Marjorie Cottle

Left to right: Miss Marjorie Cottle. Mrs. Louis McLean. and Miss Edyth Foley. who are touring the Continent on motor-cycles.




Daily Mail, May 17, 1928[1] Three well-known women motorcyclists — Miss Marjorie Cottle, Miss Edyth Foley, and Mrs. Louie McLean— a novel form of holiday, have set off to tour Europe by motor-cycle. Their progress and adventures will be described from time to time in these columns by Miss Marjorie Cottle. So far the three, unaccompanied and independent, have attracted both admiration and surprise on the Continent. They will visit Italy, Switzerland, France, Germany, Sweden. Norway, Denmark, and Holland. The following is a description of the first stage of their journey.


For months we had looked forward to our tour in Europe, but when it came to doing our packing we were not so certain of the joys of travelling. for how to carry five weeks' luggage on a solo motor-cycle is a very great problem. Having decided to take an absolute minimum and still carry a dress for each occasion, we managed to get all our kit on to the machines without overloading them. Thanks to modern dress design, that solved one of our greatest difficulties. It was very amusing to listen to the various comments about us and our immaculate machines in the boat. One Austrian assured us it was a sight he bad never seen before: "Three damoiselles on the motor-cycles." The crew were quite unable to restrain their curiosity and insisted on informing everyone +how the world had changed. But everyone is convinced that we have chosen the finest and most novel way of seeing the Continent.


Thanks to the assistance of the R.A.C., the Customs at Ostend soon let us through, but it was very different at the French frontier, where we were alone. The Customs officers could not speak word of English and our French was not too brilliant, so conversation was a little difficult.

Our troubles started when they wanted 92 francs each tax for our eight days in France. They would not, accept Belgian or English money, and we had not yet got any French. We went to an estaminet close by, but no one knew the exact rate of exchange, so they would not change it. We looked like being there for the rest of the day until at last we discovered that we could get change if we went back to an estaminet at the Belgian frontier, so off we set.

Having collected our money and feeling very thirsty, we ordered three lemonades of "Madame la patronne".

Back we went to Baisieux, expecting to find our papers ready waiting for us, but no such luck. They were so interested in us and our doings that while audibly discussing us and our luggage, they kept us another half an hour. We have decided to allow at least three hours for the Italian Customs!


Wandering eon further We saw a sign "Five o'Clock Tea" and thought we might risk some, but never again. The cakes were delicious big creamy ones, such as we never got in England, but the tea was awful.

The only thing is to do as France does and drink coffee. We have been unlucky so far with our food. On one occasion In a last despairing attempt to get an English breakfast we ordered boiled eggs. Imagine our amazement when they arrived boiled, certainly, but broken into wine glasses!

We are existing on excellent coffee and rolls now. We have had very little difficulty in finding our way, though last night when we reached Lyon and asked for the Hotel de Paris no one could direct us. At last an eager cyclist volunteered to pilot us there. He pedalled vigorously for about two miles back the way we had come and then proudly pointed to the road to Paris. Then to make matters worse the hotel boots was to take us to the garage, and as it was about half a mile he came on one of the carriers. It was the fist time he had ever ridden pillion and he liked it so much that he took us for a circular tour of Lyon. How we shall get out of the town tomorrow is the burning question. It looks as if we shall have to wait for someone English to pilot us.

From clippings posted by Paul Butler to Early Motorcycle Literature

MERE MALE READERS MAY BE ALARMED to hear that one of the only three clean ascents at a first attempt of a freak hill included in the Liverpool MC’s opening run was made by a lady motor cyclist, Miss Cottle, whose driving skill was, incidentally, one of the outstanding features of two of last year’s open trials in North Wales. There were 92 entrants.

Notes1. The Daily Mail was once a respected publication. It is now effectively banned from Wikipedia, due to its alleged consistent lack of veracity.

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