Riding Texas on British Singles

Texas single tour

| July/August 2007

The Texas I know is from Western movies: A land of wide open prairies and Longhorn cattle that cowboys with a John Wayne swagger drive along the Chisholm Trail. But there’s a lot more to Texas than beef and Colt 45s.

Vanderpool, about 100 miles northwest of San Antonio, is in Texas Hill Country, where the roads twist, turn, climb and dive between rivers and trees. It’s the perfect place for riding a classic British thumper, and they don’t come much better than the 1969 Velocette Thruxton I’m riding with a group of men who prefer the single life.

The singular ride
Aussie Alan Johncock, owner of Vanderpool’s Lone Star Motorcycle Museum, is riding his alloy-engined 1953 Velocette MSS, while John Martin has brought along a 1971 Velocette Venom he recently bought. Butch Hudkins is aboard a 1956 BSA DBD34 Gold Star, while Peter Allen, who has made the trip down from Colorado, is riding the only pre-war bike on the trip: a 1936 Vincent-HRD Comet.

Leaving Vanderpool, we’re heading west toward the Mexican border and on to Big Bend National Park. “It’s a little too flat to be interesting farther east,” says John with due reverence to his Texas homeland. Peter is more forthright: “And we don’t want to go north — nothing there but rusting gas and oil wells, and the air smells like a bad fart.”

It is late afternoon and I’m following Butch as we wind our way north along Route 187 before branching off to Rocksprings and hitting Route 377 east. Butch is a Texas swinger — a bend swinger — and he’s making the most of the stomping power and impeccable handling of his Goldie. This isn’t the first one he’s owned; he bought a DBD34 fresh from BSA when he was a college student. “Used to whup the Triumph and Harley boys on my single,” Butch says. But while his first Gold Star had the chrome gas tank, clip-ons, rear-sets and special RRT2 close-ratio box, this time he’s gone with a big alloy tank, standard ratios and cow horn bars for a less radical ride.

First night stop is at the border town of Del Rio, where we cross over to Mexico for margaritas, music and dinner, and spend the night.

1/8/2010 11:06:28 PM

Great story! I would love to be able to recreate the trip with a few of my Buell-riding buddies this summer. Is it possible you could retrace the trip for us in MapQuest so we could experience it too? Please, please?

Ride 'Em, Don't Hide 'Em Getaway

Classic Motorcycle Touring and Events.

The latest classic motorcycle events and tours.


The sound and the fury: celebrate the machines that changed the world!

Motorcycle Classics JulAug 16Motorcycle Classics is America's premier magazine for collectors and enthusiasts, dreamers and restorers, newcomers and life long motorheads who love the sound and the beauty of classic bikes. Every issue  delivers exciting and evocative articles and photographs of the most brilliant, unusual and popular motorcycles ever made!

Save Even More Money with our RALLY-RATE plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our RALLY-RATE automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $4.95 and get 6 issues of Motorcycle Classics for only $24.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $29.95 for a one year subscription!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds

Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265