Archive for January, 2014

January 31, 2014

Army Traveller


There us so much about this image I like. The sepia tint of age, a smiling lance corporal dispatch rider in Mediterranean wear, and the rime-like dust of the road. Possibly Egypt, Libya or even Italy. Sitting proudly on his BSA M20, workhorse of lightweight and quick travel for the Allies.

January 30, 2014

Spit ‘n’ Polish


I duuno how you’d get an engine THIS clean! It’s like some silversmiths handiwork with finely polished tubes, pipes, covers, and fins. Mine will start clean, though not polished, then attain a runned, oil smeared patina of an engine used. Something more like this…

A motorcyclists engine, gets t’job done!

January 29, 2014


Clean, clean, clean; that’s what this Cubbies engine looks especially when photographed by the esteemed motorcycle portrait photographer Daniel Peirce.

It is an illuminating capture of the simple single: sinuous pipe wrapping lazily over the egg-shaped timing case, kicker and gear changing levers await action, and the cooling fins hatch comb-like across the barrel. There’s even a frame mounted hand-pump peeping at the top heralding in golden script: “Made in England”.

An engine IS art!

January 28, 2014

Cub Rocker


Only a couple of hundred ceecee’s of capacity but a stern grimace nonetheless. I’m sure fun can be had on this little baby though: “it’s more enjoyable to go fast on a slow bike than to go slow on a fast one”.

January 27, 2014

Round and round she goes…


After yesterday’s reuse special here’s one for adaptation. My wheel building exploits needs the next step of truing my new front wheel. I slotted the axle into my bicycle exercise roller. It fitted perfectly and spun freely. All I need to do is find the rims new center alignment and affix some nearby reference pins. Then spun, tweak, spin, twerk, spin, twunk. Repeat. Job’s a good un!

January 26, 2014

Make Do and Mend

Yesterday we went to the Holocaust Museum in Skokie to see an exhibition about Wartime austerity in Britain. The population had to tighten their belts, utilize less, close-in, and create a stalwart ‘fortress’ as the Axis shadow grew.

The use of posters was key to promote the needs and my favorite illustrator of the time Cyril Kenneth Bird aka Fougasse created pure form and message.


At the exhibition there was some wonderful COLOUR film from the war years some showing events during The Blitz, others about rationing, and one about the plans set afoot within the defending island state as German forces were breathing down their necks. There was a few scenes of the Home Guard ( Dads Army) going through their paces across a muddy common on motorbikes to become dispatch riders.


Could be a BSA M20. Spotlessly new and ready for service.

Wonderful film.

January 25, 2014

The Shed


The aged patriarch of clan Broon is of course Granpaw. His escape from the extended family is his shed. All his necessities are there including, just peeping from stage right, a British motorbike. Looks like either a Triumph or BSA. Well he needs some firm of transport to hare up to the But ‘n’ Ben…

Oh yeah! Happy Burns Night!

January 24, 2014

It takes a Village…


The village where I grew up has recently gone through a reconnection through Facebook. People who stayed, people who left, images of people as children, images of those no longer with us. Here’s a photo of one residents mother and friend in 1950 on a Triumph Trophy TR5 . This was taken along Oliver Road in the North Northumbrian town of Wooler.

January 23, 2014



Any self respecting vintage Triumph owner never leaves home without one! Here’s a near original set in aged patina ready to be rolled up, packed in the toolbox and taken on the road. Spanners? Check; Whitworth both open-ended and closed. Spark Plug wrench? Check. Tire irons? Some call ’em spoons, others levers but yep, check! Tappet spanner and feeler gauges? Check; tickety-tackety goes the engine in purring state! Spoke wrench? Check. Can’t be having wobbly wheels after the bumpy cobbles of Dent or the rutted tracks of the New Forest! Air gauge? Check! Pump is on the frame too lest a flat be had! Puncture kit? Check; complete with crayon, glue and vulcanized rubber patch. Grease gun? Grease gun? Yup, grease gun! Check! A small travel sized one should do, gotta keep ’em wheels a-rollin’! And finally screwdriver and pliers? Check, check. They’ll come in handy for something I’m sure…

What about electrics? Lucas? Uhuh! Well, three Hail Mary’s and a How’s your Father should do for that – good luck on that one old chap.

(This kit is currently available on EBay for $200.)

January 22, 2014



Just Do it!

January 21, 2014

A Close Shave


“A bloomin’ combination Gromit!” One way to show off the town square annual display. Here’s a superb show in the guise of our plasticine pals Wallace and his trusty companion Gromit.
Welshman Mike Prankerd went a step further taking an old 500cc BSA, giving it a rich red color and bolting on a similarly colored Watsonian chair complete with stuffed hound and started haring around for public good laughs.


A cracking good show.
Finally one for the album so to speak is this cutaway diagram of the sidecar outfit in a classic technical penned illustration. This is taken from one of the light-hearted Haynes manual for Aardman contraptions used on Wallace’s adventures. It even has the folded-up aircraft piloted by Gromit as his chair is separated from his master and takes to the skies.

Nearly as good as a bit of Wensleydale…

January 20, 2014


A rather perky lad sits proudly on his masters new late 30’s Triumph 5H.

It reminded me of Nipper peering expectantly into a gramophone speaker horn listening for His Masters Voice.

Even today the graphic is recognizable for the British music industry – although a bumpy industry of late.

I like this Gromit version….

January 19, 2014


Forty spokes, forty nipples (yes the wee things that screw onto the spoke providing tension), an alloy rim and a freshly axle’d hub. I have good photos of the left and right side lacing patterns too.


One side done – second effort after not getting the right cross pattern. When turned over it starts to untangle like a wiry spider…

Deliberate care with getting the correct length and inside and outside line set. On the brake side each repeats every fourth hole, with the dimple aimed appropriately, and cross spokes back six holes.


Then on the other side each also every fourth but the cross spokes back ten holes…

Nip the spokes hand tight and basic stability is attained.

Now to True…. Removing hop and wobble!

January 18, 2014


Nope! Not for a boot; nor an antimacassar doily neither: but the front wheel. Getting things sorted and ready to build the front wheel for the Cub. A 21″ alloy hoop, to match the rear 18″ one and forty new Buchanan spokes.

There are four different spokes for inner and outer hub rim as well as left and right side.

When you look at the typical pattern it has a geometrical elegance to it. A ferris dance of tensions on the ‘cycles primary component of conveyance. The wire spoked wheel was invented by Yorkshireman Sir George Cayley (1773-1857) who was also the father if aerodynamics. Understanding the principles of flight a century before the Wright Brothers. The optimism and supporting scientific and engineering progress of the times were truly present in “Eeh bar gum! Ar George” .

January 17, 2014

A Tree of Three


The Cubs fork steering head cleaned up nicely with the three coats of paint removed over the past few evenings. I kinda like the raw steel appearance of ’em. However I’ll may go down the typical gloss black. Or….. Racing Green?