Continuing to trawl through long neglected photographs, I came across the many, many pictures that I took last September when I visited the National Motorcycle Museum near Birmingham.
This is a brilliant place – if you like classic motorcycles it is a definite “must visit”.
It is crammed wall-to-wall with interesting, exotic and down-right weird machines from Britain’s motorcycling past – there were all the iconic manufacturers like Triumph, Norton and Brough Superior, but dozens more that I’d never heard of: Federation (sold at the Co-op), The Fairy (became Douglas) and Ixion to name just three of many.
I was once told that there was at least one British motorcycle manufacturer for every letter of the alphabet and, having spent a happy few hours trawling through the Motorcycle Museum I can believe it – you want a ‘Q’? I’ll give you The Quadrant. ‘O’? Well there’s the OK Supreme. ‘K’? Saved by Kynoch: it only existed for a year from 1912-13, but it still counts!
I was only stumped for a U, X and Y… any offers?
There were the oldest bikes, which are closer to bicycles than motorcycles; the evolutionary dead-ends like the Forecars, fashionable in the early 1900s; and the extreme sports machines like the Norton Hog Slayer, built to beat Harley Davidson on the drag circuit, the Triumph Streamliner which took the motorcycle world speed record in 1956, and the “Boost Palouste”, Britain’s first thrust powered motorcycle that achieved a quarter mile average speed of over 183mph in 1996.
Here are just a few (okay, quite a few) of the many photos that I took during the visit.