Tuesday, June 15, 2010

15 June 2010 National Motorcycle Museum Birmingham

Mick standing outside the National Motorcycle Museum, Birmingham

A BSA A10 Road Rocket twin 650cc of the type I sold when I left the UK

BSA A10 Specs

Supersports Morgan of the type Mick's Dad owned when dating his mother

Supersports Morgan specs

Poster about the fire which destroyed 3 of the 5 buildings housing motorbikes

Today we visited the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham and what a nostalgic trip that was. When I lived here, as soon as I was 16 I bought a motor bike with money (50 pounds)that my Grandfather Powell (mothers side) gave to my parents to save for me on the basis that my parents included the name Powell in my name. My parents were non too happy about me spending the money on a motor bike but when you're 16........

I joined a motor bike gang and was described as a Rocker. As Rockers we were gentle folk who would take our Grannies out on the back of our bikes for quiet rides in the countryside after picking them up from the nursing home!

All the popular bikes of the type owned by the gang members were there. BSA, Norton, Triumph, AJS, Matchless, Velocette, Vincent, Royal Enfield, Ariel. Those not riding grunty motor bikes (ie scooters, mostly Lambrettas and Vespas) were known as Mods at the time.

At the museum there were 5 large halls of bikes. Just about every bike that was ever built in the UK. They were all immaculately restored to as new. There was also a Morgan car like my father used to own in the 30's. It had an air cooled V twin engine across the front and was a 3 wheeler with one rear wheel which apparently used to get through tyres at a fair rate. It was also chain driven and would do over 100mph (miles per hour). We have a picture of him in one. Because the exhausts swung up and came down the side, it didn't have any doors and you had to be careful not to touch the hot exhaust with your arm.

One thing that astounded me was that 3 of the 5 halls were completely destroyed by a fire in 2003 and have been rebuilt and all the bikes lost in the fire replaced.

The BSA factory which had been in business for donkeys years and made weapons and ammunition during the war has now closed and is a derelict site. (We drove past it). The multi-cylindered Japanese bikes with electric starters basically killed the British made bikes and consequently put the company out of business.

BSA stands for Birmingham Small Arms.


Topped up with Petrol today. Car took 39.9 litres at £1.159 ($1.99Aus) per litre of unleaded 95 Octane which equals £46 ($79). Unleaded 97 Octane costs £1.189 ($2.05) per litre here. We did 310 miles (499 klms) so 7.995 L/100klm. I think.


1 comment:

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