1922 SSDT: Hard riding in the Highlands

The Scottish Six Days Trial had never been a stroll in the park but Spring came late in 1922—competitors slogged through  torrential rain, sleet, gales and blizzards, over boulder styrewn moorland tracks, up freak mud-covered hils and through freezing watersplashes. None of which stopped some indomitable women riders joining the fray, and one of them won a gold medal. This one really is a ripping yarn.

“Tam-o-Shanters were very popular, many of the competitors preferring them to more orthodox headgear. C Guthrie (348cc Raleigh), DS Ball (800cc AJS sidecar) and R Evans (348cc Raleigh) at the lunch stop in Perth.”

1922: Things are getting a little weird

More stories and pics are being added from 1922 including roadtests of the four-valve Ricardo Triumph, Harley’s 4hp flat twin and a brace of Brough Superiors; some extremely whimsical Ixionisms; a reader asking advice on a ‘subterrabrain waveium’; details of straight-six, four-pot two-stroke and radial-three engines; plans for an indoor garage; musical accompaniment at Brooklands; and a music hall artiste balancing a running Duggie (with rider) on his teeth. It’s going to be a busy year.

1922 LOW4 BIKE
“Offside of the Low four-cylinder machine, showing the enclosed transmission and the speedometer drIve from the propeller-shaft…the clutch is controlled by the left Bowden lever and the front brake by the right Bowden lever. The left-hand pedal controls the back brake and the right-hand one the clutch, for which there is a dual control. The change speed lever will be noticed adjacent to the top tube.”

1921: The year in review

Finally, with the MCC’s Boxing day London-Exter-London trial, 1921 is ready for reading. You’ll find a number of new marques, oodles of new models, pics of riders doing silly things, tales of derring do on and off road, advances in motor cycle technology, the arrival of bike club flags, a TT report (and plans to move the TT to Belgium)…enough waffle from me, go look for yourself.

Miss Peggy Fraser, herself a motor cyclist, is the only fashion artist to consider the requirements of her sisters of the wheel. Some time ago Miss Fraser designed two motor cycling costumes, which were published in these pages, and now she submits three designs for hats in suède and glacé kid.

1921: Silliness on Scotts

Today’s additions to 1921 include a report on the Scott Trial—definitely not an event for the faint hearted—complete with a charming ode from the charity programme which you’ll find at the end of the Poetry page. There are also a couple of new models from Rex Acme and Humber.

1921 REX-ACME 350
“Neat lines are followed in the new 2¾hp three-speed Rex-Acme.”

1921: La vie parisienne

It’s been some time since new material has been added (boring health stuff) but do take a look at 1921 for a report and pics from the Paris Salon. The French had lost their motor cycling edge but, as they recovered from the trauma of The Great War, their designers still displayed commendable panache avec un petit peu de joie de vivre. Vive la France!


1914: More yarns, lots of ads

It’s never finished. I came across some entertaining yarns from Motor Cycling to ad to the many Motor Cycle stories already to be fond in 1914, and you’ll also find a cornucopia of adverts, including lots related to the outbreak of The Great War. And now, while awaiting delivery of some much needed A10 parts, it’s back to 1921 for me.


1900: Hands across the sea

That wonderful American website archive.org has, among its countles files, some volumes of that wonderful American magazine The Bicycling World and Motocycle Review, one of which covers part of 1900. As a result the entry for 1900 has tripled in size; fascinating yarns include a report on Oscar Hedstrom riding the prototype Indian—before it was called an Indian—the launch of the Merkel, the three-cylinder radial steam-powered Abel, the 3hp Patee tandem, the Marsh,  Holley, Hampden, Regas, Fleming…not to mention debutante’s at the Paris show including La Centaure, La Victoire, La Salvator and the Boillod with an in-line twin motor mounted head downwards on its carrier. There’s also engaging coverage of the nascent English and French industries from a colonial point of view (including the arrival of the Singer) and much else besides. Well worth a look. And now I will get back to trawling through a 1921 volume of The Motor Cycle but will doubtless be tempted back to Bicycling World. Not to mention the usual hours in the garage. Lock-down, esteemed reader, need hold no fears for a motor cycle obsessive. Be well.

“Fred Patee, the head of the company, and Joshua Morris, the inventor of the motor, Patee being the man with the dimples, at the rear of the machine.”

Birth of a motocycling nation

While trawling through copies of The Bicycling World and Motocycle Review I was struck by the way the masthead evolved as the new-fangled ‘motocycles’ started as an afterthought, achieved parity and ultimately pushed the pedal cycles out of the way.

From pushbikes to motorbikes: 1900, 1909 and 1910.

1901: An American view

years ago I laid out hundreds of A4 pages in preparation for a print version of this timeline. Wiser heads prevailed which is a God Thing because a website has flexibility. Take 1901. I’d assembled about 3,000 words and a good selection of pictures covering the year and moved on. And then I was pointed at that wonderful website archive.org; specifically a number of volumes of The Bicycling World and Motocycle Review. From it extracted stories and pictures which have doubled the size of the 1901 entry, not least a description of Hedstrom’s first public ride on his new bike—before it was christened Indian. I fear the ongoing expansion of the 1921 entry will be in abeyance while I trawl through further volumes of Bicycling World; watch this space for news of more finds.