Crawford has had a lifetime passion for old motorbikes. He told Ellie House why speed isn’t the answer to everything
When it comes to motorbikes, Crawford may not have the fastest ride but he’s certainly making history when he takes to the road.
The grandfather from Aberdeen has been passionate about motorbikes since he was a teenager.
The 67-year-old retired commercial diver isn’t interested in speed though, for Crawford would rather hear the revs of the past.
He is the proud owner of five bikes, but his oldest acquisition is a 1930 AJS 250CC.
Crawford bought the AJS three years ago, hankering after a bike more than 20 years ago.
He may not be able to ride the AJS regularly, but that hasn’t stopped him from getting his hands dirty.
“I must have been about 16 when my passion for motorbikes started. It was called scrambling back in those days and I’ve been hooked ever since.
“By the time I started working in the oil industry and I had a family, life seemed pretty busy though.
“I think I bought my first bike in the same year my daughter was born, so 1976.
“Now I’m retired I have far more time to do what I love, although I’m trying to not start a collection.
“I look around and realise I’ve got eight motorbikes, sell a few before buying more and realise I’m right back where I started.
“I owned an AJS in the 90s and by the time it came to buying one again, it was far more difficult.
“You don’t find them lying about in barns any more.”
Crawford spied an AJS online and took a leap of faith after deciding to buy it without viewing, as it was all the way in Wales.
“I had it sent up by a motorbike courier and I was so pleased when it arrived,” he said.
“It was in pretty good condition but I decided to strip it down. I like to know what I’m sitting on.”
Crawford spent a year rebuilding the AJS which has since been on several outings to motorbike rallies.
Riding her is certainly not for the faint-hearted, however.
“The AJS can only go at about 35 miles per hour, but driving her is certainly an experience,” said Crawford.
“The suspension is virtually none existent, it consists of a saddle and springs.
“You feel every single pothole and it’s all hand gear changes.
“The AJS certainly isn’t built for everyday use – she’s more used to doing, say, one 100-mile circuit.”
Crawford has also made plenty of friends thanks to his lifelong hobby. He is chairman of the north-east division of the Vintage Motorcycle Club.
The history of his AJS is unclear but Crawford believes it spent most of its life in Wales.
“From what little I know, I don’t think the bike went very far,” he said.
“My guess is that it broke down one day and got put into storage for years before it was finally taken out again.
“I think the thing I love about it the most is that it’s quite unusual because of the engine.
“Bikes of that age are much larger usually.
“I would go as far to say that this could well be the only AJS of its type in Scotland.
“Every time people see it they always remark how unusual it is, which is lovely to hear.
“I don’t think I’ll sell her just yet, unless something else comes along that I’m hankering after.
“I enjoy restoring bikes as much as riding them. It’s been self-taught mostly and hasn’t gone wrong so far.”