Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Handel House Salisbury Long Distance Trial

 A really fascinating image this one, a little bit of research reveals that the picture was taken in Fisherton Street in Salisbury and the bikes are in front of Handel House music shop.

It's obviously a competition event from the competitor number armbands that the riders are sporting and it's early too. Being front on it's hard to see details on the bikes but I don't see a machine there that I would date later than 1910. On the left is a forecar, the forecar format was dropping from favour by 1905 and the last machines were made around 1907. The highest competitor number I can see is on the forecar and is 33, so a fairly large event for the time.

The Motor Cycling Club's Exeter and Lands End Trials both passed through Salisbury, the London-Exeter being first held in 1910 on Boxing day and the London-Lands End began in 1908 over the Easter weekend. Given the size of the event and the clothing the riders are wearing suggesting that it is not the very middle of winter I'm going to speculate that this image is of competitors in one of the very earliest of London Lands End London trials.

Just as an aside on the bikes, note that several have mascots tied on to the handlebars. A reminder - as with almost all images on this blog - the scans are high res, so right click and open the link in a new window and you can see them in all their glory.

A very early image of the London Lands End London trial?

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Having a ripping time

Summer is not long away now! Here's a postcard that is postmarked 1914. Postcards like this were printed in their thousands, the bike illustrated is generic and the same card and message would be printed with different town names, a variant for every seaside town in the country.

Having a ripping time in Bournemouth!

Saturday, March 4, 2023

DR Douggie

Printed on to a French postcard this First World War image on a despatch rider on his Douglas.

The image is unusual for the uncleaned bike and ad hoc nature of the photo with the chap walking across frame in the background. It's almost as if the subject has just delivered a telegram and is about to depart. I wonder if he survived.

World War one Despatch Rider with Douglas motorcycle
First World War Douglas mounted Despatch Rider.

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Bosozoku Kawa

Spotted recently on a transit through Tokyo for work this Bosozoku style Kawasaki Zephyr 400. This machine has all the correct Bosozoku styling cues: slightly raised handlebars, crazy upholstered sissy bar bar saddle, race exhaust and aero-wing tail trim. The only thing lacking for the full look is a high up mounted dolphin style fairing. The paint scheme is quite understated compared to many too. The classic Bosozoku helmets attached to the saddle are a nice touch.

The 400cc class is an important one in Japan as an extra license is needed to ride larger bikes and insurance is more expensive. Smaller fours and back in the day two stroke twins and triples are preferred Bosozoku mounts and the race exhaust is a pre-requisite. Part of the Bosozoku signature is playing crazy tunes on the pipe with the clutch in so a loud exhaust and a free revving engine is a requirement. Check out the embedded youtube clip of a Bosozoku meet rev battle, it's silly, brilliant and possibly as annoying as the crazy frog.

Recent rev battle at Bosozoku meet.

Vice News short film about a female Bosozoku.

This longer documentary from Vice News gives
a great insight into the culture then and now.