There is nothing a Teddy Bear likes more than to feel the tarmac beneath his paws and the wind through his fur.
Eric came to live with me on 29 September 2001, a sunny and very beautiful day for that time of year. It was early in the morning when Gino and I left home, to pick him up in the town of Cheddar. You see, although I had Gino – who raced cars whenever he could – when it came to motor bikes, he was not interested and it soon became apparent that I had to get another bear.
I looked at many bears (both old and new) who would suit the part. I knew the bear which I picked would have to have a love for life and freedom and quite remarkably, during the course of my search, I saw an advertisement for a Steiff Mr. Cinnamon Bear and I knew immediately that he was the one; he fitted the part perfectly - I had already decided to call my chosen bear Eric. When I brought him home he was naked but that was soon to change. First of all I had to make him a jacket from a pair of old Levi 501 Jeans (I knew they would come in handy!) and I painted his name on the back in white fabric paint. It became clear that Eric liked Harley Davidson Bikes best, although at the time we had a Triumph Bonneville from 1972, but to make amends, I bought him a pair of Harley boots and a Harley scarf. Not long after, he was ready for his first bike ride, with the wind blowing through his fur and ears. He loved it.
Eric quickly settled in and became one of Gino’s very best friends and together they travelled to many motoring events, both enjoying the need for speed and both becoming very well known in their own circles. Eric was given a mascot; a very sweet pink Clanger who always rides with him these days.
When Eric is not out riding, he loves to visit Hard Rock Cafes around the world and a while ago, he started a collection of badges (now his jacket is full and they make him very heavy to carry). He has also visited the famous Ace Cafe and had breakfast with friends who he met there. One memorable occasion was when Eric went to see the late George Formby’s Norton bike as well as the late Barry Sheen’s bike, which is also made by Norton (I bet Barry would have loved Eric!).
Eric is a very special bear and a very good friend of mine. Let’s hope we all get to enjoy many more adventures together.