Wednesday, December 28, 2022

The Sasebo Titan


A different wheeled device from the usual fare on this blog. I figured though if you're into old motorcycles and bicycles you've probably got an appreciation for other old tat...

My seafaring has taken me to Japan regularly of late and I've spent a little while in the port city of Sasebo. The Naval yard in Sasebo was founded in 1886 and quickly grew to become one of the Japanese Navy's most important bases. Sasebo is on the Southern Island of Kyushu in the Nagasaki Prefecture.

The aforementioned 'Titan' is a giant crane situated in the SSK Shipyard in Sasebo. SSK occupies the site of the former Imperial Navy Arsenal and was founded in 1946. The US Navy is also resident in the yard and carries a strong presence.

Something I find wonderful in Japan is that useful items are preserved and kept in use, there is little modernisation for the sake of it. The Titan dates from 1913 and was built in Scotland. It is the oldest and one of the largest cranes on site but amongst its fellows there are several that are more than 80 years old and still in use.

There is a fascinating story behind the Titan. I'm a firm believer that if a tale has already been well told then there's little point in paraphrasing it so if you would like to further your knowledge of the Titan I would suggest taking a look here:

Tuesday, December 20, 2022


In the bleak mid-winter here are some pictures from the brilliant Dreamland theme park at Margate on a scorching day last summer. These wonderfully restored motorcycles and scoots are on the Double Decker ride. On the upper level of the Double Decker are rocket ships and the lower can be swapped out between Austin J40 cars and the pictured two wheelers.

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Great Dorset Steam Fair 2022 pt1

Some pictures from a lengthy meander around The Great Dorset Steam Fair way back in August when the sun was blazing.

The majority of the pictures in this post are from the World War 1 display area, always a poignant and impressive display. If you have never been the Steam Fair is well worth a visit though it's having a fallow year in 2023. Set the August Bank Holiday in your diary for 2024...

What it's all about. Steam engines. Lots of them.

Model T Ford in the WW1 display area.

Triumph despatch rider bikes.

'Trusty' Triumph Model H.

Veteran era Triumph in the WW1 display.

And another Model H.

From the 'Blitz' display area.

And finally for now, always a favourite of mine,
the road building camp.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Avon Cling Tyres 1963

Avon's brochure from 1963 for their 'cling' rubber tyres. Even today 'cling' still appears in some of the Avon promo material.

For fun there's also a couple of youtube clips below:

The first is a promo for motorcycle cling tyres, unfortunately it looks like it has been filmed on a phone looking at a cathrode ray tv through a fish tank but is still worth a quick watch.

The second is celebrating 100 years of Avon Tyres published by Ride Magazine, not much informative content but it features a guy wearing a suit hooning around on a Vincent Rapide.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Lundy Flyers Golden Mile

Waiting for an escort down the beach.
The jeep is a tender vehicle, all the tenders
were WW2 machinery. Very cool.

Been meaning to post this for a while as the event was back in early September but, hey, this isn't a hot of the press news site so it hardly matters.

I'm not a fan of the phrase 'bucket list' but taking part in a beach sprint has been on mine for a good while now. I knew from my work schedule that I would be at home for the Lundy Flyers event and it being in Devon it was relatively local.

As it turned out in the end I was kind of wrong on both these counts as come that weekend I could only manage to attend on the Saturday and it was a three hour drive from home, but totally worth it.

Saunton Sands 'village' in the distance, it's a long
beach and access is all the way in the distance.
Given the number of 'civilians' on the beach riding
to and fro needed an official escort.

The event is at Saunton Sands in North Devon and is organised by the Lundy Flyers, a local Hot Rod club. The entry is eclectic and the atmosphere wonderfully casual. Basically, enter, turn up and ride / drive. The racing is head to head and not timed so escapes too much regulation

I entered my ZB32 Gold Star, yes, I had some concerns about thrashing it on the sand but ultimately it's only a few runs and if you make sure to wash carefully immediately after there's no long term damage.

Over the day I got in about six runs down the 1/8th mile strip. The sand was reasonably solid but none the less as the speed gets up it's fairly hairy, just keep the power on and the weight back and cross your fingers. At least the ZB32 carries its weight nice and low. As above it's all fairly casual so it's definitely the taking part rather than the winning. On the day you chose a partner for the runs, just picking someone with a bike that looked like a fair match, it worked well, we (the Goldie and I) won as many runs as we lost and in the end most of it came down to gear changes and which line on the sand was taken.

So, in the end, yep, a brilliant day out and a fanstastic event. Totally recommended either as entrant or spectator. There's a really good friendly vibe there and some great machinery to watch being thrashed.