R 1250 RT. My work bikes had been TR6P (obligatory leg shields) and latterly R80s.

Tell us about your current bike

I returned to BMW ownership in December 2018. Under the cloak of plastic panels, the R1250 RT resembled my 1974 R75 – but my, quite a few changes really! The horizonal shimmy and the vertical shunt during revving and launching seemed to have disappeared – but without regret. With a few small additions from the Wunderlich catalogue and the comfort of Keis heated clothing year-round motorcycling is here to enjoy. P.S. Only on my 3rdset of exhaust pipes so far – apparently, they haven’t got the exhaust flap thingy working properly yet.

When/how did you join the BMW Club?

Sitting in the coffee area at Lind Welwyn Garden City I came across the Journal. What an excellent read it was. So, a few months later I signed up and started to receive friendly emails from Rosemary welcoming me to the Oxford Section. I seized on the offer of a ‘buddy’ and shortly after met up with Andrew Nurse who took me along to my first social evening at the Dashwood Arms. The warmth of the welcome was tangible. I was in the right place.

Can you share a favourite route that you’ve ridden or a memorable trip you’ve made?

Three trips come to mind in particular. My introduction to the joy of motorcycling in Europe started in the mid 70’s. I had met a colleague on a course and I had recently bought a ‘rescued’ Triumph Trident following the Meriden factory lockdown.  He encouraged me to join an annual pilgrimage of Met riders down to Pau in the French Pyrenees. Each year a road trial named the ‘Circuit des Pyrenees’ took place supported by local clubs, police and military teams. A week of learning the course and then the ride on the Sunday. Only one slight collision in year 1, I got better in year 2 and 3. After a hard winter in the mountains the road repair gangs were out in force. They considered it sissy to clear the excess ‘gravillon’ so one of the joys (?) of those trips was surfing the lakes of loose gravel in the most beautiful of surroundings!

For you, what’s the best thing about being a motorcyclist?

Just the sense of adventure each time I go out. Consuming the free legal drug of gyroscopic force. (  Riding with buddies.

And are there any downsides?

There might be but I haven’t found any yet

If money and/or time weren’t an issue, what would be your ideal trip or what would be your perfect bike?

Nice question.  Any or all of the mountain ranges in Europe – probably my RT (with the exhaust flap removed just in case) or it might be a Ducati V4 Multistrada.

Apart from motorcycling, what are your other interests?

Going new places with my wife. Acting the goat with my granddaughters. Sword fights with my grandsons – they are no respecters of age! Reading Scandi-noir. European cinema. My church family and friends. Hanging out with the Essex Hooligans and the Oxford Bofs. Contemplation and prayer. Debate – and my daughter adds, ‘as long as you can have the last word and get a laugh’. Being a seaside-student landlord. An abiding love of Europe. Learning new stuff.



Author: James O'Shea