Continental capers

Just uploaded to 1905 you’ll find reports on roadraces in France, Belgium and Italy with some excellent pics of the top riders, notably the all-conquering Peugeot team. It seems our Continental chums even had races for touring machines, designed to imprive the durability of roadsters. And this was two years before the first TT. Who knew?

As these snaps show, Giosuè Giuppone took his racing seriously. The Turin Moto Club’s organised the Turin-Colle Serstrieres 87km mountain climb to help develop durable touring machines. The event attracted a dozen entries in the Touring Class from Peugeot, Zedel, Primus, Puch, Fafnir and FN. There was also a single 50kg racer ridden by Giuppone who stormed to victory in 2hr 1min.

Lest we forget

Yesterday was 11/11; the day after tomorrow is Armistice Day. So it seemed appropriate to upload the backlog of pics from the Great War to Le Melange. Young men with motor cycles from many nations, all of whom would have been happier riding their bikes to a pub with a well filled flapper bracket. Take a look, and join me in counting our blessings. Lots more pics have also been added to the first few years of the 20th century and as part of researching (ok googling) caption material I’ve come across some excellent coverage of continental races in 1905, including the Coupe Internationale which was a triumph (well, a Laurin & Klemen) for the Czechs. Or jump forward to 1922 and find out how to make your very own prop-powered trike.


Vienna or bust!

A race from Paris to Vienna…dirt roads, mountain roads designed for horse-drawn traffic…huge cars with huge engines tuned to the edge of insanity…and plucky Englishmen manufacturing chassis members from hotel furniture. Do yourself a favour: brew up (coffee or beer will do if you really don’t have access to tea), turn to 1902 and open the feature ‘Paris-Vienna or Bust’. You’re in for a treat.

1902 P-V EDGE
There’s something medieval about this sketch of Edge’s 40hp Napier being dragged back onto the road—the mountain roads were potential mankillers.

Busy busy

Having been otherwise engaged in the garage and on the road I’ve been busy again. So the melange picture gallery is about to pass the 300 mark; more pics and stories have been added to the early part of the 20th century (including a lovely contemporaneous report on the first Brighton speed trial in 1905) and I’m about to upload a car story. Yes…a car story that was simply to good to leave out.

More to see

I’m in the middle of loading another batch of pics to the melange but the sun’s out, rain is forecast for tomorrow so I’m taking one of the bikes our for a canter. Meanwhile, thanks again to Francois, you’ll find some smashing new illustrations at the end of the cartoons/humour page and at the end of the 1903 feature (accurately) titled ‘Dogs: shoot hang or poson?’. This is my favourite of all the yarns unearthed from the Blue ‘Un. It isn’t bylined but I’d bet a gallon of ethanol-free petrol that it’s by Ixion—if you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favour and have a butchers.

This image dates from 1907 when, it seems, dog were still faster than bikes.

Go to the pictures!

Not least thanks to the continuing support of my chum Jean-Francois, I’ve been busy adding pics to the melange. There are now more than 200 assorted snaps of our motor cycling heritage on show. I enjoy browsing through them; I hope you will too.

That Scott seems determined to keep climbing…

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.


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,, a cornucopia of rallying and touring produced by tghe Leicester Phoenic MCC. The series is being reproduced here courtesy of 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.

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.

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