advice for the road …

Sometimes the essence of sound advice doesn’t really change. Once again this was illustrated to me after I had picked up a couple of old pamphlets from an antique shop/emporium type place last week.

Over the last couple of years I have picked up a couple of old motorcycling related books and always find it interesting to look at the models of yesteryear and the accompanying narratives. The two pamphlets I picked up last week have been no exception.

I’ll write separately about the ‘High Efficiency’ one when I have had time to read it through.

The smaller one was produced sometime in the mid 1950’s and it’s full title is ‘The Methods of Experts – Riding a Motor Cycle as an Art’

As far as I can work out it was published in the 1950s, I’ve not been able to find much information on the web although it crops up in a Google image search.

The booklet itself was published by The British Motorcycle and Motor Cylce Manufacturers Union and would have been issued with a new motorcycle purchase ‘in the interests of safer riding’

Even back at the time of publication early advice in the book highlights the need to be aware of other road users – although in this case it refers to the ‘other fellow who might cause an accident’

The pamphlet provides advice on the best riding position, and comments that the expert rider ‘sits relaxed, but this does not mean that he sits like a sack of potatoes’, advice on acceleration and deceleration is still sound as is the commentary on rear brake control and moving off.  I love the start of the moving off section as it says:

To see a first class rider get under way is a joy. Engine ticking over, he gently engages bottom gear, if necessary rocking the machine a few inches backward and forward to assist the gears to engage, and then operates the clutch and throttle in such perfect unison that the machine glides away’

I guess that there are few modern bikes that need to be rocked backward and forward, although when I use my Moto Guzzi V7 there have been occasions when that technique has been required from time to time.

The advice goes on to cover roadcraft, braking, cornering (or bend swinging as it refers to it), safety margins and probably most things that you can think of and that still stack up as sound advice today.

Advice on riding kit is also included and one of the essential recommendations is ‘to purchase a motorcycle coat as opposed to a normal about town raincoat’!

All in all I was delighted with my find at the antique emporium – the fact that the pamphlet is in near mint condition is just a bonus.