As the war ground into its second year P&M, motor cycle supplier to the RFC, was among firms taken under government control. The review of the year is now complete (until more factoids become available). Despite the demands of the wear effort new models still appeared, not all of them British as the Americans were happy to take a slice of the British cake. You’ll also find motor cycle sports reports from round the world, new products, a snippets, news, roadtests, a smashing bit of romantic fiction, loads of adverts…well worth a look. Meanwhile, I’ve started expanding the review of 1916. Motor cyclists were serving as despatch riders, in the Machine Gun Service, the RFC and, of course, the Poor Bloody Infantry. And all they wanted to do was get home and ride their bikes. Let’s count our blessings.
1915…motor cyclists were clamouring to ride bikes on the western front, as despatch riders or with the new Motor Cycle Machine Gun Batallions. But new models were still appearing and enthusiasts were doing their thing in reliabilty trials; in countries not involved in the carnage records were being broken.
PS There’s a great deal of material already posted for the 1920s and ’30s (with more pics to be added as time allows) and for some light relief the poetry section offers its own insight into our lyrical forebears. And you really ought to check out Ixion’s summary of motor cycling history; it’s a treat.
In the 1913 Features section you’ll find coverage of the ACU Six Days Trial that sowed the seeds for the ISDT. It was tough enough for riders to complain and vote over strike action. Things got pretty heated but within a few months that all seemed trivial—turn to 1914 for tales of motor cycle enthusiasts leading the charge to the front line. Before long despatch riders were having poignant letters published in The Motor Cycle.
When the Great war broke out a lot of unfortunates were in the wrong place at the wrong time. In the 1914 Features section you’ll find a ripping yarn detailing the Thrilling Adventures of a Scott Rider in Germany and Belgium. There’s a great deal of new material in 1914 with more to come.
That’s another year covered in some detail; look out for the first electric-start bike (from Hendee, of course); the Pope arrived in London, closely followed by Messrs Harley and Davidson; ladies formed their own bike club…and so much more. Features will be forthcoming on the TT, the first ISDT and the Scottish six days which was, as poor Jake de Rosier might have put it, no tea party. You’ll also find a rather charming Christmas story and excerpts from a less charming story but with it comes a smashing Crosby illustration. Enjoy.
Latest upload: a lot more text and a good few pics from 1900, including a show report and the 1,000-mile reliability trial. Enthusiasts, as you’ll see, could choose between petrol, paraffin, steam and compressed air.
When this timeline came on line the ‘pre-history’ section was light on illustrations; no longer. From the Big Bang (well, from a teensie fraction of a second thereafter) to 1899, the pictures are in place with 1900-1906 to be sorted next; the years 1907-1912 are already illustrated. Crazy modernists among you will find plenty of text and some illustrations for the 1920s and ’30s with a full complement of pics to follow. Enjoy.