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Sidecar Notes - October 1998

by David Stevenson

Precision sidecar

My supply of sidecar information has almost dried up but two old faithfuls have recently been in contact.  The editor sent me a copy of a couple of pages from a 1974 edition of Moto Revue, which pictures a bicycle sidecar made by the French Precision company.  His arcane knowledge of early derailleur gears (Well, what would you do in mammoth-haunted Stowmarket when the long winter twilight of the steppes descends at the end of each August?) allows him to date the bicycle to the 1930s which would make the outfit a contemporary of our own Watsonian.  And they do look very similar, although the chassis on the French model and the mudguard fittings appear to be tubular rather than fabricated from strip steel.  Both Andrew and I have perused the accompanying text with our limited French and can find no reference to the machine.  I would not dare to ask who copied whom.  Tory councillors foaming at the mouth are not a pretty sight and we cannot afford to have French lorry drivers blocking the Channel ports in protest once again.

Mexican stamp

This neatly brings me to my other regular correspondent, le douanier Devonport.  He has very kindly forwarded some postage stamps with sidecar outfits on, one at least of which will I hope be featured with this text.  The reliability of some of the machines in my possession has led me on a number of occasions to stand at the garage door and, waving a bloody finger only recently retrieved from the recalcitrant innards of some worn out lump of obmutescent merde, declare that unless there is some improvement in the miles per breakdown ratio I will sell the lot of them and take up cheese-label collecting.  It is an empty threat.  It's hard enough, when a colleague enquires what you're doing this weekend, to admit to riding a twenty-five year old moped to some God-forsaken field so that undersized and intellectually-challenged adolescents of all ages can demand 150 times:

Stamp with sidecar
  1. How much is it worth, Mester? And
  2. How fast will it go?
Guatamalan stamp

No, my friends, you can't wear a leather jacket and long black boots to a cheese label swap-meet, not around here anyway.  Stamp collecting, however, has its own cachet and offers a respectable escape route from the long tendrils of the NACC.  Which leads me to offer a challenge - Can anyone supply our editor with stamps featuring club-eligible machines?

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