Posts Tagged ‘59 club’

Here’s a Beeb documentary about the “glory days” of British motorcycling that’s worth a look.

It starts out with a general overview and then meanders into the TE Lawrence era with some good vintage footage mixed in with new stuff.

(Minor complaint: The Brough they are filming in the present day is in dire need on a set of rings, you’d think they could have taken care of that at least. )

Anyway I digress; we then move on to the Isle of Man which can’t be underestimated when it comes to Brit Bike history. It was really a case of Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday! The bikes that took home the trophies at the Island not only proved they were fast, they also stood up to 7 arduous high speed laps of a heavily publicised race. Reliability was very¬† important in an era of bad roads, nascent metallurgy and owner ineptitude.

Norton dominated in the pre war years but in 1939 BMW was backed by the Nazi juggernaut and finished first and second to stake their flag on foreign soil.

The mighty Norton Manx did soldier on for long after their sell by date just by being very good at what it did. The big lazy single was developed to within an inch of its life and dedicated riders knew how to use every bit of its meager horsepower and predictable handling.

Mark Wilsmore related the tales of the ACE cafe, with some help from Dave Degens and Dave “crash” Croxford.

The 59 club came into being around the time of the iconic 1959 Triumph Bonneville and finally the motorcyclist got some grudging respect.

“Reverend Bill” seemed to come along at the right time and make friends with the biking community on his terms, and in the process his accepting and unthreatening attitude spread the gospel far and wide.

The final chapters of the whole scene were brought about by the increased traffic and its handmaiden , heavier law enforcement. Also not to be overlooked is the advent of the BMC Mini; for the price of a motorcycle you could get a real car and not be so exposed to the elements, and do a little snogging with your bird in relative privacy.

Anyway, if you have an hour to kill, it’s worth a look.


Here’s a charming period piece from a simpler time.

Father Bill, the 59 Club, Rockers and some classic bikes from when they were used as practical transportation.

The Mini was so cheap that it made bikes a lot less attractive and the scene was changing rapidly but have a look at 9 minutes of cafe racer history.