The Final Day was a Saturday. Though delighted, we were exhausted with our aventures on the Isle of Man. Now back in England, we had one mission left, and only a few hours of daylight left. A final pre-War ride. Woody pulled the three oldest bikes out : the 1938 BSA, 1938 New Imperial, and his Dad's 1929 BSA. All 250 singles. Woody's article on the two 1938 bikes appears on the next two pages.

For Jonathan and me, it was the first time on hand shift motorcycles. The New Imperial is 1st gear at the top, and 2-3-4 push down away from the rider. Of course the BSA is the opposite of that: 1st gear is at the bottom, and as you shift up, you pull the gear lever towards you with your right hand. The three of us made the run from Mossley up the Manchester Road east to Dovestone Reservoir. I can ride my onw motorcycles with one hand, or no hands easily for a short stretch, but riding some else's priceless pre-War machine was a bit unnerving. To make matters worse, the BSA liked to mis-shift. So I'd find myself in what I call a fake neutral, and losing momentum would have to try to shift back into the gear I'd just tried to shift from. The New Imperial gearbox was very straight forward. I rode the New Imp out, and the BSA on the way back. Both 1938 machines were supremely cool. The only bike we did not ride was Old Rusty, the 1929 BSA B29.

f My first experience on a Hand Shifter - the '38 New Imperial

f Jonathan on the BSA B21 and I pull up to Dovestone Reservoir


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