British Motorcycles

Current Chat

Small editorial items from the section of the same name that was a regular feature in The Motor Cycle. The aim of this section is to give some idea of the concerns, interests and occasionally humour, of the day. Wording is verbatim (in fact I use a scanner and OCR where possible), except for minor "translations", for example "40 shillings" should at least register as money to younger readers, where the original "40s" might be meaningless. I've also added the odd comment in brown

From August 19th, 1920:

Carburetter Controls

The lack of standardisation in carburettor controls was, in the opinion of a coroner's jury, responsible for a fatal accident in Norfolk recently.(Motorcycles in these days had lever throttles. On some models moving the lever away from the rider would close the throttle - on others the same movement would open it!)

New types in the Six Days

Two three-cylinder radial engined machines are entered for the A.C.U. Six Days Trial. These are the Redrup, of which a description was given in our issue of Feb. 5th, 1920. Another interesting machine entered is the 500 c.c. two-stroke Dunelt, shown at the last Olympia Show, and which is now emerging from the experimental stage.

From October 18th, 1928:

Not So That You'd Notice It

About 4½ miles out of Alton, on the Winchester Road, there is a carefully concealed speed trap. £3 for 45 m.p.h. is said to be the fee!

In the Frozen North

A man who appeared at the Aberdeen Sheriff Court on a charge of negligent driving and being drunk in charge of a motor cycle, was fined £8 for the first offence, £2 for the second, had his licence suspended until its expiry in January and was disqualified from holding a licence for three years.(So the courts are tougher on drunk drivers nowadays, are they?)

From April 18th, 1929:

An Epilaugh (Epilogue, I assume)

Sporting model,
Careless he,
Level crossing,

Beginning Old

A seventy-three-year-old motor cyclist who was concerned in some recent litigation was stated to have started riding at the age of sixty-six.

"Hands Off" Means Handcuffs

In certain States in the U.S.A. any motor cyclist who rides "hands off" in populous area is subject to arrest, followed by three months' imprisonment.

Charge of the (Head) Light Brigade

A witness in a recent accident case is said to have stated that he thought the defendant was going at full speed at the time of the collision, as a control knob was still pointing to "charge" when the machine was picked up!

From May 23rd 1929:

Foot Gears and Failures.

How long before somebody comes off at Governor's Bridge while holding a five-minute lead and loses the race because in the slide he does in one of the new foot gear controls? Answer : Probably not very long. But without foot control he would never get five minutes' lead from a fellow of equal class who was using this type of change ; and in such a toss he would probably do in enough of the bus to scrap his chances, whether he had foot gear control or not.

The Indiscreet Hat

While a motor cyclist was driving at what was termed "an almost incredible speed at such a point", his hat was blown by the breeze into Wallasey Police Station. He went after his hat and ran into the arms of a constable. Later - 40 shillings and costs.

From October 31st, 1929:

Contretemps at Dagenham

A mule at Dagenham suddenly decided to stand perfectly still, and held up the traffic for three hours.

Out of the Past

The Sunbeam MCC is organising an open "Old Crocks Run" for motor cycles, to be held during the early part of next year.
And at the start of the 21st Century the Sunbeam MCC still organises the Pioneer Run...

Those Stripped Models!

Defendant at North London: "What is your definition of a motor cycle?"

Constable: "A petrol engine on two wheels".

A Taxation Rumour

If the horse-power tax is going to be lifted from cars - as has been rumoured - and a heavier petrol tax instituted, then it will be only fair to abolish taxation on motor cycles. And 70 years later we're still trying!