Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Cantanhede Motorcycle Museum

Visit to Portugal.

After Luxembourg on the Buell the 2CV World meeting was soon upon me and a trip to Portugal in my little car was completed. It was not without drama with the car leaving an oil slick in Portugal and the need to replace an engine oil seal on the campsite. Having fixed that the rocker box seals started leaking from the new found crankcase pressure. Moving on to a better experiences I finally read my holiday book on the way back. This was another Zoe Cano book “Southern Escapades” and her experiences in Florida and Alabama. A charming book that reminded me of my visit to Orlando and Daytona beach in 2003 also for the Biketoberfest. My plan while in Portugal was to find a bike Museum to visit. There was supposed to be one in Lisbon but I could find no information on that and the other was tracked down on the internet looking through the Bike Museums in Europe website.

There is one in Cantanhede which is about 18 miles to the north west of Coimbra. Coimbra is full of respected Medical and Scientific Universities which makes it historically interesting but as there are so many students there food and beer are relatively cheap. I only had a one night stop there and the reason for the stop was the Ibis hotel that had secure underground parking. My car has a ragtop and was full of camping gear and stuff so overnight away from prying eyes is a good move. My visit to this private collection was after 6pm in the evening after the owner had finished work. Was an interesting place to find in that the town was hosting a County Fair so the place was full of people and traffic. After a few phone calls we met up and I was directed into a pedestrian area top park the car outside of the anonymous looking building. 

Henrique and Pedro

We received a very friendly greeting from Pedro Martins, whose English is extremely good , and Henrique Eqbral, the owner of the collection, who then took us around with Pedro interpreting. Paul Diniz, another member of the team, arrived almost at the end of the visit. It was a delight of Italian motorcycles with all the ones you can think of, Aprilla, Benelli, Cagiva, Ducati, Gilera, Harley Davidson (Aermacci), Laverda, Mondial and MV Augusta. I like the lightweights like the Desmo 250 Ducatis, the style of the 175 Gileras and MVs but the Mondial 250 dohc models take the award.

Have you seen one of these before? Henrique has five of the six in Portugal!!!
Henriques passion is for Italian motorcycles but he also has an appreciation for British motorcycles and has a selection of Panther’s, BSA’s, a Royal Enfield or two and a couple of OK Supremes. One of which is his favourite that he gets to take out regularly. 

The evening passed by very quickly with discussions about why the British Motorcycle industry failed and how to approach restorations. I had a great time and need to return, perhaps next year with one of my Velocettes to be a part of their motorcycling scene. If you get the chance it is a great place to visit, not only Portugal but this museum, a tribute to Italian motorcycles.