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Author Topic: Birmingham Testers' Run Sept 9th 2007  (Read 2143 times)

Spitting Bull

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Birmingham Testers' Run Sept 9th 2007
« on: September 09, 2007, 03:04:20 pm »
Up early today and off on the Bullet to Birmingham for the 2007 Birmingham Testers' Run. This is an annual celebration of Birmingham's motorcycle manufacturing history and takes its name from the days when the factories were still active, and each machine was road-tested before final despatch.

This year's run started in York Road, Hall Green, Birmingham - at the site of the Velocette factory. There must have been over 100 bikes there, many Birmingham-made, but not all, as any rider on any machine - ancient or modern -  is welcome. My Brother-in-law was on his Harley, though he and I both own Birmingham-made bikes. I saw one Royal Enfield apart from mine - an Electra.

The important thing is to start at the chosen factory site (it's a different one each year) and sort of pay homage. Riders are not expected to miss this bit out and join the run part-way through, so the actual route isn't revealed until five minutes before the start.

This year the route took us to the Elan Valley in Wales, about 100 miles away. The Elan Valley was the site chosen, at the end of the 19th Century, for the creation of several large dams to ensure a supply of clean water to Birmingham. This supply of water allowed the city to grow, prosper and become "the workshop of the world" - a manufacturing capital which was home at one time or another to about 100 motorcycle manufacturers.

Leaving Velocette, we took  a short hop to another Birmingham district, Tyseley, to park up outside the former Excelsior factory for a few minutes, before heading off towards Wales.

The weather was cloudy but dry and quite warm, with no wind.  We had a very enjoyable run though parts of Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire and Powys (Wales). The route took us over the Clee Hills, Shropshire's highest, with a half-way stop when we reached the top. Most of the route was on the "old roads" which see very little traffic.

By the time you are 50 or 60 miles out, the bikes have spread out quite a bit, and you can go for miles and not see anyone else.  But if you stop for a break yourself you realise that they are still there, as they pass by in twos and threes.  We did, and saw bikes from Norton, Triumph, BSA, Ariel, Velocette, Vincent, all out on the road and being used.  The car-park at the Elan Valley Visitor Centre was a sight to see when they had all arrived.

Thanks to my brother-in-law for keeping his Harley down to the Bullet's sedate pace, as he always does.

The Bullet never missed a beat, started first kick all day and used about a table-spoon of oil on the 220-mile run.  Whenever I stopped and got off, it had admirers, but you'll all be familiar with that!

Hope this was of interest.

Some of the more significant Birmingham motorcycle makers:-

ABJ : Alldays : Ariel : Baker : BSA : Calthorpe : Carfield : Connaught : Dunelt : Excelsior
Federal : Forward : Heldun : Henley : Hercules : Ivy : Ixion : James : JES : Levis :LGC
Lloyd : Metro : Mercury : New Comet : New Hudson : New Imperial : New Ryder
Norton : OK : Phillips : Quadrant : Radco : Raynal : Rolfe : Sirrah : SOS : SUN : Trump
Velocette : Walco
« Last Edit: September 09, 2007, 03:15:17 pm by Spitting Bull »
One cylinder is enough for anyone.


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Re: Birmingham Testers' Run Sept 9th 2007
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2007, 04:36:31 pm »
Had an Ariel, BSA, Norton, Velocette, and a Peterson, that I think was made in Brum.. It was a basket case I never managed to get running - it had an AJS engine.
aka Indiana Bulleteer.
''99 Classic Bullet. '05 Ural Tourist sidecar rig, converted to 2wd. '05 Harley Davidson Sportster.
Jefferson County, WA