I’m on the ferry to Piraeás, destination Athens. Two weeks ago I saw Manolis’ Royal Enfield Bullet 500 and I knew immediately that that was the motorbike I had been saving my money for for the last 5 years. Simple, spartan and with this oh-so seductive old-timer’s look. After some research I decide not to take the Bullet, like Manolis has, which is the classic version, basically unchanged since the fifties and manufactured in India, but to go for the slightly more modern version, called the Electra. In the UK the Electra ranges in price from €4.700 to €5.300, depending on the options. All Electra models share the same 500 CC mono-cylindric engine. Of course, this being Greece, price here start at €5.500 for the basic model.
I had been to the local Royal Enfield dealer here in Iraklio, a guy who goes by the nickname of Asterix, real name Kostos Spiridakis, and who mainly specializes in long gone models of Harley, Norton, Triumph, BSA, Ariel and BMW. His workshop is like a heaven for old-timers. He didn’t have any Enfields on display but he called around to see if there were any secondhand bikes available locally. None were. Then he got me in touch with the importer/dealer in Athens, Michalis Savaïdis, who was very accommodating in me coming to see him on a Saturday when his shop is normally closed.
I also traced 2 second-hand Electra’s in Athens through the small adverts in a motorbike magazine. They ranged from €3.000 to €3.800 for 1 to 2 year old models. One of the sellers I could not reach, his phone was never picked up. The other, with the €3.000 asking price, was equally willing to see me on a Saturday. I made appointments for this Saturday, 31st of May, tomorrow as we speak.
In the meantime I had been running around the motorbike and accessory shops here in Iraklio to find a helmet. This is a major problem for me. I have a very strangely formed big head. Or so I am led to believe by all these helmets. None of them will fit. I need at least an L size, and for a number of makes and models only an XL will do. I want an open face helmet and the choice for those is already very limited here. You will usually find only half a dozen of them in a shop with hundreds of helmets. After 3 or 4 shops I was willing to take any helmet regardless of price. It didn’t help. So I decided to take the opportunity and combine my visit to the dealer and the seller in Athens to make the round of the bike shops there, expecting a wider choice.
That’s how far I am. I’ll have a very busy schedule tomorrow. Now I’m off to have one last rakí at the bar, my night cap every time I take the ferry, find a quiet place somewhere in a corner and try to sleep a few hours before we get to Piraeas at 6 in the morning.