Thanks to what I’m thinking of as the Archive de Francois more illustrations have been added to 1903, 1904 and 1905; an earlier pic led to some more research which led to a new date and more info for the Millet (the bike’s now in 1893, the trike remains in 1888). The melange has passed its century and now includes some great Great War images. Meanwhile I’m busy updating the 1925 listing (it was Wal Handley’s year in the TT) and spending time in the garage bringing my A10 back to life for the first time since 1974. TO my readers round the globe, be well.
THE PLAN WAS to add some more yarns and a dollop of pics to 1925 and it will happen but I was distracted by the latest batch of illustrations to arrive from my chum Francois. In 1903, 1904 and 1905 you’ll find some fine studies of sporting bikes and their riders from pioneering events like the Paris-Madrid, Paris-Bordeaux-Paris and Coupe Internationale. Other pics have been added to the Melange and Cartoons pages and many more will be added soon in the years up to and including the Great War, not to mention the early 1920s. After which it’s back to 1925 when it was finally Wal Handley’s year at the TT. The obsession lives on.
AMONG THE PICTORIAL TREASURES courtesy of my esteemed contributor Francois are some charming postcards just uploaded to the end of the cartoons/humour page. Lots more of his excellent pics are now dans le melange (he tells me our French amis call a melange ‘un mix’…who knew?). Although the melange has no theme, the latest batch are mostly American which, inevitably means Indians and Harleys but look out for Excelsior, Pope, Yale, Sears…and a particularly historic Curtiss—no, not the V8. There are also some magnificent pacers. Enjoy.
Why didn’t I simply call it a picture gallery? Because today I successfully fitted the new valve guides and valves into the head of my plunger A10 and I’m in a frivolous mood. The mélange, which you can access via the main menu, is a repository for pics that don’t have a home in a particular year. The first few pics have been uploaded, there are many more to come.
Lockdown laziness and an A10 restoration have delayed the addition of pics but 1924 is now complete (not completely complate, of course; new material will be added as it comes to hand). I’m indebted to my pal Francois who has sent me a wadge of wonderful illustrations from his extensive archive. A number of these have been included in 1924 and many more will be insterted into earlier, and later, years. Pics that cannot be dated accurately will be published in photo galleries sorted by decade. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did—this rather wonderful image might whet your appetite. Francois, I owe you a great many beers, mon ami; je vous remercie infiniment. And to my fellow motor cycle obsessives round the planet, let’s be careful out there.
Just added to 1911 is a jolly tale of English riders crossing La Manche for a French hillclimb where they flew the flag against opposition including a 2.6-litre X-four. If you can’t be bothered to trawl through the preceding yarns wordsearch ‘Gometz’. Enjoy.
Latest topics to join the gallimaufry include the Maudes Trophy, wherin Squariels are started by schoolboys, the Channel is traversed by a motor cycle and gold medals are acquired en route.
Just added to the gallimaufry: some more stepping stones in the pre-history of the motor cycle including pics of the first IC engine and the three-wheeler it powered (Lenoir); a pic of the ancestor of the two-stroke (Clerk), a flame-ignited IC engine from 1838 (Barnett) and an engine running on wood-gas (Lebon).
The latest addition to the A-Z Gallimaufry concerns the adventures of EJ Pennington: coiner of the word ‘motorcycle’; inventor of the ‘long mingling spark’ and the ‘war automobile’; entrepreneur, philanderer and, above all, world-class conman who ripped off entire towns. Roll up folks—its a great yarn!
For your delectation—full reports on the Scottish and ACU Six Days’ Trials and the TT (including the first win by a Manxman), a fascinating feature on the evolution of the motor cycle, roadtests, heaps of new models including a two-stroke shafty, ladies’ fashions, hill climbs, races, technical innovations, a unicycle, two-wheel cars, Ixion at his most whimsical and, I kid you not, a hero supporting a Douglas (and rider) with his teeth.