What's in a name? PDF Print Email
Written by John Rushworth   
Monday, 28 February 2011 08:40

In my late teens and with some chagrin I had to accept that my younger
brother had just came home with a better looking girlfriend than mine. Her
name was Eleanor McIntyre. Petty sibling jealousies subsided when I
realised that her Dad was the Gilera works rider Bob McIntyre, who sadly
died from injuries sustained at Oulton Park in August 1962. Pretty girls
gave way to beautiful motorcycles and my fascination with the marque and
100mph TT laps began.

Gileras were out of my financial league, until the name was resurrected in
a more affordable form in the 1990s when the Gilera Saturno was released.
They were still expensive for the time though. I'd always been interested in
simple single cylinder motorcycles, with cafe racer styling. My dream
being a BSA DBD34 BSA Goldstar. They though were over £10,000 and
any black jacket greaser jukebox hanging about, was going to have to
come cheaper.

Working offshore as an ROV pilot, I was able to save the £5,000 or so for
the Saturno. Once bought and residing in my living room (where else
should your motorcycle live?) I wanted to share this passion with others.
Owners were few and far between with around only 50 bikes being
imported to the UK. Through the importers I managed to get in touch with a
few other owners and we arranged to meet at Donington Park. The race
meet was a GP or WSB. I forget which, as I only had the real red blooded
motorcycles on my mind.

We met in 1994. A club was proposed. I had an innate objection to the
word club. As Groucho Marx said, "I'd never want to be a member of any
club that would have me as a member!" I felt the same way, not from any
fundamental dislike of club goings on but more that it was wholly
unrealistic to have club meets and a sharing of information, with such a
disparate group of individuals and geographic locations.

Gilera  was a classic motorcycle name brought to life again at the dawn of
technological revolution. The Internet (the network of networks) had been
around for years but Tim Berners-Lee and the World Wide Web along with
the first Web browsers was only just starting and shifting how people
communicated. Around that time I'd started a business and registered the
domain motorcycle.co.uk. I realised that marginal interests could be  far
more interesting with shared resources via web pages, email and all with a
global reach.

It was for that reason that I proposed the name 'The Gilera Network'. Paper
still held sway but Pete Fisher was a net convert and my radical ideas of
not being a club as such were pushed forward and accepted. Along with
Pete, David Champion and keen others the GeN and the network of owners
and information began to flow. We had a few web pages and even owners
in the Southern Hemisphere.

Now many years later technology and owners may have moved on but
those initial objections to being clubby still seem to hold sway. The Gilera
Network was probably the first UK motorcycle network of owners - and now
thanks to Pete and you the reader, it is still alive in modern HTML coding
and beyond form. A big thanks to Pete and the tentacles of the net.
Without the Internet and the Web in particular you'd not be reading these
words written as they are from a small Scottish island via a mobile phone
link. No broadband in my flat. How retro! Still even with archaic modem
speeds the revolution still allows me to play a part.

Maybe it's worth noting that up to now I have been living on a boat for
nearly the last five years. Without my water warrior dongle Pete wouldn't
even have got in touch, flattered me to death and forced you to read my
GeNuine ramblings. As a final note - When I started my Internet business
in the early 90s, my local enterprise company told me the Internet was not
important and my ideas would never work. Sky TV told me my ideas of
Video Jockeys reporting on WSB and GPs live from the track direct on to
the web was rubbish. BT at least appreciated my private networked global
diary tool. Maybe it makes you wonder who invented the blog then? Any
network though is a symbiotic topography of co-emerging ideas.

I rest my evangelist techno case then and bid the Gilera Network yet
another lease of life. One day in a 100 years when the electric eco scoot
kids, log onto www.archive.org and discover us - at least then they will
know for sure where some of the very first networked motorcycling
individuals came from. You are one of those history makers that can
record that future history.

Long live the Gilera Network.

John (ex Saturno, Norturno, 2 Nordwest's and RC600 caretaker)

Last Updated on Monday, 28 February 2011 08:42
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