April 2006 Issue Number 4

Issue Number 4 April 2006 Safeguarding the welfare, interests and memory of those who have served in the armed forces. A Registered Charity. Charity No Riders, So here we are in
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Issue Number 4 April 2006 Safeguarding the welfare, interests and memory of those who have served in the armed forces. A Registered Charity. Charity No Riders, So here we are in April already, still cold enough to freeze your proverbials and not a drop of rain in sight. I expect like the rest of the country nothing much has happened too you over the last couple of months and unless you are foolish like the management you have kept to your four wheeled chariots and not braved the elements. Well, maybe not all of you but how many can truly say hand on heart that they ride all year round or in Tony s case stay on all year round? Start of our second year and by the time you get this we have had our fi rst committee meeting in Swanage, in deepest darkest Dorset. A good number of you turned up for some beers in the evening and the results of that are somewhere within these pages. The Branch Offi cers went to Leeds for a Branch Management Course during early February and we can now pretend that we know what we are talking about, and yes it will probably be the same BS but in a more condescending manner! The Branch Standard arrived at the end of March and we are in the process of arranging its dedication service prior to its use. Thanks to all those who donated their readies towards its purchase. Lots to do this year kicking off with the South West Custom at the end of April and then to Great Yarmouth in May to remember Andy Simmons and all those little trips in between that you are all arranging. Membership to date 191 and growing! And then somewhere down the line is our trip to France/Belgium; look at the dates if you can get the time off, stick your name down, it ll be a gas but remember always ensure that you ask permission of an adult before signing up for anything! Ride Safe, Rubber Side Down Paul, Chairman RBLR Chairman Paul Pollard Vice Chairman Graham Barber Secretary Pete Bradley Treasurer Andrew Jackson Welfare Offi cer Kate Williams (offi ce) (mobile) PR Dave Bowen Committee Ross Yeaman - Stewart Waterson Bob Anderson - Roy Lodge Andrew Webb Events & Newsletter Tony Carr Chairman's Foreword Contacts I had a race with a Harley today... Postal Address for all Branch Offi cers and Committee Members: The Royal British Legion Riders (BR 3542) RBL Village Kent County HQ Aylesford, Kent ME20 7NY RBL Contact Details Legionline (call charged at local rates) Disablement Pension Claims Compensation Claims Disability Section Careers Advice (Freephone) Not been on a ride out for a while? Pick the phone up, talk to other members in your area, and arrange something; Bike shop, Coast Run, Rally, Cafe - Just Do it I raced a Harley today and after some really hard riding I managed to PASS the guy. I was riding on one of those really, really twisting sections of Purbeck road with no straight sections to speak of and where most of the bends have warning signs that say 15 MPH. I kn new if I was going to pass one of those monsters with those big g-v-twin motors, it would have to be a place like this where handling and rider skill are more important than BHP alone. I saw the guy up ahead as I exited one of the turns and knew I could ca atch him, but it wouldn t be easy. I concentrated on my braking and cornering. Three corners later, I was on his tail. Catching him was one thing; passing him would prove to be another. Two corners later, I pulled up next to him as we sailed down a long do ownhill. I think he was shocked to see me next to him, as I nearly got by him before he could recover. Next corner, same thingut g. I d manage to pu ull up next to him as we started to enter the corners bupower when we came ou ut he d get on the throttle and outpower me. His horsep was almost too o much to overcome, but this only made me more determined than ever. My only hope was to outbrake him. I held off squeezing the lever until the last instant. I kept my nerve while he lost his. In an instant I was by him. Corner after corner, I could hear the roar of his engine as he struggled to keep up. Three more miles to go before the road straightens out and he would pass me for good. But now I was in the lead and he would no longer hold me back. I stretched out my lead and by the time we reached the bottom of the canyon, he was more than a full corner behind. I could no longer see him in my rear-view mirror. Once the road did straighten out, it seemed like it took miles before he passed me, but it was probably just a few hundred yards. I was no match for that kind of horsepower, but it was done. In the tightest section of road, where bravery and skill count for more than horsepower and deep pockets, I had passed him. though it was not easy, I had won the race to the bottom of the valley and I had preserved the proud tradition of one of the best bits of brit iron. I will always remember that moment. I don t think I ve ever pedaled so hard in my life. And some of the credit must go to Raleigh cycles, as well. They really make a great bicycle... A Motorcycle Combination. Retirement eventually comes to us all, that is those of us who survive the risks that life throws at us. No one gets to retirement age without losing a few friends and loved relative s en-route. The knocks and bumps of life fi ll our minds with memories, and it is in retirement you get the time to look back over happier times, and if you are lucky, some money to be able to do something about it. In my case, the story starts back in the mid-1970s when I was serving in the RAF at Valley, on Anglesey. I was virtually given 90% of a 1961 Panther 650cc M120. Now is the time to mention that I am a great one for re-cycling. That simply means I seem to be able to fi x almost anything with an engine in it. I have also always had a motorcycle of one sort or another since 1962, and the P&M Panther was a real challenge. I re-built it and fi tted it with a BSA single seater sidecar and chassis. My wife, son and I had a great time with it, attending rally s, show, meetings, going on runs, and using it to commute to and from work at Valley. There I worked on Hawk trainer aircraft, and my son would sometimes accompany me, being very keen on aircraft and motorcycles, like myself. He has been dead now for eleven years, killed by a speeding motorist who was doing 55mph in a 40mph limit. They never stopped, so no one was ever prosecuted. Only his left arm was not broken, he became a donor for fi ve people whose lives he saved. Do not let anyone ever tell you time heals such wounds. But he certainly loved that old Panther; he is the one by my left shoulder in the photo, then 7 years old. Like I said, the knocks and bumps of life are never kind. Very few people will think of the little family man of the 1940s, 50s and early 60s, and how he managed to get to and from work and transport the family. The family motorcycle combination is still a bit of a Cinderella in the classic bike world, and I think this is just grossly unfair. Many, many big singles, both side valve and over head valve, and later the parallel twin bikes found themselves hitched up to a single seat side-car at fi rst; and as the family grew, so a child/adult chair would be attached. Today, names like Busmar, Squire, Watsonian, and Steib are rarely heard, where as Bonneville, Trophy and Bullet roll off the tongue. Lots of names are given to the motorcycle and sidecar, such as combination, chair, outfi t, and combo. So where are all those thousands of motorcycle combinations of yesteryear? There was a time every street had any number being ridden. So popular was this cheap form of transport in the 1950s that the Practical Motorists & Motor Cyclist, edited by F.J. Camm, in the September 1956 issue ran a series of articles on how to build your very own child/adult side car. The October and November issues covered completing it and fi tting it to a bike. There were so many combinations on our roads then, chugging about, powered by Panther Model 100, Ariel VB, BSA WM21, and Norton 19S that the exchequer charged extra duty on the road tax if a chair was fi tted. But so safe was the combination in mature hands of the family man, that the insurance charged then was between 40 to 50% less than a solo. The ideal bike to power a combo is one that has good torque at low revs; one that can slog on unworried, and is reliable and strong. A lightly built, fast, large engined sports machine would be hopeless. The attraction of the outfi t for the family man was its cheapness, ease of maintenance and economy in running. This icon of the mid-twentieth century workingman is now a very rare sight. He might be a fi tter, or a turner, miner, mechanic, toolmaker, toolsetter, pattern maker or similar; either way he would probably be a time-served apprentice in his chosen trade. This would mean he had a good grounding in engineering, so maintaining his steed would be second nature. The top-speed of a combo was a good 20% lower than the equivalent solo machine, and one could carry up to four people. You have to drive a combo, not ride it as a motorcycle. A gallon of petrol would last or even 70 miles, when small family cars could only manage Annual road tax was half that of a car. The speeds of 40-50mph seem slow now, but in those days cars were no faster; commercial vehicles and heavy lorries were then limited to 40mph anyway. Few could afford the superbike combinations of the day, some costing more than a small car. Such machines as Ariel s square four, or an HRD Vincent with a chair, were just dreams. Mr. Average owned functional transport. The gearing of a motorcycle combination normally has to be lowered, usually by fi tting a smaller engine sprocket, to enable it to cope with the extra drag and weight. Some manufacturers even offered stronger fork springs to cope. The sidecar wheel had to lead the rear wheel by a few inches, so the bike could steer round it. Tyres with a much fl atter profi le were fi tted, as the bike no longer had to lean over on bends. The riding technique was special, and had to be mastered quickly. Any one who has driven a combination will know how easy it is to lift the side car wheel off the ground on left hand bends, and even turn it all over. Righthanders are a pleasure, as the chair supports the bike. But even here you must not get over-confi dent, too fast and the bikes rear wheel lifts with devastating results. And therein lies a tale, and maybe the reason why the motorcycle combination seems to be held in less awe than the shiny sporting machines. That is quite simply, their road performance. A 500cc combination could cruise at around 45-50mph at the most, with perhaps the later 650cc models touching 55-60mph. How ever, the social historical value of the combination in the story of the motorcycle far outweighs any contribution to society, than that of the sports bike. Thousands of families went to the seaside on days out, on holidays, visiting relatives, to family weddings and funerals, went shopping, commuted to and from work, in their motorbike and sidecar. Millions of miles were travelled by family men huddled up in a thick water-proof coat, peaked helmet or fl at-cap on back-to-front, goggles, and huge gauntlets; all doing their best to get as many miles per gallon as possible. The majority would do their own servicing and repairs, and know the machine like the back of their own hands. So what killed off this unique form of transport? We simply became too well off. As incomes grew and small cars became cheaper, so families moved up to four wheels, a roof and a heater, (though this was often an extra ). The real nail in the coffi n was the arrival in 1959 of the BMC Mini at just over 400. Where once millions knew how to set up the sidecar toe-in, and machine lean-out, what a swan-neck was; today few will even know what those terms mean. The sidecar wheel has to toe-in to the bike s wheels, just as rear-wheel driven cars have toe-in on their steered wheels, and for the same reason; otherwise the sidecar would drag the outfi t to the nearside all the time. A swan-neck is the stout steel tube on the front mounting, bent at right angles. The bike has to lean out slightly when the outfi t is stationary with no one on it. This is to permit the sidecar suspension to sink when weight is applied, such as a passenger. I sold my Panther 120 back in 1983,moving myself up to a family car. I have now 3 A Motorcycle Combination. (cont) The photos show the results of my labour. The fi rst time I took it out, it attracted quite a crowd, and that was in late January The sidecar spent its formative years on the Isle of Wight, being purchased by a chap who then took ten years to restore it, never used it, leaving it in a shed for another ten years. Then I purchased it in It was very moving building the combination up, as it brought back happy memories of those years on Anglesey, and my son. The fi rst time I took it out, and the memories came fl ooding back, I had to stop to dry the tears, as I could not see out of the Mk9 Goggles. But I was very happy and pleased with it. Then the dynamo packed up; but that is quite normal on anything so ancient, and something else to fi x. Neil Cairns. obtained a 1950s child/adult Watsonian sidecar, along with its frame, and am busy attaching it to my cc AJS 18S. I feel that it is only right that people should be aware of what our forefathers did and why. I have taken the route of producing just what was about in the 1950s, with both a classic motorcycle and a classic sidecar. You might not want to take this route, as one can buy a shiny new combination off the peg so to speak. But today they are no longer cheap. Watsonian-Squire offer the Indian Royal Enfi eld Bullet attached to a selection of beautiful chairs. Then in 2004 the second reason for building a combination arrived. Whilst out on my bicycle, a lady driver in her little blue Vauxhall Corsa took no notice of my refl ective coat, my white cycling helmet, or the fact I was cycling along a clear main road. She shot out of a side road, smashing into me at about 25mph. She had tried to beat the traffi c lights under a railway bridge, and roared across the boxed junction as I cycled across it. I had a smashed hip, broken femur, broken ribs, a huge hole in my back and my glasses rammed into my right eye. My cycling helmet saved me from serious head injury; I still have it with its fl attened side. The end result is I now have a 20% functional disability, and cannot swing my right leg up over a saddle, and supporting a solo motorcycle will eventually be impossible. You cannot fall off a combination. Once my contribution to social history, my AJS motorcycle and sidecar takes to the road again, I will have get ready for all those lay-enthusiasts who will ask many questions, and explain to a younger generation to whom such a contraption is alien, what it is all about. To be specifi c about mounting the standard Watsonian sidecar frame onto the 53 AJS s frame, only one problem arose. Being an early version of the AMC sprung frame, there is no threaded lug on the rear frame for the ball-joint to screw into. So I had to adapt the 1953 AJS s lower nearside frame rail, under the gearbox, to take the mount via a clamp. AMC in the following year s model of the 18S and G80, in 1954, did fi t this threaded lug on the frame! My 18S has very little chrome work fi tted, as it was built during the nickel shortage of Therefore the wheel rims are stove enamelled an aluminium colour, called Argenized by the factory. I used the AJS&MOC web site forum pages to get advice from other 18S owners who had sidecars fi tted, as well as obtaining the necessary 18-tooth engine sprocket, to replace the standard 21-tooth item. The AJS 18S is a single cylinder 500cc-touring bike, built from It is based on the 350cc AJS 16M, itself based on a cc Matchless model G3. The G3 became famous as the bike to ride in WW2 as the WD G3L, rider by lots of Don-R s (army motorcyclist messengers.) Two Avon Sidecar Triple Duty tyres came from Armours, and material and studs for the chair s sunroof from Woollies. The child/ adult chair itself came from an enthusiast who had halfrestored it; I completed the fi ddly bits and fi tted the interior. 4 Marine Corps General interview: FEMALE INTERVIEWER: So, General Reinwald, what things are you going to teach these young boys when they visit your base? GENERAL REINWALD: We re going to teach them climbing, canoeing, archery, and shooting. FEMALE INTERVIEWER: Shooting! That s a bit irresponsible, isn t it? GENERAL REINWALD: I don t see why, they ll be properly supervised on the rifl e range. FEMALE INTERVIEWER: Don t you admit that this is a terribly dangerous activity to be teaching children? GENERAL REINWALD: I don t see how. We will be teaching them proper rifl e discipline before they even touch a fi rearm. FEMALE INTERVIEWER: But you re equipping them to become violent killers. GENERAL REINWALD: Well, Ma am, you re equipped to be a prostitute, but you re not one.., are you? The radio went silent and the interview ended. Disclaimer The Royal British Legion Rider's Branch (RBLR) Newsletter (Legion Rider) accepts for publication articles and letters written in good faith; however, the views expressed in articles and letters which are published are not necessarily those of the editor of the newsletter or those of the RBLR or its offi cers or members. This newsletter is published for and on behalf of the RBLR. 2006 Summer Party details... Don't Drink & Ride - it's tricky not spilling any... Seriously, its not worth it - No Licence =No Fun! Riders, what can you offer to your Branch? Do you own your own business? Do you have contacts able to provide the Branch with a service? Do you know anyone who owns a Pub with a fi eld? Do you own a Pub with a fi eld? Are you in the Motorcycle Repair Business? Do you work or run a printing company? Do you own or run a Hotel/B&B or Campsite? If the answer to any of those questions are YES and there are many more, then we need to hear from you. Call us NOW (Paul) (Pete) or us at: or We will be joining in with the boys and girls of the Scrumpies over the weekend of the 5th & 6th of August. It will be a camping weekend, the site is an excellent venue, with good camping facilities and a purpose built (indoor) western style bar and stage area with live bands. There will be full toilet and wash facilities and hot food vendors for the weekend. There is a web site to get the details from (Don t be put off that it is a country Kids park as well as a country and western venue) the weekend we are there it s just us and the Scrumpies facilities.htm Charges for the weekend are just 5 (per person) payable on arrival, then you just need camping kit, and lots of money... The address for the venue is: Court Farm Country Park Wolvershill Road Banwell Nr Weston-super-Mare Somerset BS29 6DL Remember, we are doing this for branch members to be able to get together and meet each other (some for the fi rst time) and enjoy a good social gathering. So there you go, all that needs to happen now, is for you to tell us your going to be there, and then for you to tip up! Please let us know if you can attend at either or , so we can give the numbers over to the Scrumpies ASP, Your support is appreciated. Pete Ladies & Gentlemen Please remember to let us know of any changes of address, Phone numbers or - you'd hate to miss out on a great newsletter like this... 5 What do you ride? A quick guide to the types of Motorcycles available out there. New riders are often unaware that there are many types of motorcycles. These motorcycle types or styles have evolved from the standard motorcycle. No one can tell you what motorcycle type is best for you. That s part of the fun, sitting on bikes and looking at specs to determine what type fi ts you. The odds are, you will go through most of the types during your riding career. That s just the way it is. What suits you as a
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