The way we were: March 1913

By Richard Rosenthal, 28 January 2013

The Royal Flying Corps ordered 12 Douglas Model O solos (348cc fore and aft twins with two-speed gearbox, but no clutch or kick starter) and eight single cylinder 3½hp two-speed P&Ms (image) for testing...

All the machines arrived late at the hastily organised Brooklands test centre due to hold-ups on the railways. The tests included lapping the Brooklands outer circuit at an average speed of 30mph over a non-stop 50 mile blast followed by making an immediate ascent of the test hill.

Among the accessories and aftermarket equipment on offer for the coming season was an excellent range of speedometers with odometers. Columnist ‘Road Rider’ found all he tried excellent but singled out the Jones combined speedometer and clock by Markt & Co and similar by Watford as his favourites.

For the long distance, all night and Highland motorcyclist Road Rider recommended reserve petrol tanks, often these clipped on the motorcycle frame’s top tube or under the rear carried but on top of the mudguard behind the number plate. And thinking of the long distance rider… how about the anatomical saddle with contoured seat pan by XL’All Ltd?

As a final thought in March 1913 one can only wonder how Road Rider got away with sections of his copy, for example... in his prelude to recommending tyre patch spring clips he wrote. “The longer a patch is allowed to dry the better the chance of its sticking on the tube; and it is much pleasanter to light a pipe and admire the landscape or some of its feminine denizens than to keep smoothing and patting the curly patch…”

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The Classic MotorCycle Issue 42-01 - Jan 2015

Where legends come to life

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