Full Throttle: The Glory Days of British Motorbikes
This is a fantastic television programme about the early days of motorcycling in the UK. One of the opening lines of this BBC television programme sets the scene…
“By the 1950’s British motorbikes were the fastest, most desirable and coolest thing on two wheels anywhere in the world.”
I recently spent time at Bonneville in Utah with Mike Jackson, who is interviewed on the programme and described as a motorcycle historian. A real gent, Mike knows more about motorcycles than anyone else I have ever known.
What I like about this programme is the old film of British motorcycles and the people interviewed. Between them, they give real character and authority to the documentary.
The story of Brough Superior motorcycles is described and the love affair T.E.Lawrence had with the bikes is described. His words are very poetic when he writes about his riding “The burble of my exhaust unwound like a long cord behind me. Soon my speed snapped it, and I heard only the cry of the wind which my battering head split and fended aside. The cry rose with my speed to a shriek: while the air’s coldness streamed like two jets of iced water into my dissolving eyes. I screwed them to slits, and focused my sight two hundred yards ahead of me on the empty mosaic of the tar’s gravelled undulations.”
Of course, Lawrence was killed riding one of his Brough Supoeriors when swerving to avoid two boys on the road.
The sporting side of riding motorcycles and the communities it spawned are also featured in the programme. The short pieces of film at the Brooklands circuit are wonderful, as are those showing the early days of racing at the Isle of Man TT. The growth of Norton is discussed in the racing scene and how the rivalry between them and BMW was formed.
Just about all of the classic British manufacturers are mentioned in the programme, including the rise of Triumph and the café racers. Life at the famous Ace café is also featured.
Is it any wonder these old bikes are still lusted after?
This blog was originally started to record a five month, 21000 mile tour of the US on my Harley-Davidson. I continue to use this blog to record my own motorcycling adventures, wherever they may be, along with my thoughts and opinions about motorcycling generally.
Having devoted most of my adult life to being a ‘company man’, the transition to the next phase of my life away from the construction industry was always going to include some challenges. Planning and then making my dream trip to explore America on my Harley-Davidson proved to be the ideal vehicle for clearing my mind of old ways of thinking and being. I rode 21,475 miles, in 27 US states in four-and-a-half months.
My motorcycling trips have continued, with journeys across much of Europe, New Zealand, North Africa and Cuba.
A few years ago, I set up and now run Tour1, which takes riders on Harley-Davidson Authorised tours across Europe. See www.tour1.co.uk.
I live just north of London in the UK.
Please note all photographs on this blog are copyrighted. Do not copy or use, in whole or in part, any image from this blog either in its original form or altered in any way. If you do want to use one of the photographs, then you must ask first and I will almost certainly say yes! Thanks for your understanding.
US Tour - My Favourites Places I Went To....
It is difficult to choose, but here is my list of the highlights of my US tour, in the order I saw them in....