Yesteryear: Vive l’amour!

My esteemed correspondent Francois has taken a detour down a motorcycling lovers’ lane in the latest instalment of his Yesteryear series. Drawing on his interest in postcards, Francois has combined a review of their evolution with a smashing selection of cards featuring happy couples and their bikes.

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Images of War

Expanding the Timeline’s coverage of the mid-1920s has been delayed while I concentrate on uploading material to the latest addition to this site which you’ll find under the heading Images of Yesteryear. This excellent series of pictorial articles was originally published in one of my favourite motor cycling websites, lpmcc.net, a cornucopia of rallying and touring produced by tghe Leicester Phoenic MCC. The series is being reproduced here courtesy of lpmcc.net editor Ben and their author Francois. My thanks go to them both. The third instalment, just uploaded, covers the Great War; the images really are first rate, as are Francois’ captions. More pics of the war to end wars can be found in the Illustrative Melange as well as in the main Timeline.

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French dispatch riders in action during the Great War.

More latest additions

There’s always more to do. Just added, Signore Bernadini’s 1884 trike and 1893 motor cycle (he also patented an Otto-engine before Daimler). In 1900 you’ll find a befurred young lady in a Levasor & De Boise three-wheeler and the pre-AJS Stevens boys with the bike that Harry built. Forward to 1903 for the Stevens forecar and Wolvoe’s first woman motor cyclist (inevitably from the Stevens clan), with mention of her naughty little sister. Meanwhile some fab pics from the voluminous archive of mon ami Francois will be appearing in 1885, 1895, 1896, 1897, 1900…etc. Not to mention additions to the pic mix. No wonder it’s taking so long to revamp and illustrate 1925. But as my GS850 combo is no longer doing her Torrey Canyon impression (thanks Rick) I’m a happy bunny. And I hope you are too. Ride safe, be well.

1893 BERNADI BIKE
Enrico Bernardi with his daughter Pia, after whom he named his engine, and his son Lauro.

Latest additions

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.

WW1 US AROURED SCAR

Odds and sods

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.

1900s RACE POSTCARD

The gallery grows

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.

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An illustrative mélange

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.

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1924: Finally…illustrations.

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.

1911: “Regardez, les Anglais. Qu’ils sont fantastiques!”

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.

1911 GOMETZ MEURIOT
“A racing monster at the Gometz-le-Châtel hill-climb: Meuriot and the peculiar design of four-cylinder Rene-Gillet machine.”