Motorbike is my another passion. It goes way, way back, to my childhood in polish countryside. I had seen a motorbike though my childhood, but never actually observed or realised what they were. Of couse I knew what they were, a mean of transportation with two wheels, thus resembling my bicycle in a way. I saw the older boys riding motorbike (usually only one, I can’t remember there being any more of them at one time) through the village, making terrible noise. We even had motorbike in our family when I was too young to understand what it was. The motorcycle was of the famous Polish make WSK. The only model, designed in 1964, was produced, with small changes through 1985, and included a 125ccm, 150ccm and 175ccm versions. The one in the family (I think one of my brothers used to ride it a bit) was black and well-worn, and by the time I was old enough to notice it, it was standing more or less permanently in the tool shed. The tool shed was a very attractive and mysterious place with tons of fun stuf I could play with, and it smelled of gasoline and engine oil. It just stood there, I can’t really remember it being used. I don’t know if it was broken or no one was really interested in riding it. Then one day it was gone, and I can’t recall what happened to it either. It was probably sold to someone. That became later a subject of deep regret from my side and my brothers and their sons – a fine part of polish motor history which was in our possesion dissapeared without a trace.
But that was the way thing were at that time – nothing really had a sentimental value then, things were either useful of useless. After WWII and Soviet Union swept Poland clean of valuables and quality products in all branches, the people had to deal with whatever they could get their hands on. Things produced in Poland and other communist countries were, hard to get (the usual lacks of materials sood always in the way of every 5-year plan), usually of poor quality, and there was never much point of saving them for later generations. On one side, you repaired everything that could possibly be repaired as long as there was even a slightest chance of making it work again, because you never knew if or when you could get a new one. On the other side – if it was certainly broken beyond repair, you just threw it away. No one ever thought those thing could be desireable among young people in 1990’s an 2000’s as the retro-wave came upon the former eastern block countries. The WSK motorcycle is now an icon of the past era. Sadly, I never got to ride it.
Then there was the moped I played with, about the same time as the WSK, or maybe a bit later. It was problably a Komar (“Mosquito”) made by polish Romet. *I say probably because at that time we called anything that had two wheels and an engine and was smaller than a motorcycle for Komar. So it could be just anything else. Except that in the mid-80’s there was not many moped types in Poland. So it was probably a Komar. Mine lacked both wheels, and probably the engine, and was dug halfway into the ground, so I could sit on it and pretend like I was riding without the slightest danger of traffic accident. That was pretty smart, I really can’t remember who was so kind to me, but I remember it disappeared from our yard after only several days.
Elsewise there were other motorcycles around, as far as I’m concerned. I suppose they were mostly of Czechoslovakian make, the Jawas in several models. I suppose they were the more exclusive bike than the polish-made WSK, Jawa had an international remomé already at that time, at least in the Eastern Block countries. Police og military in most of these countries were riding Jawas and there were quite a number of different models specially made for them.