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Yer Tiz!

Laurence O'Brien

The Real Millennium Bristol Classic Bike Show

Farringdon Gurney, Gurney Slade, Shepton Mallet, climbing ever-higher clear of the flood plains in the Somerset Levels up to the floods of enthusiasts clamouring for a glimpse of our machinery-you think I'm joking? - take a look at the Internet pictures, they were taken at just after 10am on Sunday!

Paul Witchard brought an interesting 1957 49cc Terrot Lutin collected from a French friend who deals in old vehicles.  This one, Paul managed to get going fairly quickly-before he returned to England-and after some light restoration (oily rag), the bike enjoys a weekly run with its owner going for the Sunday papers.  Production numbers were never high so there won't be many of them on the Club runs.  Geoff Warren displayed his latest find of a 1966 VéloSoleX-and something of a find it was.  He'd discovered it whilst on holiday in France and had the brass neck to haggle the shopkeeper down from an absolutely rock-bottom price to a gift-I shan't divulge the actual figure but believe me you'd cry.  You'd sob some more when you realise this was in delivery trim with all original kit including the original toolbox located under the rear pannier.  Alan Hibbard introduced his VAP4 to accompany his Scamp.  Tom Best brought his 1968 Raleigh Wisp and Roy Best a 1950 Cyclemaster 25cc.  Mike Rendall had acquired a 1988 Di Blasi off a yachtie so the underside of the bike is identified by boat name rather than postcode; whether the yacht was big enough to require motorised transport from stem to stern is not clear, but wobbling home from the yacht club after a few and alongside an unfenced quay could be a diversion.

Steve Wayte has restored some Victorian cast iron workshop stands designed to hold bicycles at a working height and orientation.  These are strong enough to hold heavier powered machines and Mike Jones's rare 1954 Mercury Cyclemaster with pillion was elevated on one of these, as was his even rarer Teagle.

Buzz Newell raised a Her-cu-motor and K Cook a 1940 New Hudson.

Ian Edwards brought something respectable this year-no not Bluey the dog-but a 1966 Motobi.  This had been discovered in 1986 when a local cycle shop had closed and had to be cleared-not just of this bike-but dozens of them.  It was registered in 1966 and sported a 1967 tax disc (presumably the last time it had been exercised) and had sat in the shop from then until the clearout.  Deft use of WD40 and a recovered seat produced a fine example of what has to be a possibly unique machine in this country.  The mildly seized engine posed no problem, a carefully prepared drift-a sawn-off cricket stump-and judicious tapping with a 4lb lump hammer produced the desired results.

A very young member, Jordan Miller (7 years), Mike Jones's grandson, presented a Honda Express, it having done only 25 miles from new.  John Denning's 1914 Auto-wheel helped pull in the visitors.

Centre zone of the display area comprised Alistair Currie's 1950 Raynal plus attractive alloy sidecar complete with furry passenger (Teddy-bear).  Chris Bowden's 1940 James won the best Cyclemotor entry and Andy Hart and Bob Pike had their 1921 Alcyon, whilst Mike Crumpton completed the square with a Cyclemaster powered Harding tricycle.  Harding was a Bath maker of Bath chairs (natch) and included the trike in their product line.  Mike acquired the trike and Cyclemaster as separate items-the trike having suffered an earlier quickie restoration.  Mike re-restored the trike and the Cyclemaster and ordered up new basket-ware to make a really professional looking job.  The marrying of the two is fully justified, if justification were required, by Harding's advertising Cyclemaster powered trikes in '50s issues of Power & Pedal.  Mike has been invited to apply for entry into the Louis Vitton Classic bash-let's hope he is as successful as Mike Rendall was last year.  In any event, he rode off with this year's Silver Rose Bowl Award sponsored by Avon Engravers.

Static displays still draw much attention from younger visitors, while Ian E's box of 'goodies' brought in on Sunday provided attractive offerings for stubby fingers rummaging for that vital piece of thingummy!  I believe it was all rather successful from Ian's point of view.

Quite a lot of autocycle-centred discussion this year; Bob feels that perhaps the high cost of restoring larger machines is turning would-be retro-riders towards autocycles to get on the road with some period gear.

So, yet again a highly successful exhibition thanks in no small part to the new sponsors, Old Bike Mart, who have a different line in show memorabilia in that exhibitors are presented with a commemorative brass plaque in place of the previous Footman James mugs.  Although I miss the mugs with their different colours for each of the years, her kitchen cupboard space was becoming somewhat pressed!

First published, April 2001

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