Wednesday, February 26, 2020

The family Beesa

It's a late thirties B series model. Not sure of the exact identification. Note the soap box cart on the left.

Everyone loves a Beesa.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Panel tank Norton Model 18

'Your loving Les' is astride a Norton Model 18. I'm not exactly sure of the year of the bike but it sports the rare instrument panel tank which, I believe, was an option. The handlebar levers are of the inverted type which would date it to very early thirties. An interesting accessory is the pneumatic air bag type strap on pillion saddle (made by Camden?).

Old time riding gear intrigues me and this chap's outfit is no different. He has a very cosy looking storm coat and a great pair of gauntlets but on the bottom half regular slacks and shoes. Riding my old nails I usually find that a good pair of boots is one of my most important bits of riding kit, if only to keep the oil splashes away from the rest of my clothes. Was it any different back in the day? Of course the bike was newer but it still had open valves and leaky pushrod tubes..

Lovely early thirties Norton Model 18.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Velocette Venom vinyl petrol tank cover

Well farkled '55 Velocette Venom.
I've got a bit of a thing for period correct farkles and my '55 Venom has been the recipient of several. The latest of which is this petrol tank cover. The need to farkle is an enduring one for the motorcyclist as tank covers remain popular accessories, though modern ones such as the Baglux are infinitely more useful with their capacity to clip on a useful tank bag. The fifties version has rather less utility, it's purpose is really as a tank protector though they  are derided by many as a moisture collector that can rot your precious tank away.

The Velo tank is greased underneath the new cover so rot shouldn't be much of a problem, even if it is the bike currently runs with an Indian repro tank so it's not a big loss either way. Personally I like the look of the cover and it adds a touch of authenticity and individuality.

I'm not sure who the maker of these tank covers was, at one time they were fairly frequently found and produced for most makes and models. Midland is my guess for the brand though if there are any old timers reading who can remember them from new please do let me know.

The Velo is a bit more understated with its new tank cover.

The cover required a bit of remedial work before fitting.
The straps were missing and needed to be replaced with stitched
on black cotton tape and buckles.

The Midland map case is another period accessory and,
frankly, equally as useless as the tank cover!

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Rocker's Thunderbird

A cracking photo courtesy of James Kelly. So many neat details in the photo. The bike is a pre-unit Triumph 6T Thunderbird and customised in a very period evocative way - whitewall tyres, leopard print seat and chromed headlamp peak. All we know about the photo is the chap aboard the Triumph goes by the name of 'Gray Bailey', his outfit is of a level of awesomeness to match his bike: drainpipes, turn ups, snazzy socks, pointed toe loafers and, hard to say from the photo, but that could well be a velvet jacket.

And compare our chap Gray and his Triumph to the background. The bike is a colourful ton up flying machine, he is a snappy dresser. In the background are dull fifties steel box cars merely capable of wheezing along at 40mph whilst the Triumph flies past them and their dull grey occupants. Post war fifties optimism and youth culture in one crinkled old snap.

Gray Bailey and his Triumph Thunderbird.
By the way the numberplate is a
Portsmouth one and the location may
well be Bournemouth.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Early Road Trial with Morgan and Combo

Another photo the context of which is lost in time. This just leaves us to make up our own narrative as to just what was going on and where. The time is early twenties, the aft vehicle a Morgan trike and the combo has a competition number. You make up the rest...

Early twenties sidecar outfit and Morgan tricycle in the
middle of the countryside, but what are they up to?

Friday, February 14, 2020

Stanley Schofield's Sound Stories

An unusual concept to modern sensibilities, Stanley Schofield's Sound Stories were once very popular. Vinyl recordings of motorsports were released swiftly after events and sold in decent enough quantities to keep the concept going for a good number of years. In days of less immediately accessible entertainments if you were a true dyed in the wool motorcycle sport enthusiast you had the opportunity to relive the sounds of great events in your living room any time you wanted.

Sound Story records are rather rare nowadays and seldom heard. I've got a couple knocking about but no means of playing them... I'll try and see if any friends have vinyl to digital players and post up the results.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

BSA combo

Four pictures from a family album, the origins of which are lost in the mists of time. The bike is a BSA, a 4.25hp Model (H2 or K2 perhaps), dating from the early twenties.

The chap is very dapperly dressed and the snaps more playful than many of the era.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Four valves four speeds three wheels

A bit of a faded photo this one but the shape is the unmistakable one of a four valve four speed Rudge. Looks like the couple aboard the Rudge are on a holiday? The tents in the background are rather uniform, is it a holiday or is it a scout or army camp?

Mid twenties four valve four speed Rudge combination.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Flat tanker leather knee grips

These leather knee pads were once a fairly popular accessory on more sporting flat tank machines of the twenties (or at least the machines of owners who had sporting pretensions).Whilst I would never claim that my '27 Triumph N is a performance machine it does have quite racey handlebars and the knee pads certainly add to the look.

I picked the pads up from a chap at the Stafford Show who was making reproduction vintage leather items. Lacing the pads on took a little bit more head scratching than I anticipated - in order for the leather to sit nicely over the top of the tank each eyelet must have the leather string laced over it in order to pull it flush with the tank. The pads do need to age a little bit to blend in but overall I am very happy with the result. An unexpected bonus is that the pads act as stops to the handlebars: there are no stops fitted to the forks and the low pattern type bars can make contact with the petrol tank at the extremes of lock. Now the bars are neatly brought to a stop by a cushion of soft leather.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Punctures galore

Thanks James Kelly for this great triptych of wholesome 1950s puncture-themed cycling photos. The captions are taken from the reverse of the pictures and all is quite self explanatory really.

'Trouble keeps me cheerful'

'John - as usual trouble'

'Somebody else's turn'

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Two Million Villiers Engines

A Villiers flyer from 1956 that is very self explanatory. As they say two million is indeed a gigantic quantity of ring a ding stinky little two strokes. Of course as motorcycle enthusiasts we think of their bike engines but the bread and butter was small industrial engines of which many many were made. Cheap and cheerful they may well have been but Villiers engines were always rather nicely made and of sound design and possessed of endearing characteristics. I've had several Villiers engined machines myself and have loved each and every one of them!