Above is a part of the extensive display of Piaggio-manufactured mopeds on show at the newly-extended Museum complex, housed in the very active Piaggio factory at Pontedera, near Pisa. Read all about it in April’s issue of Buzzing magazine.
Andy Speak died at 3am on 1st March 2019, following a devastating stroke he suffered on 17th January 2018, from which he never recovered consciousness.
Never other than a proud Boltonian (Lancashire, not Greater Manchester), his life was generally lived within a square mile of his home in Great Lever, Bolton. His business, A & S Motorcycles, operated from a railway arch in Bolton, which displayed a notice bluntly stating that no Chinese machines would be worked on.
Andy never embraced change or modernisation! Gruff, stubborn, monosyllabic, set in his ways, of fixed opinions and outlook. Andy was all of these, but beyond all that, he was clever, funny, and a thinker. Not one to suffer a fool, Andy was very ready to help a friend, which included anyone riding a New Hudson. Other makes were tolerated.
Last year David Stevenson rode his late father’s 1949 Raleigh-built Rudge Pathfinder bicycle, fitted with a 1952 Trojan Mini-Motor, from Land’s End to John O’Groats because he likes a challenge and wanted to raise funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK. Both David’s father and uncle died of Alzheimer- related dementia. David’s uncle Bob Skinner originally owned the Rudge, then sold it to David’s father Robert before David inherited it after his father passed away. The bicycle has been is the same family for seventy years.
David’s LeJog run took twenty days and covered 1,104 miles of often difficult terrain, with rain, headwinds and endless hills impeding progress along the way and requiring a good deal of pedal-assistance and pushing. En route the Rudge/Mini-Motor was displayed on the NACC stand at April the 2018 Stafford Classic International Show, where artist Martin Squires immortalized it with a detailed drawing which is featured in the 2019 NACC calendar.
Peter Lee Warner, after whom the VMCC trophy is named, rode a tradesman’s delivery bicycle fitted with a Power Pak Synchromatic engine round the world in 1953. Lee Warner’s motive was to “have a look at Australia” and he originally planned a one-way trip, only to change his mind in Baghdad, Iraq, and decided to carry on from Australia to go the whole way round the world. He flew to San Francisco, rode 3,000 miles across America to New York and took the Queen Elizabeth liner back to Britain.
If you would like to contribute to Alzheimer’s Research UK, payments can be made via https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/raleighrudginit
“Koper – The Koper District Court sent famed motorcycle maker Tomos into receivership on Thursday after the Koper-based company failed to find a strategic partner to help it cope with liquidity issues. The proposal for receivership was filed last November by Tomos employees after the company failed to pay their wages, contributions and the annual holiday allowance.”
“Since Tomos had neither contested being insolvent nor asked for a deferral, it is considered insolvent under the insolvency law. The court decided to send the debtor into receivership, says the court’s decision, posted on the website of the Agency for Public Legal Records (AJPES). The court appointed Štefan Veren the official receiver, giving creditors until 3 April to report their claims and secured debt.”
“When the workers filed for receivership, Tomos director and owner Iztok Pikl said the company could still be saved. However, he admitted it owed its employees two monthly salaries and the holiday allowance. Pikl or his company MPO Kabel bought the manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters in 2015 from industrial conglomerate Hidria, which sold it as a non-strategic asset. Hidria acquired Tomos in 1998, it briefly liquidated it in 2012 only to revive production later on.” (The Slovenian Times, 4/1/19)
A very sad end (though it might be resurrected by somebody) to a business which began back in 1954, when the company acquire a licence to manufacture Puch mopeds and motorcycles from the Austrian company Steyr-Daimler-Puch.
NACC member Geoff Hudspith has been improving his steam-powered cyclemotor over the years and it recently caught the attention of a Facebook group, the Tech Insider. To view the video click on the following link: https://www.facebook.com/TechInsiderPresents/videos/646410762232980/UzpfSTEwMDAwNDg1NjEwNDgzNjpWSzoxMTQ1NjY1MzAyMjc1MjI2/
NACC member Jim Switzer kindly sent the following link to two American websites featuring Janus motorcycles, recreations of high-performance mopeds reminiscent of such bikes as the Yamaha Fizzie, which many of us ran with “L” plates back in the days when one motorcycle licence sufficed for all capacities, except sidecars, which you had to take a separate test for. Just the kind of website to visit on a cold, wet winter’s evening……
Stuck with a grotty 2019 calendar featuring kittens, dogs or rural scenes? What you really need is a superb 2019 NACC Calendar, which features a new drawing of ‘our’ kind of machines every month by artist Martin Squires. Martin produces wonderfully detailed line drawings, he sketched some of the bikes on the NACC stand at the Stafford shows, those illustrated can be seen below. They include; PowerPak Synchromatic, Honda PC 50, Trojan Mini-Motor (David Stephenson’s Le Jog bike), Triumph Fips, Berini “Egg”, BSA Winged Wheel, Raleigh Wisp, James Superlux autocycle, Express SDL 98, Diem D48, Honda C90, Mercury Mercette and Itom Tourist.
Supplies are limited so don’t delay and email Regalia Secretary Nick Devonport at email@example.com or call Nick on 07833 623630 to place your order. Calendars are £10 each plus postage & packing, cheques made out to National Autocycle & Cyclemotor Club Ltd. please. Size is A4, 11.75in x 8.25in or 30 x 21cms.
November is usually a pretty grim month. The clocks have gone back, it gets dark at 4.30pm, outdoors it is cold, wet and grey, a sombre time. In November 1988 – thirty years ago this month – the production lines at the VeloSoleX factory in Courbevoie just outside Paris finally stopped running and the last iconic black French “bicyclette qui roule toute seule” motorised bicycle was made.
Demand had fallen steeply since the Solex’s heyday from the early 1950s to mid-1960s, it was simply too old-fashioned and too slow to survive the onslaught of modern mopeds. Fewer and fewer were sold, mainly to older riders in la France profonde, who puttered around small rural towns and villages, berets on heads and Gauloises stuck to lower lips, happy still to go everywhere slowly.
A new generation wanted colour, style, speed and a modern image. There were plenty of manufacturers offering such things – even VeloSoleX tried with the ill-starred Solex Flash and 6000 – which, despite monocoque frames, a disc brake and shaft-drive, proved unreliable and a warranty & financial black-hole. A later attempt at selling a conventional moped, the Tenor, with Italian Franco Morini or Dutch Anker engines, also failed to attract customers, who went out and bought Mobylettes and Peugeots instead. The formerly highly successful VeloSolex business fell on hard times and was sold to Renault, then Dassault and finally MBK, the combine owning Motobecane and Yamaha in France. Production struggled on for a few more years – a lot of S3800 MBK Solexes survive to this day – but it all ended in November 1988, after over 7 million VeloSoleXes had been sold worldwide. Some were produced by local assembly operations in Europe and Asia, but the vast majority came from Courbevoie.
Another icon, Brigitte Bardot on a rather battered Solex 2200; typical damage resulting from it falling off its stand onto the metal fuel tank, which is why so many Solexes had tubular engine-protectors fitted! And possibly why later Solexes had plastic tanks…..
A group of seven NACC members made the journey across to Stramproy, tucked away in the SE corner of Holland close to the Belgian and German borders, to ride with members of the RHC cyclemotor club on their annual rally. We meet many of them every year at Rando Cyclos in France and as this year’s rally theme was British cyclemotors, we just had to go.
It was a fabulous weekend- Saturday included a visit to Naud Anderkerk’s vast collection of bikes housed on two floors of a big farm outbuilding; a 40km signposted ride through the byways and cycle-lanes (50cc machines permitted) of Holland and Belgium with 87 riders, a tombola for an unrestored cyclemotor and a great BBQ at Naud’s house in the evening. The Sunday run was 60kms and led by organiser Joost Heesakkers on a Cymota-powered tandem, which attracted 65 riders, most on cyclemotors.
We had a lunch stop at the Mullerhof friterie in Belgium, just over the non-existent border, where the popular local delicacy of a chip-filled baguette with a spicy sausage and mayonnaise garnish was enjoyed by many ravenous riders!
A fuller report will appear in a future issue of Buzzing. Our thanks go to Naud, Joost and all their helpers at Stramproy for organising such a fantastic weekend, we’ll just have to do it again next year!
The TWITTS (Tyne Wear Including Tees and Tweed) NACC section have just held their October meeting, read all about it here: October at TWITTS
We wish Colin every success with the new NACC Section, no doubt local runs will shortly be appearing in the Events Calendar on this website and in Buzzing.