Archive for ‘History’

June 7, 2019

Heavy Man!

Leadville | The prime destination last weekend was the old mining town of Galena. Historical seat of Joe Daviess Country and home of Ulysses S Grant. In the early C19th it rivaled Chicago in population and was the busiest steamboat hub north of St Louis.

May 4, 2019

Under a Blue Sky

Red Barn | One of the things I do when passing through the American Heartland is look out for old barns. Their vernacular spirit intrigues me as they always seem to complement the rural scene. During yesterday’s jaunt through Wisconsin and Minnesota I could have stopped at least a dozen times; however this structure stood out for a photo-op. The grassy ramp of this ‘bank’ or ‘basement’ barn gives access to the hayloft itself supported on the stone built livestock stable. A cupola is supported on the classic gambrel roof.

May 1, 2019

Ayrton

Senna | A quarter of a century ago today we lost one of the greats: Ayrton Senna fatally crashed his Formula One car at the San Marino Grand Prix in Imola, Italy. Let’s enjoy this simple image of him getting the shopping in at Monaco on his moped. The distinctive helmet is an icon of the racing world, his racing record up to his untimely death unparalleled. A record six victories at the Monte Carlo circuit is still unbeaten. His native Brazil consider him a national hero.

April 22, 2019

The Earth Roared

Earth Day | What better way to go out there and explore what our planet has to offer and see how beautifully fragile our home rally is than on the back of a Tiger. For nearly a Century there have been sharp clawed Moto’s roaming the globe looking for earthly adventure.

April 20, 2019

Gesamtkunstwerk

bauhaus 100 | 2019 is the centenary of the formation of the influential German design school based in Weimar and later Dessau. As well as founder Walter Gropius and later directors Hannes Meyer and Mies Van der Rohe there were numerous staff and students who were allowed to develop creative talent in the manufacturing arts – .Gesamtkunstwerk (Total work of Art ). Here’s one such alumni Heinrich Brocksieper, who worked on photography, painting and animation, enjoying great German motorrad engineering of the day in front of the workshop block at the Dessau building.

“Heinrich Brocksieper auf seinem Motorrad vor dem Bauhaus Dessau, 1930, Originalfoto 64 x 41 cm © Nachlass Brocksieper, Hagen.”

April 15, 2019

A Loss to Civilization

Nous sommes tous Parisiens | Terrible news from France today as fire engulfed Norte Dame. It is a City I love to stroll around “flâner à Paris looking at the architecture; and would one day hope to ride a Moto around doing likewise; stopping at the occasional street cafe and carry out another French pastime: people watching.

The Lady will be rebuilt and Paris will Triumph.

April 3, 2019

Woman in Charge

Girls Gotta Dream | Chicago selected a new Mayor yesterday; Lori Lightfoot – she’s black and gay: a trifecta in historic significance. The choice was achieved in a landslide victory by a population looking for change in the Windy City’s typical politics.. She got my vote and I hope we experience civic unity.

March 19, 2019

Cuppa

Royal Flying Corps | A despatch rider in the Women’s Royal Air Force (WRAF) enjoying a tea break while seated on her Phelon & Moore 500cc single cylinder motorcycle circa 1918. On 1 April of that year the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service were amalgamated to become a new service: The Royal Air Force (RAF). Image from the archives of the Imperial War Museum

March 6, 2019

Chaika (Seagull)

Hero for All | Valentina Tereshkova celebrates her 82nd birthday today. Launched atop Vostok 6 on June 16 1963 she spent 70 hours in space orbiting the Earth 48 times becoming the first woman cosmonaut.

February 24, 2019

Tea & Crumpets

The Riding Dead – current season of Ride with Norman Reedus sees him reunite with TWD co-stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Andrew Lincoln to take their motorcycles from the bustle of London to a tranquil Cotswolds. On their way they stop off at the 5000 year old Neolithic site at Stonehenge. The jaunt along the cross country A303 is undertaken under rainy skies. It’s a great episode.

February 19, 2019

Not a BMW

Cooler King – slim chinos, cut down sweatshirt, cigarette and Persol shades: he epitomizes Cool. A Triumph TR-6 dresses up to look German hits the mark too.

February 14, 2019

“Helen, I think we took a wrong return at Aylesbury.”

No. 1 Corinthian Arch – this year is the 60th birthday of the classic small British car: the Mini. So the blog will periodically dip into the history of the coolest vehicle ever devised. It beats the Beetle, dashes the Deux Chevaux, sinks the Cinquecento. I like this photo for the black and white photojournalist look as well as the Arch at Stowe where my wife live IN for a summer back in the mid-nineties.

February 3, 2019

Heartbeat

The Day The Music Died – Sixty years ago today a small aircraft took off from Mason City Iowa flying into winter conditions with poor visibility and crashing near Clear Lake killing all on board. Of course this was Buddy Holly 22, Richie Valens 17, and JP Richardson (The Big Bopper) 28; as well as the pilot.

Waylon Jennings gave his seat up on the flight to Richardson.

In regards to Buddy and his love of motorcycles; here in Jennings’ words:

They loved Marlon Brando in ‘The Wild One,’ and when they got to Dallas…they decided on the spur of the moment to buy motorcycles and drive back home on them.” Waylon recalled. “They took a cab into the city and walked into a Harley-Davidson shop. They had their eyes on a trio of 74-inchers, but the proprietor didn’t think they had any money and treated them like a bunch of bums. ‘Hell, you boys couldn’t even begin to handle the payments on that.

Then they went over to Miller’s Motorcycles, which specialized in English bikes. There, Joe B (Maudlin, the Crickets’ then-bass player), and J.I. (Allison, the drummer) bought a Triumph each, a TR6 and Thunderbird, respectively, while Buddy picked out a maroon and black Ariel Cyclone, with a high compression 650cc Huntsmaster engine. They paid cash, bought matching Levi jackets and peaked caps with wings on them, and rode home through a thunderstorm.”

January 24, 2019

Toon Time

The Hill – climbing up from the historic and commercial center of Newcastle is Westgate Road. It literally was the west gate of the medieval town that following the line of the older Hadrians Wall towards the sunset. Its role as a meeting spot for travelers is therefore ingrained. For several decades it has been the popular venue for motorcycle gatherings centered around the numerous bike shops, chippy’s and cafes. I remember as a wee un coming down from North Northumberland twice a year to go to see an ophthalmologist at the General Hospital at the top of the road. My mother and I would take a bus from the City Center to the appointment and I’d look out of the window at the bikes; exciting stuff for a young lad! It’s popularity is waning but there are some stalwarts holding the flame aloft for any roaming bikers needing an excuse to gawp at new models; or enjoy a lunch at a greasy spoon washed doon wi’ a mug o’tea.

January 23, 2019

Pheon

Ten Past Ten – Smiths are the clocks used on vintage British motor vehicles. Speedometers for velocity measurement and Tachometers for engine revolutions. Here’s a fine timepiece from the watchmakers at Smiths chronometers in military styling. They were a staple for British soldiers in WW2, wrapped the wrist of Sir Edmund Hillary as he summited Everest and an alternative to the Swiss Made items such as Rolex.

A detailed description of the face:

“The black dial features a somewhat traditional aviator configuration found on numerous mil-spec watches: a legible hours index with a triangle at 12, sword hands, and an outer railroad track for the minutes. Right under 12 is the “SMITHS” logo and an encircled T indicating the presence of tritium. Above 6 is the pheon (broad arrow), the official mark designating property issued by the British government dating back to the 17th century. Right below 6 along the inner perimeter of the minutes track is a proud “MADE IN ENGLAND,” a small element that differentiates the W10 from scores of other mil-spec watches.”