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Going Dutch

by Derek Rayner

We came back tired on the Monday morning, my sons and I, but our weekend in the Netherlands had been a very enjoyable one. From our arrival early on the Saturday morning at Hoek van Holland, we had had a packed programme of activities: most of Saturday was spent at the huge beurs (autojumble) at Utrecht. This is organised by Frits de Graaf, an ardent cyclemotorist of long standing who also has an interest in many other types of vintage transport. Entitled "Vehikel", the jumble is staged in the Exhibition Centre at the end of February and the location is easily accessible by public transport from Utrecht NS station using the S-bahn (tram).

The first impression coming through the entrance was that this certainly was a large jumble. In the spacious and airy hall the stalls were well set out and there were plenty of them. We thought it was big - but what was not immediately apparent to us was that the hall we were in was merely one of three similar sized halls - all of which were packed to capacity with stands and stalls and displays. It wasn't just huge, it was absolutely enormous.

The Dutch cyclemotor club, Rijwiel Hulpmoteren Club Nederland (RHC) had an information stand there, along with several machines of its members. Included in these were a Cyclemaster on a spring frame (sprung front and rear), a German made Flink and a pretty multi-coloured Simplex - also a front wheel drive machine.

We had never been to a jumble such as this before where cyclemotors were so readily available. Lohmanns generally are rare and are said to be difficult to make go. Here, the buyer with plenty of guilders in his pocket could take his pick of five on various display stands with prices ranging from £190 for a complete machine plus tank and bracket to £140 for a pair of incomplete machines. There were Solexes in profusion, mostly in poor condition and ranging in degrees of completeness. Models included 2200s, 3800s and one 5000 (with extra small wheels) which was brand new; the asking price for which was £155. A Berini complete on handlebars and front forks, ready to mount on a cycle could be had for £105 and for a Cyclemaster in a wheel (no cycle) the asking price was the same.

For something a little different, a Cyclestar was on offer complete on cycle for £200, whereas going vintage, a 1919 restored Skootamota had a price tag of £1270. If you were prepared to pay £85 you could have a Victoria Vicky I with tank (no cycle). One extremely unusual item spotted on one stall was an electric conversion which fitted on the front wheel. This comprised two contra-rotating motors, fitted in the top of a pair of tubes which looked like baseball bats, the thin end of which attached to the axle and the top to the front steering head. The battery sat on the carrier at the rear or was carried below the crossbar. The asking price for this "Velenzo" attachment was not ascertained.

The autocycle/moped enthusiast would have found plenty of machines to interest him. Mobylettes ranged from £65 to £85 each, whereas Solexes went from £70 for a 2200 to £45 for a good condition 3800. A well restored 1950 Norman Autocycle had a price label of £350.

A couple of British products took the eye - one being a Sinclair C5 which was on offer for £280 and also a Mini-Motor, not on a cycle and without cables, the price of which was £170. It should be noted that Mini-Motors are rare in the Netherlands as are BSA Winged Wheels, of which two were seen on one stall, and the asking prices for these reflects this. Other typical Continental models were a Victoria for £210, Mosquito on a cycle complete for £170, another Mosquito 38B complete with mountings for £70 and a Berini complete with cycle for £110.

There were, in addition to spares and complete machines, stalls selling literature, transfers, models and parts - including several with lots of Solex spares. Usually the language causes no problem since English is the native's second language and visitors from England are treated very courteously and with tolerance. Certainly the Utrecht beurs lived up to its reputation - it is the biggest and best in Holland and one to be highly recommended for a visit if the opportunity arises.

What did we buy? Many and varied Solex parts including a spare metal fuel tank (plastic ones tend to be illegal in this country we understand), literature including Solex transfers - there were incidentally some Cyclemaster transfers - never seen any in England, and red Power Pak ones. We also bought some other spares. As to complete engines or machines - well, for the prices given, the reader will have observed that these are in excess of the Customs allowances for import of goods into Britain, so that question is best left unasked. I can say, however, that we definitely do not now have a Lohmann!

Saturday evening was spent dining with our hosts, Paul and Nicole Van Leeuwen and then with an impromptu slide video show, featuring English events at Stowmarket, York and in Kent coupled with Dutch events at Roosendaal and other places.

Sunday was wet and we travelled to Nijmegen to see the Velorama cycle museum on the riverside there, close to one of the bridges. Appropriately, a 1943 BSA paratrooper's cycle is among the first of the cycles to be seen inside the museum. The machines on show were very well restored and there is an extremely good representative selection of cycles from the last 150 years, although there were no powered ones on display. All too soon it was time to head back to the coast, Paul pointing out a village on the way where a vast hoard of new Solex parts are stored and stopping at one place, Kinderdijk, famous for its windmills - one can see 19 of these wind-pumps (for elevating water - not for grinding corn) at this location - quite an impressive sight. Then it was back to Paul's, pack up, dine and off to the boat for the somewhat rough night crossing back to Parkeston Quay (Harwich).

Our grateful thanks are extended to Paul and Nicole (and to Ivy the dog) for their hospitality and we hope to see them at one of our NACC runs in the not too distant future.

It is hoped to forge strong links with the RHC Nederland - they have about the same number of members as we do - and when it is borne in mind that one of the road runs starts and finishes not more that five miles from Hoek van Holland (and there are no hills!) then it is not a difficult task for English enthusiasts to 'ride' a machine over there and participate in one of the RHC cyclemotor runs during the coming summer.

First published - June 1989

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