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It all started last winter when our secretary, Andrew Roddham, ’phoned to ask if he could rely on support from any of the Midland members to attend a first Annual Run proposed for the following spring; the answer was, of course, yes!
Thus it was that at 6 o’clock on the morning of 23rd May, Doug Whittaker and I found ourselves eastward bound with the 1921 Cyclotracteur and 1956 Rex aboard the trailer behind the car. The journey to Stowmarket proved simpler than my ‘pre-motorway’ atlas indicated and we arrived at the Museum of East Anglian Life a good hour early. A fine day was in prospect as we whiled away the time wandering around what one assumes is a typical Suffolk market town and most attractive too on that quiet Sunday Morning
Another early arrival was Andrew Pattle with a van load of miscellaneous cyclemotors we were not privileged to view at the time as they were whisked away in readiness for the static display.
As the ‘gathering hour’ approached the silence was disturbed, more than shattered, by the faltering arrival of Simon Whitehead’s Cyclemaster accompanied by the characteristic ‘clunkle-clunkle’ of an advanced case of ‘flywheel loose in its centre nut’. This would appear to be the only design fault in these quite remarkable units. All credit must go to Simon who produced a spare engine complete with flywheel, and Doug Whittaker who did the swap without the aid of a puller; we must get him to write up how this is done sometime. Incidentally, the Australian Cyclemaster enthusiast Dick Baulton assures me he knows how to repair the defect and will be sending details over here in due course.
Accompanying Simon was Andrew Roddham on an unusual ‘combination’ of Power Pak with box sidecar—Yes! sidecar. Andrew must be very pleased with what seems to be the ideal set-up for his long distance excursions. The outfit is quite capable of showing a clean pair of heels to a good Cyclemaster and, of course, the extra weight of luggage (not to mention tools and spares) required by the ‘distance man’ is supported on the extra wheel.
The run started promptly at 11 o’clock and the businesslike approach of the East Anglian ‘crew’ became immediately apparent, none of the ‘go as you please—stop/start every few miles’ of the Midlands here. Off went the main bunch at a spanking 20mph and yours truly hot on their heels with the Cyclotracteur, suitably restrained by a ‘floating’ automatic inlet valve, peaking at its 1,500rpm. However, come the first hill the benefit of the low torque, 60 year old 107cc engine became apparent as the ‘old girl’ ambled past the 50cc buzzing youngsters. Thus the first 10 miles of a delightful route was passed in a most social manner leap-frogging up and down hill with exchanged smiles, waves of the hand, and brief conversations half lost in the ‘hum and chunkle’ of the engines.
Panic! Where was my mate Doug on the Rex? As agreed, I was carrying the tools! I hadn’t seen him for 20 minutes or so! Was he stuck 5 miles or more back without as much as a spare plug and spanner? In good ‘pedal start practice’ I forged on to the crest of the next hill to await his arrival. The view was fantastic but as the main bunch of riders began to disappear over the next hill, a good mile away, and furtive glances rearwards failed to reveal sight of the ‘tail-enders’, panic set in again. What if I got stranded halfway around the course in a ‘strange country’? I had no map and hadn’t followed the excellent continental route card, having been content to follow the others, both major misdemeanours for one experienced in rallying. So, I took the coward’s way out and went ‘hot-foot’ after the leaders thankful to discover we were only some 4 miles from the lunch stop and relieved by the almost immediate arrival of Doug with the rest of the bunch who had not been troubled by the cyclemotors but by the supporting later model mopeds.
Mine host at the Greyhound Inn, Lavenham put on an excellent ploughman’s lunch an amidst swapping stories, and extolling the virtues of the various models a most pleasant and sociable hour was spent in recuperation.
Leaving the Greyhound on the ‘second leg’ and mindful of the morning’s panic, the route card was followed with meticulous care. Except for Andrew Roddham’s sidecar spilling its entire contents on the road when the wheel hit an enormous pot-hole, Kevin Mallone’s Raleigh Supermatic needing attention to the HT lead and Don Upshaw stopping to don his waterproofs (unnecessarily as it transpired) the finish was arrived at in good time.
Thanks to the support of Andrew Pattle’s fine collection, the static display featured some 20 machines and proved a very popular added attraction to the museum visitors. In all a pleasant day: good route, good company, and an excellent venue. Only two disappointments: not enough time to do justice to the excellent Museum despite Andrew Pattle’s guided tour, and what a pity that Dave White’s beautifully restore New Hudson was not able to take part as the documents had not arrived from Swansea; no doubt we will get to see this lovely machine at future events.
To sum up: any members who were unable to be there missed a day to remember and will never be able to display the well earned and tasteful commemorative plaque which declares that my machine took part in the very first East Anglian Cyclemotor Club road run. Doug and I look forward to the second EACC run and hope the format will remain—‘as before’.
This article was first published in Buzzing, Volume 1, Number 2 in Summer 1982
Left to right: Doug Whitaker (Rex), Andrew Roddham (Power Pak), Stan Greenway (Cyclotracteur),
Simon Whitehead (Cyclemaster), Don Upshaw (Cyclemaster), Dave White (New Hudson),
Kevin Mallone (Raleigh) David Freeman (Cyclemaster), Andrew Pattle (Norman).
This picture was first published in Buzzing, Volume 1, Number 3 in Autumn 1982
Pictures of the start of the run
The faded black and white pictures were first published in The Moped Archive in July 2003, the colour pictures in May 2021, two more black & white ones in January 2023.
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