Picture post

Just added to the Cartoons page, images of some interesting marque badges including the Henderson/Excelsior-X, upon which hangs a tale. Also uploaded, possibly the worst-taste oil advert to date (no need to wait, here it is).

More than 600,000 of Napoleon’s squaddies went into Russia, fewer than 100,000 came out.You wouldn’t think the reatreat from Moscow would be an obvious subject for a French oil ad…”A motorised Grande Armee such as the emperor would undoubtedly have created if he had known about motorcycle and the new Kervoline”. Eeeeeew…

1927: That’s a wrap, for now

This timeline is in a constant state of flux but, for now at least, 1927 is about as complete as it’s going to get (apart from a large number of cool adverts which I plan to upload over the next few days). You’ll find a report on the Olympia show with some interesting new models—this was a year of change with saddle tanks bursting out all over, with a growing number of ohv and even ohc roadsters. Before moving on to 1928 I’ll get stuck into at least a small part of the hundreds of excellent images received from my chum Francois; there are also some articles to be added to the A-Z gallimaufry including a major German motor cycle designer I hadn’t heard of till Francois put me on his track. Back in the real world the combo needs some tlc for the rigours of an island winter, the MZ still needs her new kickstart and a ride on the Sporty would be nice. Writing about bikes is fun; playing with them is better, n’est ce pas?

The world-class British motor cycle industry strutted its stuff at Olympia; George Brough showed off with a V4 in a glass case.

Inserting illustrations

As a break from working my way through 1927 I’ve just uploaded a batch of pics from what I think of as the Fanfan archive, that being the nickname of my French buddy who has transformed this timeline (as always, merci mon ami). There are some fine illustrations at the end of the Cartoons page; another half-dozen pics from the Great War in the Melange, including an extraordinary Harley pigeon carrier; and some fine studies of competitors in the 1910, 1911, 1913 and 1914 TTs. When time allows I’ll be setting up another Melange page as there are hundreds of pics awaiting publication. And I really ought to spend more time in the garage.

There’s more to see in the Cartoons page.

1927: Two items you won’t find.

While browsing a 1927 copy of the Blue ‘Un words and pics for 1927 I came across a smashing poem by a lad who had clearly read some Kipling and No26 in the ‘Motor Cycles of Long Ago’ series: a pic of the first OEC. Here’s the first stanza of the poem, you’ll find it in full at the bottom of the Poetry page, where you’ll find a selection of delightful ditties and charming illustrations. A tarted up version of the OEC pic with another showing the builder on his creation awaits your attention in 1901.
When we’ve ridden out our guarantee, and several thousand more,
And the mileage on the dial is running high,
Then the human engine seizes, or a.piston starts to score,
Or a frame breaks, and we settle down and die,
And the next stage (experts tell us) is a region bright and fair;
But is there room for trusty steeds besides?
When the hero reached Valhalla, did he find his charger there?
Shall we meet the old machines we used to ride?


1926: Ready for inspection.

Obviously it’s not a complete record but all the material I have for 1926 is now on line. As usual you’ll find reports on the TT and ISDT, there’s also a feature on Norton’s North-South-East-West stunt that won the Unapproachable crown their four Maudes Trophy in as many years. 1926 was also marked by a series of remarkable rides, including round Australia and round the world. Records were broken, mountains were climbed and some really nice bikes made their debut. I’m moving on to 1927; see you there.

Tubless! French designer Georges Roy patented the New Motorcycle.

You’re in for a treat

Murray, who wrote the excellent Murray’s Timelines you’ll see in the main menu, has been rather busy; he’s just finished a six-volume, 1,000-page flip book. You can find the link at the end of his page and, while I eschew hyperbole, it’s bloody brilliant. So don’t waste time reading this, have a look.


1926: Nortons on trial.

Norton wanted to publicise its ohv models. No problem: assemble them from parts chosen by the ACU, charge through the routes of all three MCC’ long-distance classic trials, pop down to Brooklands to pick up 32 world records and finish up with a fourth successive Maudes Trophy. The firm even published a booklet with a blow-by-blow account. It’s a ripping yarn which you’ll find in the 1926 features section.

“Before Kingussie —On the way to John o’Groats.”

Images of Yesteryear—c’est complet!

I was adding a couple of pics to Part 5 of the Images of Yesteryear section yesterday (from the 1926 Paris-Nice trial in case you wondered) when I realised that I hadn’t told you the entire series of seven chapters has for some time been on line and awaiting your attention. What you’ll find are a photo-essays courtesy of my esteemed chum Jean-Francois, originall;y published in the excellent lpcc.net. They include a history of the earliest days of roadracing, an entrancing selection of motor cycling postcards, women on bikes through the years and a great deal else besides. While Jean-Francois could not have been more generous in supplying me with hundreds of images from his archives, he understandably kept some of the very best for his Images of Yesteryear. Inevitably there’s an overlap with the timeline and it matters not a jot. If you’re a motor cycle obsessive grab your favourite brew and get stuck in. You’re in for a treat.


More from the war

Thanks to my esteemed correspondent Jean-Francois I have hundreds of pics queueing up to be included in the Illustrative Melange. Jean-Francois recently pointed out that the Melange is now so large that it’s a tad slow to open; I’ll set up another page for the next batch. Meanwhile I’ve just uploaded another platoon of Great War pics, bringing to current total to 145. You’ll find them near the end of the Melange—well worth a look.