Monday, March 30, 2020

BSA A10 on holiday

A BSA A10 can certainly be described as best of British and nowadays makes for one of the most pleasant of old bikes for dependable use with performance that can keep up with modern traffic. This one looks like it is on holiday. The Buddle Inn is a 16th Century smugglers inn on the Undercliffe at Niton, Isle of Wight.

BSA on the Isle of Wight.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Lawrie Bond Microcar Man - book review

Lawrie Bond is somewhat of a hero of mine and creator of many intriguing vehicles. The interest stems from my first car being a Bond Equipe - a fibreglass re-bodied Triumph Herald. Lawrie Bond was a designer of minimalist motoring, an enthusiast for fibreglass bodywork and the genius behind some of postwar Britain's most interesting vehicles.

The book Lawrie Bond Microcar Man passed me by until I came across it in a local remainder book store. Probably because it is marketed as a car book and titled as such. The content however is as much two and three wheeler biased as it is towards the four wheelers. A pity really that the book was aimed squarely at the car enthusiast market as this limits its sales and deprives a potential audience of the joys of Lawrie Bond's creations.

In his work Nick Wotherspoon has concentrated on the story of Bond's creations rather than the man himself and has not set out to write a biography. The book is what it is and achieves its aims excellently, though there is surely an interesting story to tell about Bond's life. Following his maverick engineering activities he ended up running a pub in Yorkshire.

For those that are not familiar, Lawrie Bond was the man behind the Bond Minicar: a three-wheeled microcar of admirable austerity - the early models were billed as the world's cheapest car and featured 122cc Villiers engines, aluminium bodies and wire and bobbin steering. The engine sat on a dolly with the single front wheel and reverse could be achieved by turning the motor unit through 180 degrees, thus the Bond could drive as quickly in reverse as forwards. Other Bond creations were the Bond Minibike (a riveted aluminium monocoque scooter lacking suspension but with ballon tyres), the BAC Lilliput (a miniturised motorcycle) and the Oscar Scooter. There was also the somewhat more conventional Bond Scooter that featured fetching fibreglass bodywork and the sporting Berkley range of three and four wheelers. Finally who could forget the magnificent Bond Bug!

The book is of 307 pages, well written, researched and illustrated. A very comprehensive work on Bond's creations and well worth purchasing. If the work had come to my attention before I saw it in a bargain basement bookshop I should have been happy to pay the £30 list price and considered it good value.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Well used BSA Sloper

Some photos of a BSA Sloper that must have been taken during the War (blackout mask fitted to the headlamp). The old Beesa would have been getting a little long in tooth by then as it is a 1931 model - easily recognisable by the instrument panel on the handlebars that was available as an option for one year only.

Posing on the family Beesa.

Note the slightly ungainly instrument panel fitted to the
handlebars. This was an option for just one year - 1931.

Same photo but with one more rider!

Monday, March 23, 2020

Horex VR6

I took a ride over to Moto Corsa in Gillingham, Dorset recently to have a test ride on a Royal Enfield Himalayan (more to come) and was quite taken by this Horex they had recently sold.

This is the VR6 'Raw' model, finished in black and with mag wheels that suit the bike far better than the other models which have wires. Personally I struggle with the point of a naked bike that pushes out 163hp. However the bike is quite a technical tour de force with its narrow angle v6 motor, how they cram so much engine in to such a small package is rather amazing. The bike carries a look of quality (you should expect that for a price tag around £35 grand) but also an air that it is thought out and potentially a lot more dependable than other boutique bikes.

Take a look at the Horex site for more technical details, pretty pictures, hyperbole and hugely expensive merch.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020


Judging from the amount of old photos I come across of BSA C10s, 11s and 12s there must once have been a lot of them around. Survival rate is not however very large: commuter bikes were generally run to the ground and then scrapped - there're probably more Vincent twins around these days than BSA C10s.

BSA C10 250cc side valve rigid frame alongside the family

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Shepton Mallet Autojumble March 2020

Some snaps of bikes offered for sale by traders at the VMCC Somerset Section autojumble at Shepton Mallet yesterday. Probably the last big event in the country before we go in to Covid-19 lock down mode...

Breathtakingly gorgeous unrestored 1923 BSA combo.
The bike and sidecar have been paired for life. A tall price
of £16,500 was being asked, but how machines of this age
and calibre of condition do you come across?

Great to see the original accessory legshields.
Proper jobs for keeping the horse shite off of
one's legs!

Rear view. The sidecar has a dickey seat.

James scrambler was a bit ropey but has a rare Ajax alloy barrel
and head conversion.

Don't know why but I would like a Swallow
Gadabout in my garage. This one was offered
by Yeomans and carried a tag of £2500 but
came with no documents.

I remember seeing this Greeves Triumph special
out and about a way back. Sadly now it has been
stripped of its Triumph motor.

Not many Clymer / Italjet Velocettes come up for
sale. Less so in unrestored condition.

Sweet little early Velosolex.

Imported tiddler projects were out in force. Here
a Guzzi Cardellino.

Love these early face cam Capriolos.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Back to Basics Historic Bike Summer Camp 2020

I attended the Back to Basics Summer Camp a few years back and really enjoyed it. Sadly I haven't managed to make it again since as I always seem to be at work on the dates it has been held on, the same applies this year. Here though is the flyer for those folks who can make it along.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Bicycle gang

This motley bunch of lads are all on identical cycles. I would take a guess that they are hire bikes and they are on holiday. Going wild for a week at Butlins perhaps?

Bicycle bingo back in the fifties.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Out and about on the AG bike

A rare day free of rain and it seemed like a good opportunity to give the Yamaha AG its first outing since the Exeter Trial. The going was wet and a few 'water splashes' threatened to swallow the bike but overall very refreshing for bike and rider to get some exercise!

First lane I planned to hit was Pimperne Down.
On arrival I was greeted by this. Tree trunk, big
gate and no explanation. I got my phone out to try
and check if this was legitimate or not and couldn't
find out so headed to the other end of the lane to discover
that it has recently been converted to a restricted byway.
This however doesn't excuse completely blocking it
up in this way. Just another example of lack of funds
and will to keep ancient rights of way open combined
with landowners trying to keep the peasants of what they
think is their land...

At Wyn Green overlooking the Vale of Wardour. Thankfully
this beautiful lane along the Dorset Ridgeway is still open .

Very deep water holes that I had to negotiate my way around.

The pond at Tollard Royal.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Vintage, Veteran and Classic Motorcycle Events in Europe 2020


Update: obviously a massive hammer has come down on many of these events so more than ever check what's running where and what's not for yourself via the links. Most likely at time of writing this update the best use for this year's events list is as planning to make the most of 2021.

The 2020 listings. Hopefully this inspires a few folks to get out and put some serious miles on their old clunkers. Myself, I'm hoping to get out to Santander for the MC Piston event in September and to also ride out to something in May or July. Chimay again perhaps...

The original reason behind this listing was that I and several other good friends take enjoyment in riding our old nails to events abroad at least once a year: as we already did the research in to what was going on it seemed a good idea to share the knowledge and save others having to do the same. Most of the events below are those I have been to or have secondhand knowledge of. This year I hope to make it to at least one, perhaps two. As ever the listing is heavy on events in France, Belgium, Holland, Germany and Italy and very lacking in ones in Eastern Europe, the Balkans and Scandinavia. If you can help me rectify that error with events to add to the list then please get in touch. 

There's the usual caveat that only a rash fool would use this page as the sole information source before heading off into the sunset. Check details for yourself, dates change, events get cancelled.  

Get out there and enjoy, don't be scared to take something old on a long trip, they were made for it, breakdown cover is a cheap and wonderful thing and there's a great joy to be had riding with friends on machines you've put together yourselves.

5 to 9 February 2020: Salon Retromobile, Paris, France.
- A sumptuous display of exotic two and four wheelers.

8 and 9 February 2020: Moto Retro Wieze, Wieze, Belgium.
- Billed as Belgium's biggest old bike autojumble.

15 and 16 February 2020: Retro Auto Moto Galicia, Vigo, Spain.
- Car and bike show in Northern Spain 

7 and 8 March 2020: Old Time Show, Forli, Italy.
- Mixed car and bike show.

7 and 8 March 2020: Salon de Reims, Reims, France.
- Mixed car and bike show.

13 to 15 March 2020: Auto Moto Retro, Dijon, France.
- Mixed car and bike show.

25 to 29 March 2020: Techno Classica Essen, Essen, Germany.
- Large car and bike show.

27 to 29 March 2020: Retro Motor Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.
- Good excuse for a trip to Barcelona.

3 to 5 April 2020: Veterama, Hockenheim, Germany.
- Very big autojumble.

19 April 2020: Circuito di S.Pietro in Trento, S Pietro in Trento, Italy.
- Pre 1930 motorcycle event.

19 April 2020: Horsepower Run, Veenhuisen, Holland.
- Dutch equivalent of the Pioneer Run.

26 April 2020: Ventoux Classic, Mont Ventoux, France.
- Classic and vintage motorcycles racing up Mont Ventoux. What more could you want?

1 to 3 May 2020: John Bull Rally, Belgium.
- Organised by the BSA Owners Club Belgium but open to all old British bikes. Gets great reviews.

8 to 10 May 2020: ASI motoshow, Parma, Italy.
- Popular track based Italian show.

14 to 17 May 2020: IVVMCC Slievenamon pre-31 Rally. Co. Kilkenny, Ireland.
- Gets very good reports.

15 to 17 May 2020: Tour du Calvados, Normandy, France.

17 to 23 May 2020Motogiro D'Italia, Italy.
- Hooning around Italy on small bikes! Touring event for big cc lovers too. Finishing the near 1000 mile course on a pre-57 sub 175cc is quite an achievement. 

21 to 24 May 2020: Oostblocktreffen, Friesland, Netherlands.
- Eastern Bloc bike rally.

22 May 2020: Boulogne Bicycle Rally, Boulogne, France.
- A leisurely and tipple fuelled trundle around the former Boulogne Grand Prix Circuit. There's no official website, the whole event is informal. There are vintage cycle happenings in Boulogne the whole bank holiday weekend. A good account of it and some tips here.

22 and 23 May 2020: Antique Motorcycle Club of America Europe International Meet, Raalte, Netherlands.
- Held at the American Motorcycle Museum.

24 to 26 May 2020: Paris Dunkerque Rally, France.
- An event for adventure bike types rather than classics but no reason not to take your old nail along. Non-competitive and looks like fun.

28 to 24 May 2020: International FIVA Rally, Athens, Greece.
- Annual roving rally.

29 May to 1 June 2020: Tour de Bretagne, Bretagne, France.
- Large gathering of old vehicles in Brittany. Several days of routes through the local countryside.

29 May to 1 June 2020: Ibbenbürener Veteranen Rallye, Ibbenbürener, Germany.
- Large riding event for pre-1939 machines.

30 and 31 May 2020: Coupes Moto Legende, Dijon, France.
- All old bike enthusiasts should visit at least once.

4 to 7 June 2020: Vuelta a Cantabria, Cantabria Spain.
- MC Piston organised. Sure to be a fine event.

7 June 2020: Rando Cyclo, Sars Poteries, France.
- Event for those who favour fewer horsepower. Looks great, search it yourself online, there are no details currently posted though the date should be correct. There's an account of the 2015 event here.

6 & 7 June 2020: Festival of Slowth 8, Burgandy, France.
- From the good folks that brought you the biennial Vintage Revival at Montlhery. This is what they do on the Montlhery off years, the Slowth is a biennial event for early and underpowered machinery held in the grounds of a beautiful chateau. Entry is by invite (though you can get in touch to check the suitability of your machinery and check out possibilities) and it is an entrant only event (ie no spectators).

10 to 14 June 2020: Wheels and Waves, Biarritz, France.
- New wave custom and classic event. Fully corporate and sponsored to the hilt, never been but several mates have and it gets great reports.

13 June 2020: VFV Niedersachsen Pioneer Run, Niedersachsen, Germany.
- Pre 1914 event. No web details available yet. Contact details on the events page of the VMC site.

14 June 2020: Antique Motorcycle Run, Laarne Castle, Belgium.
- Very promising looking pre-1940 run.

19 to 21 June 2020: Grand Prix de Tours, Tours, France.
- Glamorous vintage car parade held around the scenic city of Tours.

20 and 21 June 2020: Cafe Racer Festival: Montlhery, France.
- Popular does what it says on the tin bike event at the fantastic Montlhery circuit near Paris.

21 June 2020: International Rallye / Fete de la moto a Luc Sur Mer

27 and 28 June 2020: Grand Prix Historique de Bressuire: Bressuire, France

3 to 5 July 2020: Track Race Chemnitz, Chemnitz, Germany.
- Vintage board track style racing. The link goes to the event flyer hosted on the American Cycles blog.

3 to 5 July 2020: BMW Motorrad Days, Garmisch Partenkirchen, Germany.
- Huge corporate Beemer fest. 

3 to 5 July 2020: Biker's Classics, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium.
- Racing for more recent classics.

5 to 11 July 2020: Milano-Taranto, Italy
- Like the Moto G but lower key and possibly more hardcore.

12 July 2020: Stella Alpina Rally, Bardonecchia, Italy.
- Ride up a mountain with fellow enthusiasts.

17 to 19 July 2020: Windmill Rally, Hobro, Denmark.
- Biennial International Rally for pre-1940 machines run as a regularity trial.

17 to 20 July 2020: Classic Bikes Chimay, Chimay, Belgium.
- Belgian vintage street racing. I went along a few of years ago. Great fun, proper street racing, Belgian beer. Close to the town. Camp at the circuit for the full experience.

25 and 26 July 2020: Grand Prix Retro au Puy Notre Dame, Puy Notre Dame, France.
- Sounds superb, gets great reports. Hope I can make it along this year or next.

31 July to 2 August 2020: Schloss Dyck Classic DaysJüchen, Germany.
- The German equivalent of the Goodwood Revival.

1 and 2 August 2020: Kaiserseitausfahrt, Munich, Germany.
- Pre-1918 motorcycle run based around a Munich beer garden. Sounds excellent!

8 and 9 August 2020: Journées Coyote: Nogaro Circuit, France.
- Weekend track event. Looks like mostly more recent classics.

15 August 2020: Oldtimerdag Ruinerwold, Ruinerwold, Netherlands.
- Old vehicles take over Dutch town.

20 to 23 August 2020: Irish National Rally, Munster, Ireland.
- Perenially popular jaunt through Irish countryside. Dates tbc.

21 to 23 August 2020: Belgian Classic TT, Gedinne, Belgium.
- Belgian road racing.

22 August 2020: Rømø Motor Festival, Fanø Island, Denmark.
- Historic beach speed racing, car and bike.

22 and 23 August 2020: Oude Klepper Parade, De Haan, Holland.
- Pre-21 motorcycle parade. Dates tbc

29 and 30 August 2020: International Hengelo Rally, Hengelo, Holland.
- Large pre-41 bike rally.

4 to 6 September 2020: Glemseck 101, Glemseck, nr Stuttgart, Germany.
- New wave customs and cafe-racers, corporate sponsorship and hipster drag racing.

4 to 6 September 2020: Imola Mostra Scambio, Imola, Italy.
- Huge Italian autojumble.

5 and 6 September 2020: International Rally Sweden Skåne Rund, Sweden.
- 500km touring event for pre-1946 bikes. Looks great.

11 and 12 September 2020: Hindenburg Dirt Track Races, Lubbenau, Germany.
- American flavoured two and four wheeled retro dirt tack racing. Looks fantastic.

11 to 13 September 2020: Moto Guzzi Open House, Mandello del Lario, Italy.
- The Guzzi factory opens its doors for the weekend and thousands of Guzzisti descend. Can't find a web link at time of writing but this is the publicised weekend.

12 September 2020: Bielefeld Trackracer Treffen, Bielefeld, Germany.
- Vintage board track style racing. The link goes to the event flyer hosted on the American Cycles blog.

11 to 13 September 2020: Trophees Gerard Jumeaux, Circuit Carole, North of Paris, France.
- Classic racing French style.

13 September 2020: Veteranentreffen Oostende, Oostende, Belgium.

13 September 2020: Oldtimerrit Gullegem, Gullegem, Belgium. Date tbc

18 to 20 September 2020: Circuit des Ramparts d'Angouleme, Angouleme, France.
- Glamorous vintage cars racing around medieval town.

18 to 20 September 2020: Bol D'Or Classic, Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, France.
- Good if classic endurance racing is your bag.

19 September 2020: Nationaal Veteraan Treffen, Woerden, Holland
- large and longstanding gathering for all old two wheelers.

20 to 27 September 2020: International Piston Rally, Santander, Spain.
- I've had the pleasure of riding this event a couple of times. Brilliant. The MC Piston lads put on a great, friendly and efficiently run event. Not only that but it is fantastic value. If you like to use your old bike this is an event you will definitely enjoy.

25 to 27 September 2020: Normandy Beach Races, Caen, France.
- Fantastic looking beach drag racing for pre-47 cars and bikes. Dates tbc.

27 September 2020: Montée historique Maurice Violland, Coligny, France.
- Promising looking historic hill climb.

3 October 2020: Motorrad-Klassikertreffen, Technik Museum Sinsheim, Sinsheim, Germany.

4 to 11 October 2020: Rally de Colombres, Colombres, Spain.
- This is what the MC Piston event started out as. MC Piston moved the rally to Santander and some guys formed a club called Moto Club Indianos and carried on running it as it was.

9 to 11 October 2020: Veterama, Mannheim, Germany.
- Huge autojumble.

17 and 18 October 2020: Franz Josefs Fahrt, Bad Ischl, Germany. Dates tbc
- Large pre-1929 run.

18 October 2020: Moto Retro Leuven, Leuven, Holland. Date tbc
- One day bike jumble. 

22 to 25 October 2020: Auto Moto d'Epoca, Padova, Italy.

24 and 25 October 2020: Reims Retro Pieces, Reims, France. Dates tbc
- Mixed car and bike show.

20 to 22 November 2020: Salon Moto Legende, Paris, France.
- French show. The dates are provisional. No exact dates available at time of writing.

Finally, other useful listings: 
- The Dutch Veteraan Motoren Club has a good listing with some extra small scale local events too which may be work checking out.
- The Solexia site has a very comprehensive listing of French events, for all machines, not just Velosolexes.
- The Motards Montmorrillonnais site also has a long listing of French events.
- For Italian events (car and bike are listed) check the ASI site.
- Belgian events at the Oldtimerweb events page.
- The Scandinavian Vincent Club has events listings covering Scandinavia.