A Ve­lo­cette’s Isle of Man ad­ven­ture ends in the guards van of the Manx rail­way

Classic Bike (UK) - - Contents - Tony Pick­er­ing, Le­ices­ter

This is my cus­tomised 1958 Ve­lo­cette MSS, com­plete with clip-ons, stan­dard-po­si­tion footrests, the rev counter and (on the right) L-plate at­tached to a fork leg – and my­self in the sad­dle. This was my first of nine Ve­lo­cette models. Once a Velo man al­ways a Velo man… I took the MSS to the Isle of Man for the first time in 1960 – the first of what was to be 25 con­sec­u­tive years to the Is­land for the TT (the year of the sea­men’s strike ex­cepted). I was ac­com­pa­nied by a friend rid­ing his Tri­umph 110 – and un­for­tu­nately ended up spend­ing TT week as a pil­lion pas­sen­ger on it, af­ter the Ve­lo­cette’s fi­bre tim­ing gear was stripped of teeth on a blast from the Goose­neck to Ramsey. At the end of the week the dead Velo was free-wheeled down to the Manx Elec­tric Sta­tion in Ramsey and loaded onto the guards van (along with me and my sparse lug­gage). We were off-loaded at the Dou­glas ter­mi­nus and free-wheeled down to the front, where a kindly taxi driver towed me to the Steam Packet docks. Once loaded onto the ferry I con­tem­plated my sit­u­a­tion whilst sit­ting on a huge coil of rope – then re­alised that was the an­swer! I found a smaller piece of rope, which a ferry worker let me have and, af­ter dis­em­bark­ing at the docks in Liver­pool, used it to as a towrope lashed to my friend’s Tri­umph to get the Velo to Liver­pool Rail­way sta­tion. I only had suf­fi­cient cash for my ticket, not the Velo, but the Sta­tion Mas­ter took my par­tic­u­lars and the bike was loaded into the guards van. Sit­ting on the Velo, I was the cen­tre of at­trac­tion from fel­low pas­sen­gers, a num­ber of whom as­sumed I was a TT rider. Fame at last! Af­ter hav­ing ar­rived at Le­ices­ter, my father col­lected me, paid the nec­es­sary out­stand­ing ticket fare and then towed me home. The Velo was later fit­ted with a new alu­minium tim­ing gear. Them were the days. Could it hap­pen like that to­day? I don’t think so!

The kind of thrash that can eas­ily re­sult in a Velo’s fi­bre tim­ing gear strip­ping its teeth

Learner bikes were cooler back then!

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.