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11th August 2008


2008 Girder Fork Run
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If you like really old Brit bikes then Odgie reckons you’ll love the VMCC’s Girder Fork Run...

So, you’ve heard of the Banbury Run no doubt? A format of old bikes and a grand ride round? Well, the Girder Fork Run is the equivalent, only up’t North. Okay, it doesn’t have the cache, or the famousity. But it’s at least every bit as good, if not better, and what it does have is a route to die for. 50 miles of Lancashire’s best scenery.

Organised by the Central Lancs VMCC, ostensibly the run is for Girder Fork bikes, and although these are obviously encouraged, in truth anyone on a classic Brit is welcome to come and join in. It’s a cracking event. It’s the most fun I’ve had on a bike for literally ages. It deserves to be more well known – nice folk, nice bikes, nice roads, nice atmosphere, nice day out.

Photos by Odgie

This is either a VP or a PV (it’s a PV, God bless Google). It has an oil-cooled Bradshaw lump though, so the engine has travelled much farther in time than space. It also has a sprung frame. Can you spot out how it works then? Damn clever they were back in them old days…

Photos by Odgie

Aha, more Google facts… Lancastrian inventor Granville Bradshaw started his career early, designing an entire aeroplane, which used a 40hp water-cooled engine, in 191o at the tender age of 19. Crikey! Then, after creating the ABC horizontally-opposed twin of 1919-1923, so successfully imitated by BMW, Bradshaw came up with his oil-cooled engines for the 1920s. Aiming for efficiency at a high working temperature without overheating, Bradshaw devised an oil-cooled 500cc fore-and-aft flat-twin for Zenith, but it was only his proprietary 350cc single that was made in any volume. It was originally manufactured by James Walmsley of Preston from 1922 to 1925, and it was fitted to numerous makes of machine, including Orbit, Diamond, Dot, Matador, and of course PV.

Photos by Odgie

How better to illustrate the motorcycling progress from the 20’s to the 30s than these two Rudges side by side?

Just one word for this shot really. Evocative…

'Vintage' stuff on eBay

Photos by Odgie

This is a 1935 500cc Norton International Model 30. Wouldn’t a reporter’s life be easier if all bikes were as accurately described on the tool box?

Photos by Odgie

Flat-tank Ajay’s do have that certain elegance about them, don’t they…?

Photos by Odgie

Absolutely stunning Indian. Ridden there, ridden round, ridden home. And thirsty too, by the looks of it.

Photos by Odgie

Everything you need to know really.

Photos by Odgie

Jerry can and metal funnel – filling up period-style.

No excuses for showing a tele-sprung bike, not when it’s as superb as this gorgeous Norton 500T.

Nortons on eBay

Photos by Odgie

How many men does it take to fit a route sheet winder? (In this case three. And a bit of head-scratching.)

Photos by Odgie

Giving lie to the tales of fickleness, this very early Ariel Square Four ran like the proverbial Swiss watch, and was just as sweet at the end of the run too.

Photos by Odgie

So prestigious is the Girder Fork Run, some scurrilous rogues will do anything to take part. Scoundrels.

Photos by Odgie

Dunsop Bridge provided a pleasant mid-way break for refreshments. (Especially if your 80 year-old parents follow round in the car and bring egg sandwiches. Thanks mum.)

Photos by Odgie

Sunshine, old motorcycles, ducks. What more could ask for…

Photos by Odgie

You’d smile like that too if you were riding a 600cc tuned big-bore Vincent Comet.

Photos by Odgie

The young couple sat on the wall look like bystanders, and couldn’t have been older than mid-twenties. But they turned up out of the blue and did the run on a flat-tank Rudge. Maybe the future of classic biking is safe after all.

A thrace of vintage Sunbeams – not a sight you see (or a phrase you use) every day.

New Hudson was one of the lesser-known marques on the day. Boasts a very rideable patina too.

'Classic' bikes on eBay

Photos by Odgie

145 miles each way was a deserved Long Distance award. Depending on where you live, next year it could be you…

Photos by Odgie

Central Lancs chairman wears a slightly bemused grin after a surprise presentation of his very own girder fork bike. Maybe that’s a hint for next year Graham…?

There’s a more detailed write-up on the Girder Fork Run in the September 08 issue of RealClassic (click here to buy a copy when it’s on sale).

For details of the 2009 Girder Fork Run, or any other Central Lancs rides out or events, contact Scott on 01772 339065 or email hyper_products@hotmail.com


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