Memories of Yesteryear

Part 1

Recently, my attention was drawn to some new and excellent information from Dave Richmond on the history of motorcycle meetings; immediately prompting me to undertake a detailed examination of his excellent Motorcycle Timeline website. This proved to be a goldmine for all those who, like me, are passionate about world motorcycle history from its origins through its evolution right up to the present day.

This stimulated me next to plunge back into my oldest photographic archives, a journey I must admit I hadn't taken for a while and I'd like to share with you some of the archival images I discovered.

Although most of the motorcyclists of yesteryear depicted in these shots weren't rallyists in the literal sense of the word, they were nevertheless keen motorcyclists like you and me, and amongst them were undoubtedly some true enthusiasts. Whatever these motorcyclists of days gone by used their machines for; social, domestic or competition doesn't matter; the common brotherhood that binds us all remains the same.

Whether it's their pose, the outfits they wore or the machines themselves, everything perfectly reflects the atmosphere of the time on two or three wheels.

An old timer posing on his Triumph (circa 1900s)

Mr Freinac, a Rene Gillet tandem rider, at the 'circuit de l'Eure' in 1912

Couple on an NSU. The first NSU motorcycle appeared in 1901, followed by the first NSU car in 1905.

Family posing with their NSU outfit

A nice Birminham Small Arms outfit

A couple in 1927 on a DKW. The German manufacturer began production as early as 1919, and reached the status of leading motorcycle manufacturer of the world in the 1930's. DKW was taken over by MZ and after World War II production moved to East Germany. 

These missionaries in Dahomey sometimes had to drive up to 100 km in the bush to visit their secondary parishes

Another missionary on an outfit but this time in the bush of Cameroon

A comfortable trike of yesteryear able to transport several passengers

A sidecar for two passengers who do not wish to speak...

A low and long machine

French motorcyclists gathering in Amiens, Northern France. Appreciate the 'torpedo shape' of the sidecars!

Circa 1930s, perhaps a photo of an unknown local motor cycle club

The BSA team at the Paris-Nice 1930 rally

Circa 1920s, a Levis motorcycle manufactured by Butterfields Ltd of Birmingham,

Winter 1926 in Great-Britain

Maybe the FN of their parents, (seen on this photo of 1928), aroused a motorcycling vocation for these two little girls in later life?

...and for this kid too on a Mabecc outfit

German kids on a Zundapp EM 250 produced from 1925 to 1927 

Let's finish this little tour through yesteryear with this splendid HD outfit!

- Jean-Francois Helias

Part 2: Speed racers.