My Wee Cub

I was lucky enough to be brought up with motorcycles, my Dad, Colin, who owned a small garage in Aberdeenshire, was also a top trials rider along with the rest of the Mitchell clan. They were and still are prominent figures on the Scottish trials circuit.

My Dad also had a passion for restoring classic cars and motorcycles. After I passed my bike test in the late 80’s he gave me a wee Triumph Tiger Cub that he had mashed together with donor parts. Unfortunately with the bike already being over 20 years old and meeting a keen teenager, it wasn’t long before it met its demise after thrashing it down the A90, face flat on tank and a rucksack full of cat food (and it served me right when I had to walk a couple of miles to beg my Dad to collect the smoking T20 from the side of the road).


The following years I had many motorcycles, my favourite being my 1975 Kawasaki Z400. I made loads of happy memories with this indestructible wee bike, my biggest regret was selling it in the late 90’s when I was skint!


Sadly my Dad passed away suddenly on Christmas Day 2005, I was very close to him and missed him desperately. This also impacted on my love of motorcycles and I sold the Cagiva Raptor I then owned and never looked back. I never missed it at all, even on those sunny days seeing all the bikes out and about, I felt nothing. Until the summer of 2018.


It was a sunny day and the Glamis Castle Vintage Extravaganza was on. I convinced my husband Scott, who was a non biker, to visit. It was like a flick of a switch, my passion for motorcycles returned and I was determined to redeem my teenage self and the hunt for a T20 had begun.

My intention was to buy a fully restored bike. With my Dad no longer being around, I never for a moment imagined I would have any ability to take on a project, but on the 13th of August 2018, my antique dealer friend, George and his Dad Neil, turned up at my house with a 1961, rather sorry looking T20 on a trailer. To my husbands surprise I handed over the money and immediately fell in love with the lump of metal, dirt and dust, and assured him "it’s going to be amazing".


My initial excitement, soon turned to desperation, when it wouldn’t start, I felt completely out of my depth but being a practical lass, I started looking online for anything I could find and things started making sense, and I started fettling! My husband, who can turn his hand to most things, also got involved and between us and a bit of help from the Tiger Cub helpline (Rab Shepherd, Esk Motorcycles) wee Cub was soon running and Scott had also now got the bug! He passed his test and now owns a lovely 1962 3TA and a new Bonneville!

I love this wee bike but never learned any lessons. Glamis 2019, we decided to take the old bikes and take part in the TOMCC 70th anniversary run. After completing 70 miles, a plume of blue smoke billowed from wee Cub and once again we were stranded at the side of the road waiting for a lift home. Thankfully Tiger Cub hospital, namely Rab Shepherd, performed life saving surgery and gave me a good lecture and wee Cub is now running like a dream and I’m very canny with the throttle!

Wee Cub also now has a star roll in my advertising campaign for my tattoo aftercare business, "Yer Maw’s Tattoo Butter" we’re a small business taking on the big guys. We had the best day doing a photo shoot with my friend Kelsey and her beautiful Clydesdale, Sproot, who wasn’t at all fazed with Cubby’s popping and banging!

I’ll never part with this wee bike as it’s not only a tribute to my Dad, it’s transported me back to very happy times. I do know I’m it’s 14th owner and it’s gone from London to Wales to Liverpool, to end up in Aberdeenshire, so I’d be very interested to find out any history on it.


Judi Milne