Edgar Jes­sop plus next is­sue pre­view

Read­ers who have so far avoided the on­set of CRAFT (Can’t Re­mem­ber A Flam­ing Thing) will re­call that far back in OBA’s pre-teens, is­sue 9 to be ex­act, men­tion was made of the ill-con­ceived and ephemeral Spagabago, a prod­uct of the Medicine Hat-based Spagf

Old Bike Australasia - - CONTENTS -

The com­pany’s records show scant ref­er­ence to this abom­i­na­tion, and with good rea­son, but there is even less his­tor­i­cal data on an­other prod­uct from the com­pany, the sim­i­lar but dif­fer­ent Cub­byS­pag – a type of leisure cot­tage on wheels.

The sim­i­lar­ity be­tween the two cre­ations is ob­vi­ous, and in fact they were penned by the same de­signer/ ar­chi­tect, one Her­bert Shoe­leather, a full blood Pas­samaquoddy war­rior who spoke no Eng­lish and sur­vived on a diet of beaver. Whereas the Spagabago was aimed at the ad­ven­ture-minded fam­ily group, the Cub­byS­pag had as its tar­get au­di­ence sin­gle gen­tle­men, tramps, recluses, lon­ers and other ec­centrics, of whom there were more than one may imag­ine. The Cub­byS­pag was cre­ated around the chas­sis of the highly un­suc­cess­ful Spag­forth Light Scrub­ber, of which fewer than two were built. The power unit was the ven­er­a­ble Spag­forth Su­per Stoat, the same en­gine that blew up un­der Edgar Jes­sop when well in the lead of the 1933 Dan­de­nong TT. This sin­gle cylin­der side valve en­gine had first seen ser­vice in the bru­tal Spagslicer lawn mower, and later in the Spago­b­rick non-light air­craft. The Spag­forth sales team pestered burghers through­out Canada with the pitch that this ve­hi­cle could re­move un­sightly and mal­odor­ous va­grants from city streets, thereby rais­ing prop­erty values and lead­ing to a wind­fall in rates rev­enue. And while this highly cre­ative ap­proach found trac­tion amongst the var­i­ous coun­cil trea­sur­ers, the ar­gu­ment col­lapsed, along with for­ward or­ders, the mo­ment the Cub­byS­pag un­der­went field test­ing. A ma­jor de­sign flaw was un­cov­ered in that the de­vise had no ef­fi­cient means of steer­ing; the driver forced to stand at the front win­dow hold­ing the cur­tains apart with one hand while op­er­at­ing the tiller with the other. Brak­ing was an­other area of sus­pect de­sign and ex­e­cu­tion, the sole means of re­tard­ing progress lay in the drop­ping of a lead-filled box (seen below the ve­hi­cle) onto the road sur­face whereby, it was claimed, the fric­tion would bring the Cub­byS­pag to a stand­still, even­tu­ally. The real sales killer how­ever came in the form of in­sur­ance, since the Cub­byS­pag was forced to pay not only mo­tor ve­hi­cle in­sur­ance (as well as regis­tra­tion and road wor­thi­ness cer­ti­fi­ca­tion), but coun­cil rates, home and con­tents in­sur­ance, flood cover, fu­sion cover, and if re­quired, land­lord in­sur­ance. There was also the rather del­i­cate ques­tion of waste (both hu­man and other) dis­posal. The lo­gis­tics proved in­sur­mount­able even for the gi­ant Spag­forth Group, and af­ter be­ing moth­balled for decades, the pro­to­type Cub­byS­pag was do­nated to the Olympic Fed­er­a­tion, where it even­tu­ally be­came the model for the ath­letes’ vil­lage ac­com­mo­da­tion at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The pro­to­type Cub­bys­pag un­der­go­ing tri­als for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

ABOVE Edgar Jes­sop’s per­sonal Spagabago – one of the first mo­torhomes used by an elite rider at GP events.

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