Carrying the Torch

Playing with fire!

Carrying the Torch

Plenty of ways to use one's free time in this world. If you've read Cycle World magazine or any of these blogs over the last few years, you know I spend abundant time fixing up old motorcycles and using them on some fairly long rides. I even commute on a regular basis using pre-1960 English bikes.

Which is why this photo even exists. It's one thing to build a trailer-queen machine that has the appearance of being a useable form of transportation but never really puts a wheel down the Long Road. But when you actually run something, every little detail has to be right, or else it is wrong. My 1954 Velocette MSS 500cc Single has had its share of wrongs over the last few years thanks to some poor work done by the previous owner, but in the big run-up to the 1000-mile annual Velo Club rally last year, I went the full distance on the most complete rebuild I possibly could.

With the help and guidance of my pal Mike Jongblood, himself a Velocette commuter and an incredible machinist and mechanic, we (mostly he!) fixed just about every possible problem with my Velo engine. Here, we (he!) are (is) heating the cases with a torch in the process of putting in new main-bearing races. It was fun to watch, but I hope never to have this photo opportunity again! So far so good...