Monday, April 05, 2010
Mr. MotoHistory Know-It-All
I've never won a really cool prize, at least not until last week. I did win the school science fair in the 5th grade when I built a transistor radio inside of a matchbox and later in life I was the fastest in Army Basic Training at reassembling my M-14 rifle but that's pretty much it for being a big prize winner. Come to think of it I was that close to inventing the iPod Nano, wasn't I?
Over at Ed Youngblood's MotoHistory.net Ed runs a contest each month to see who can be the first reader to identify some obscure make of motorcycle from an old picture. When dealing with actual moto-history experts B.S. doesn't get me very far and a photo of the casting marks on a crankcase half isn't enough to tip me off to the ID of most machines.
Apparently many others out there are more studied in the esoteric corners of motorcycling history than I am because there seems usually to be a winner of the MotoHistory contest in a matter of minutes. Often the fellow provides a complete explanation along the lines of "Ah, that would be the '21 Singlemayer 243cc Popinjay Twin, the side valve model. Only three were built, one finished 7th at the 1922 Duchy of Grand Fenwick TT; that example was red, the other two were teal with beige striping. The two teal examples are presently owned by Illuminati Museum in Clydebank, Scotland, and TT bike is currently undergoing restoration at the well known Von Erstwhile restoration concern in Vogelscheiße, Germany." Some guys apparently have a motorcycle Wikipedia crammed inside their head. Mere mortals have not a chance and I'm definitely mortal. However, I do remember pictures.
Well friends, Ed finally put up a picture of a bike that I semi-recognized AND I must have clicked on the page right after he posted it AND the bike is so odd that I saved a picture of it that I found a while back while browsing the web for purposes unstated. Happy convergence!
So upon seeing the photo Ed posted and then realizing that there was no winner yet I feverishly fired off an e-mail to him declaring my dead certain knowledge of the name (the photo I saved used the bike name for the file name) of the fairly obscure pre-WWII German motorcycle. Wonder of wonders, not only was I right, but I was first in. Yes I won and the the prize is nothing less than an official "MotoHistory Know-It-All Diploma." In my world that's cooler than my 1986 H.O.G membership card.
Ed's blog is here, so cruise on over and see for yourself what the obscure bike is. Read beyond the first few paragraphs and you'll learn a even more about actual motorcycle history as opposed to my stories which are only mostly true.
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"When my mood gets too hot and I find myself wandering beyond control I pull out my motor-bike and hurl it top-speed through these unfit roads for hour after hour." - T.E. Lawrence
An Important reminder from the past:
"I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." - James Madison