In 1952, I bought a 1932 Velocette GTP 250cc two-stroke for £9. We got it running and I rode it around in the adjoining field, getting used to the clutch and hand change for a while. My brother said it needed sorting out, so it got dismantled and refurbishment began.
In 1954, while out on my bicycle, I saw a Sun tandem with a Trojan Minimotor fitted for sale in Wilkinson’s shop in Birchencliffe, near Huddersfield. After looking it over and noticing it had hub brakes, I bought it for £20.
One Saturday later that year, I had been out on the tandem Trojan and got home at lunchtime, duly parking the device against the kitchen wall. It started to rain, so I went to put it under cover.
As I wheeled it backwards, the left hand front fork blade just swung down, having sheared off at the fork crown.
I broke out in a cold sweat thinking about what could have happened if it had broken while I was riding it!
While finishing my lunch I had a ‘I wonder if…’ moment, thinking would the Velocette girder forks fit, because the headstock is larger than a bicycle one, and luckily I had not dismantled the girder forks yet.
Quickly removing the tandem forks, I tried the girders on and, to my amazement, they fitted perfectly. I had to use the Velo front wheel and change the front brake cable but the tandem handlebars fitted in the girder clamps okay.
I was using the tandem to go to work on so, for three weeks while I got some new tandem forks, I rode it with the girder forks fitted. The brakes were much improved with the five inch motorbike hub.
If you are curious about the Velo GTP… it finally got rebuilt and back on the road in 2009. Fifty seven years later, but in my defence I have also had six other motorbikes, a Bond Minicar, a Goggomobile, a Bedford ex ambulance/camper van and eight cars in that time… and they all needed work on them!
Read more Letters, Opinion, News and Features at www.classicmotorcyle.co.uk and in the September 2020 issue of The Classic Motorcycle – on sale now!