Speaker meeting 11th January 2016

David Biggs (left) is thanked by Club President Tony Beenham.

Rotarian David Biggs was welcomed by the Church Wilne Rotary members on Monday 11th January to their speaker meeting at the Royal Oak in Ockbrook.

His talk was "Nottingham, where the birthplace of superior British Motorcycles Began"

He passed his test on a Scooter before quickly progressing to a Triumph and after several others he now has a six cylinder 1600 BMW and rides around 9,000 miles a year having travelled many times to Italy, Spain and Norway.

David spoke about the history of bikes in Nottingham and his love of them. He has ridden a 1913 Sun.

Nottingham and bikes go back to 1817 when a running bike was first produced before it was fitted with peddles in 1840. In 1885 the first safety bike was named the Rover and by 1928 George Brough was the first to record a speed of 130 MPH.


George Brough after breaking the speed record of 130 mph on a SS100.

Thomas Humber started Humber cycles and in 1905 started making cars. Prices at the time were for a car from 550 to 750 guineas, cycles £10 and motor bikes £42. He was a great engineer but a terrible businessman. Humber cars were in existence until 1975.

David continued by giving lots of details on Raleigh and its founder in 1888 Frank Bowden and they were soon to be the biggest cycles manufacturers in the world. James Archer and Henry Sturmey developed the Sturmey Archer gears and this was later sold to Norton in 1934.

Today the value of these old bikes have soared and when the Wollaton Park Industrial museum was closed a few years ago and dusty old motor bike was sent for auction and it went for £291,200. A Brough Superior was recently sold for 225,000 Euros and a collection of old bikes found in a barn in Cornwall are expected to each fetch from £80,000 to £120,000.


Lawrence of Arabia on one of his 8 Brough Superior motorcycles.

David is also a member of the International Fellowship of motorcycle Rotarians and they provide help in Africa and details can be found on www.riders.org

There followed many questions from the members before the club's vote of thanks was given by Brian Stokes who also has a love and happy memories of his days on motor bikes.

For more information on Rotary, our speaker evenings and the main activities organised by our club please contact Rotarian John Astell at: rccw1220@gmail.com

Ray Terry
For the Rotary Club of Church Wilne


4th January 2016

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