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Fascinating details from period documents

Tony Stephenson

I hope that this might be of interest to readers of Buzzing.

I wonder how many Cyclemaster enthusiasts are aware that their type of machine was once used as a speed way bike, both on cinders and on grass.  These events took place at the end of 1952, on cinders at Edinburgh and on grass at Perth.  Johnnie Green won the Edinburgh event and D Yeaman won at Perth.

Is the Iron Trades Mutual Insurance Co Ltd still in existence?  They co-operated with Cyclemaster Ltd to provide, in their words "the most all embracing insurance cover for Cyclemaster at the lowest possible cost".

This information and much more is contained in a little magazine I recently obtained, entitled "The Magic Wheel, Vol 1, No 1", dated April 1953.  This was to be a quarterly magazine for Cyclemaster owners, costing sixpence (6d) a copy or 2/6d for an annual subscription, post free.  Does anyone else know of any other issues or was Vol 1, No 1 the only issue published?

Another interesting leaflet I obtained was one called "Just in Case".  A very small 8-page booklet that fits into a wallet or handbag - their description (no need for lady riders to feel left out in the 1950s), which contained useful tips to help Cyclemaster riders in cases of breakdown.

With these, there was a Cyclemaster workshop manual dated 1954 and an insurance policy form from, yes - you've guessed it, the Iron Trades Mutual Co showing that it cost £1-12s-6d to insure a Cyclemaster for one year.

In the Magic Wheel magazine there is a discussion about petrol consumption and 230mpg is quoted.  Also, someone states that if we had a Channel Tunnel, one gallon could get a rider from London to the far side of Paris (Channel Tunnel, how prophetic).

With the manual there was a letter from Cyclemaster to the owner of engine no 115929, who had presumably complained that it was only doing 120mpg.  The letter had been sent with a new type of throttle slide that the company wanted him to try out.

All fascinating stuff from almost 50 years ago.

First published, December 2001

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