Archive for ‘History’

September 20, 2017

On Patrol 

Vietnam – there is currently a phenomenal documentary on PBS by Ken Burns about the dreadful conflict in south west Asia during the sixties. Though mostly fought on foot through dense jungle, of from helicopters, here are some images and information about the use of some lightweight motorcycles utilized for single-track reconnaissance…

You Meet The Nicest People On the Trails of War Zone C

TAY NINH – Like Hell’s Angeles, the Rat Patrol, and the Wild Ones all rolled into one, the Reconnaissance Patrol of the 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry Regulars prowls War Zone C with 175-cc motorcycles leading the rest of the patrol.

The four motorcycles were introduced into the patrol by the Regulars’ battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Carmichael, who wanted a fast and efficient way for his reconnaissance element to investigate the swarm of trails that twist through the marshes and jungles of what used to be a reliable sanctuary for enemy troops.

“Knowing where the enemy is not is almost as good as knowing where he is,” Carmichael says. “This mobile unit can cover a great deal of territory in a very short time, which enables us to gain information on the whereabouts of the enemy.

In addition to the motorcycles, the reconnaissance unit includes Rat Patrol Type vehicles equipped with machine guns.

Patrol Leader First Lieutenant Stephen Campbell, Falls Church, Va., takes his men out at dawn every morning, with the flack jacket, crash helmet-clad cyclists leading the way. The unit has already uncovered several mortar and rocket sites used by enemy forces.

Major Jospeh Hacia, the Regulars’ executive officer, is convinced of the value of using the motorcycles. “At first I was very leery of the whole idea, but now I am confident it was a good one,” Hacia says. “Recon has provided us with valuable information which normally we would not have.”

Advertisements
September 19, 2017

Dealer

Repairs under Warranty – that’s what was behind the dealers doors in the 70’s. Poor management, product, and development back in the U.K. Meant shiploads of Bonneville’s, Trophy’s, and Tridents were sent ‘Statesward in various levels of quality… the red overlay hints at the bloodshed that was to be… well as they said back then: “You meet the nicest people on a Honda!”

August 21, 2017

Red ‘n’ Green

On Show – there was some superb vintage cycles on show yesterday; here’s a small selection: a forest green Triumph TRW. The military 500cc side-valve developed for multi-use tasks: courier, sidecar, MP. A smart item that’ll keep service like a Sam Browne belt holding a holstered Webley revolver.


Orion’s Belt – This ’37 Ariel Red Hunter was parked up with a polished engine, gauge cluster, and high pipes. Tomato red tank accent and gold pin-stripe adds a splash of color. These were the sports bikes in the pre-war period. 


The Green Enduro – New knobbly off road tires behoove this ’68 Sachs powered Penton 125 Six-Days KTM built ‘crosser. Would be a good woods bike to hare through the forests of Michigan; which it looks like this one already does!

July 20, 2017

Small Step

Moon Motos- Fortyeight years ago today Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin brought their Lunar Module down onto the Sea of Tranquility to become the first visitors to our moon. Their companion Mike Collins orbited overhead in the Command Module. In later trips a Rover was developed to go further afield on the surface… here’s what a Lunar Scooter may have looked like… kickin’ up some moondust… 

July 9, 2017

Car Heaven

D-Type   On our outings around and about Philadelphia we stopped in at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum. A seemingly endless line-up of sportsters from the last Century. There was one gap in the display.. a certain 1956 Jaguar. Asking where it was I was informed it was in the workshop. Luckily they turned the lights on an there it was sat up on the lift. Beautiful even from behind. The collection covers race cars that were used in historical events such as: Le Mans, Nürburgring, Sebring, Bonneville, Watkins Glen, Brooklands, Mille Miglia and Targa Florio. Fred Simeone’s ’55 Mercedes Benz SL300 Gullwing sits in the ‘shop, as does a Porsche 356 that was donated to the collection. 

May 18, 2017

Aloft

Air – like some Japanese watercolor from the Edo  Period 江戸時代 this airborne Triumph soars across the tinted page in a blurry motion. Touched by the glisten of a desert sun the lazily brushed lines offer the glimpse of the briefest of moments between the land and the sky. Superb artwork by HAMMeRED.

April 25, 2017

Two-Wheeled Philosophy 

Zen & Now – one of most seminal books to some out of the seventies Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (1974) by Robert M. Pirsig became the “On The Road”of its Day. Written as an odyssey of the mind and the search for inner balance it uses a real journey with his son on a Honda CB77 Superhawk 305 from Minnesota to San Francisco. Pirsig, who died yesterday aged 88, sought the metaphysics of Quality, and questioned “what is good?” The motorcycle is the ideal forum for this exploration; be it a vintage cycle or newer moto. 

April 9, 2017

War is Past

Century – A private of the Royal Engineers on his motorcycle. The chevrons on his lower right sleeve show he is in his third year of overseas service… One Hundred years ago today saw the start of a British offensive at Arras which, by its end a little over a month later saw close to 400,000 losses and casualties on both sides. The motorcycle is a wartime stalwart Triumph Model H.

Edward Thomas a notable wartime poet was killed in action this day. His work extolled the virtues of the English countryside and its invigorating open airs. One of my bosses twenty years ago was the godson of Thomas’ nephew, born in May 1918 he was named after his uncle. 

“And I rose up, and knew that I was tired, and continued my journey”

March 17, 2017

Viking Lass

Frige’s Day (Frigedæg in old English)- Norse goddess who had the power of foreknowledge. A sturdy TT Triumph is a suitable Valkyrie-like ride for possible warming spring weather that is in the foreseeable future.

March 13, 2017

2-2-2

Trainspotting – a bunch of friends in the mid sixties enjoy each other’s company whilst chasing steam around the country. Based in Weymouth they were present at the waning of coal powered transport. Left to right: Norman Gillespie, Denis Turner and Keith Robertson. The large bottles of Guinness must be some story… the photo us Denis’s who worked on the railways in the sixties.

February 2, 2017

Watch that first step. It’s a doozie.

Punxsutawney Phil – being the 2nd of February today isn’t just when the Wood Chuck eats us know if winter will stretch out for another six weeks but is now also known as a repetitive day. After Mr Bill Murray’s comedy movie from 1993, where a selfish TV reporter finds himself in a time loop on 2nd Feb and only through self learning of selflessness he escapes the cycle. 

The photo is Bill on a Honda XL175 dirt bike as a camp counselor in the film Meatballs. 

January 20, 2017

Potus45

Weekend’s Here – well, we got through 20th January 2017 in one piece (-ish). All I need is a horizon, a stout moto to get there on, and my gal riding pillion with me…

January 19, 2017

Noble Gassing

Neon – 102 years ago today French inventor Georges Claude patented the gas discharge tube, more commonly known as a Neon Tube. Formed into pictographs and writing they herald a company’s identity or message. 

January 17, 2017

Doughnut Delivery

Giant Scarab – I spotted this patina-rich coffee & doughnut van scuttling about the City recently. Elegant hand painted script cheerily advertising a morning refreshment for construction and office worker alike. It’s a doughty International Harvester Metro Van, produced between 1938 and 1975 keeping its distinctive flowing form well into the sixties when its edges were squared off to meet a demand for something new. The flowing gumdrop lines were created by the capable hand of Mr Streamline himself, Raymond Loewy. 

January 16, 2017

Spiritual Speed

Gallipoli Galloper – beautiful period photograph from a century ago of the Reverend Cecil Howard Edwards who served as the army chaplain for the ANZAC troops. I’m sure he experienced the worst of humanity in the Dardanelles. His model of transport is a Triumph Model H 500cc to get around Southern Queensland.