Last weekend I published Chapter 37 of The Armored Satchel, my World War II spy thriller serial. In this episode, the hero, Max Volcker, tries to escape a pursuing counter-intelligence agent by stealing a motorcycle which happens to be a BSA Model E (also known as the Type A). What ensues is a chase around the streets of Lisbon. While I have never ridden a motorcycle in my life, I confess a certain fascination for them–see these previous blog entries–and so on a hunch I scoured YouTube to see if I could find a video of someone riding this exact sort of bike.

I couldn’t, but I came close. What you see in the video above is a ride on a BSA Model K, which was manufactured in 1916. This model is similar to the Model E and predates it by three years. The video was taken at an antique cycle enthusiasts’ club meeting in Perth, Australia in 2012. It’s not as hair-raising as some of my previous motorcycle videos, but it was fun for me at least to see what it would have been like to ride on a bike of this era.

It’s amazing these ancient bikes, now nearing a hundred years old, still exist and are operational. That’s a testament, I think, to the people who engineered and built them.

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