Just as it says on the packet, some of the cartoons and yarns that made the pioneers chuckle, or maybe wince.Also unearthed are some illustrations that have more to do with whimsy than humour. In any case, like the poems, they offer an insight into those early days on the road. You’ll also find some rather fine postcards. Enjoy.
When riders were on tour they wanted to send postcards home, particularly if the postcards had bikes on.
This whimsy of 1910 was captioned: “The 8hp Uni with wheel steering and free engine”.
Another whimsical bike, circa 1909. The period caption ran: “What speed could it attain with this seven-cylinder rotary engine?”
Ride the bike, fly the bike…
So crazy it might just work dept: “The Post Office are setting a lead in the commercial use of the motor-bicycle, and motorcycling postal services are proving very efficient. Knowing the great speed capacity of the modern machine, may we not one day see a motor-bicycle non-stop postal service? Our artist’s suggestion provides for taking up petrol and post without stopping.”
This rub tickler dates from 1909: “I hear poor Scorcher ran into a wall and broke his jaw. How’s he getting on?” “Oh! he cannot complain.” Go on, laugh.
As the caption writer put it in 1910: The joy of the open road! What can compare with the pleasure of the motor cyclist when weather is fine and engine runs well.
“Pixby, after earnest entreaty from Mrs P, has purchased a twin two-speed machine with sidecar at the show (instead of the high-power single-cylinder solo he had in view) and wonders whether the placard is applicable.” Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, innit?
1910 caption…She: “Do motor cyclists of ten lose their lives?” He: “Not more than once.” Yes, this joke is THAT old.
Here’s the politically incorrect caption… Mick: “Goodness, Pat, and phwat is that?” Pat: “Shure now, and the wicked motor cyclist must have run over a perambulator and can’t get disentangled at all, at all.”
Inspired by Brooklands circa 1908…
Inspired by Brooklands circa 1913: “The racing sidecar becomes more an object of interest every day: our artist who attended the last Brooklands meeting has put on paper his impressions of existing conditions, and ideas of possible future developments in racing sidecar design.”
From the Christmas 1911 edition of the Blue ‘Un.
Trials were getting tougher by the year; this whimsy dates from 1913.
From 1914, and rather charming…
Here’s a charming trio of postcards from La Belle France. The caption they each carry tells the story: “We often need someone smaller than ourselves”
The sentiment on this card, depicting a French DR and his best girl, will strike a chord with many of us whose first romance was sparked by our first motor cycle: “And to see this gaze that bewitched me sooner, I’ll burn along the road.”