Archive for ‘History’

March 21, 2018

The Westland Wet

Tarzan – 1975 July 17th, here we see Shadow Minister for Industry Michael Heseltine peering at what looks like the meager leftovers of a once vibrant motorcycle industry. A two-stroke 125 Norton Villiers Triumph sitting all slick looking with nowhere to go… The setting is the Royal Automobile Club RAC headquarters in Pall Mall. NVT chairman Dennis Poole isn’t amused as he looks on. Heseltine cut a controversial swathe through British politics from the seventies to the millennium under Heath, Thatcher and Major. He could swing a mace too! He’s 85 today.

February 8, 2018


Skeletal Remains – like some machine archaeology the bare bones of a Trident frame and accessory components hint at a fully assembled and running motorcycle. Fossil remnants of a T-Rex giant lizard displayed through the interior spaces of a museum are only a cursory attempt at the frightening might they must have been. Likewise this assemblage of rolling chassis need fleshed-out to achieve brutal speed along a roadway.

January 4, 2018

By Touch

“Triumph Motorcycle”

International Braille Day -Louis Braille 1809-1852

January 3, 2018

The Rob Roy Bike

Sage Rage – a wonderfully detailed Thruxton in mint green with a nicely balanced Dunstall fairing. Built by Mike Sadler of Division Motorworks in Canada as directed by owner Patrick McGregor. The side panel is adorned with the clan crest and the motto: Royal is my Race.

December 21, 2017

Margaret & Snowdon

Beryl & Tony – a current series on Netflix is The Crown, about The Queens life as a monarch from early days post WW2 to the present day. Its second season is covering the late fifties which, whilst the country has to deal with the Suez Crisis as well as Sputnik, her younger sister Margaret-Rose is enduring life as a royal single gal. She’s just met Antony Armstrong-Jones a hip photographer and lad about Town. He sweeps her off her feet for a tear through London’s streets on a peachy period TriumphThunderbird. Goggles and domed lids keeping them protected as they scoot over the Albert Bridge and along the Embankment. Ably played by Vanessa Kirby and Matthew Goode it reminds me of my days taking my wife-to-be home from her job at a bookstore in Kensington. The main photo is the real couple on a Norton. He snapped his photos with a Leica Rangefinder for naturally lit spontaneity.

December 15, 2017

Stand Tall

Reach for the Skies – Sir Douglas Bader (1910-1982) was. WWII fighter ace who flew Spitfires and Hurricanes against the German Luftwaffe onslaught early on in the hostilities. However he’d lost both legs ten years prior and was not recommended for flying duties. Being very impressionable, with Air Command and a lack of skilled pilots he was recommissioned into the RAF. He flew over Dunkirk and in the Battle of Britain (One of The Few). However he had to bail out over France in August 1941, was captured, and spent the remaining part of the War imprisoned at the infamous Colditz Castle. As was required of RAF POW’s he continually attempted to escape. He was threatened with confiscation of his prosthetic legs. Very much a traditionalist conservative on many issues; he’s still considered one of Britain’s hero’s.

Why is this blog subject posted today you may ask? Well I had hip surgery to repair damaged tissue in the joint and shave some protruding bone down. So in my post operative discomfort I can think of Kenneth More Douglas Bader as inspiration.

December 1, 2017

A Hooligan

Oranges are not the only fruit – singer Julia Haltigan sitting pretty in rust colored jacket, sienna corduroy pants

November 19, 2017

An Muinín

1916 – The Easter Rising. A time when the people of Ireland wanted to take their country back from The domination of Britain. It was also the year at his Triumph Model H was built. Seen at the National Museum of Ireland: Decorative Arts & History. In pristine condition it included a 2017 Tax Disc so is roadworthy too!

October 31, 2017

Ghost Rider

Hallowe’en – or Samhain  a pagan celebration midway between the autumn equinox and winter solstice, a time when the spirit world intersects this one, the dead were welcomed back into the home and offerings of food made to safely see through the oncoming winter. People pass through the neighborhood as mummers or guising to move amongst the ghosts and faeries. 

October 9, 2017

Guerrillero Heroico

Seremos como el Che. One of the most controversial figures of the Twentieth Century Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara was assassinated fifty years ago today in Bolivia. Sometimes hailed as a complete man: doctor and economist, revolutionary and banker, military theoretician and ambassador, deep thinker and political agitator; his revolutionary thoughts and actions were contentious, both hated and revered depending what side of the aisle you sat on. Phot by Alberto Korda taken March 5 1960 Havana Cuba

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.”

September 19, 2017


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.