Tbe Matn Mtsstve

Those fine folk at Oxford products have very kindly offered up a BOX JX2 classic open fiWfMMj^J

face helmet, in either silver, gloss or matt black, for th winner of the monthly Main Missive

- let us know your size and colour preference. OXFORD!

Ki.lw Equpniiw.

The original military Doodlebug.

I received issue 232 and as always it satisfied 200 percent. The story of the Normandy invasion Harley was great but there was also another two-wheeler from America used. It was called the Doodlebug and was usually tossed out of a C47 - with a parachute of course - for the preliminary paratroopers to use behind the beaches. Essentially it was a kid's scooter (I had one myself) with a Briggs & Stratton engine with a centrifugal clutch. The idea was to give the troops some form of 'rapid' transportation. Does anyone know any more?

The picture is of one such combat Doodlebug, from the Korean war era, it's very like the one I had -1950/51 - I paid five bucks for it. This one looks to have a kickstart and a square tank, whereas mine was a rope pull start and a round tank.

The single purpose D-Day combat Doodlebug had smaller T-shaped handlebars, a cylindrical fuel tank behind the single seat, shorter forks, smaller tyres and a thumb throttle.

The colour picture is of today's Baja Doodlebug, lights, brake light, generator, front fender, the lot.

Brooke Harvey San Simeon, California

Ed Note - Another similar job was the Cushman 53 Autoglide. These had a Husky fan cooled 244cc side valve, with hand change two-speed gearbox and centrifugal clutch. Unlike the British Welbike which was dropped in a canister, the Cushman was dropped directly hooked to the parachute.

I'm not usually one for writing letters but my blood boils every time I purchase one of your magazines now. As a British bike enthusiast I blow blood vessels by the dozen every time I read pages and pages about bikes being sold at auction.

It's £70,000 for this, £100,000 for that, no shortage of bikes, thousands of people turning up, no shortage of money etc. That's all very well for those with loads of money from their well paid job but all this is doing is pushing up the prices of bikes well above the reach of the average man.

With £3-5000 now for the average classic, it's ridiculous and it makes me sick to the teeth that you as a magazine promote this - and what happens? The prices escalate and only the rich buy them and take them away on their trailers.

Yes, I can buy a Bantam or a Starfire but I don't want one of them, I want an ES2, a Velocette or a 650 BSA etc - but they're £3-5000 if I'm lucky, then there's the cost of parts to refurbish them, there's just no way on an average wage, it's impossible to save anything and a loan is even more expensive to repay.

With Starfires etc now around £2000, your magazines are creating a market for the rich, just like everywhere else and it pees me off big-time. If it keeps up you can stick your magazines right up where the sun don't shine. I want to get out like the rest but I want a decent sized bike, so stop pushing up prices through propaganda, give us poor ones a chance.

A Locket Southam Warwicks

Ed Note - I know you'll say 'well he would say that wouldn't he' but I have to beg to differ. We simply report upon what happens, it is as you rightly say, like everything else in a free market, supply and demand. I'd like a castle with a moat, watch towers, gun emplacements and guards with dogs but like you, so far I can only afford the gun and the dog!

Gate guardian?

We have just returned from a month's holiday in New Zealand and Australia, something we could never do when we were mailing out magazines every day. Hanging above the doors to the toilets in Bojangles Saloon, in Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia was this Indian. How long do you think it would take you to get it on the road? They also had a Harley-Davidson 'Popper' that looked like it was running and several cycle parts that I could not ID.

It was great to see my old friend Beno featured in the November issue.

Lee Cowie

Lee Cowie

I've just discovered a great kitchen tool ideal for removing the bezel on a Smiths speedo. It's the Zyliss Jar Opener, which is fitted with a soft rubber gripping loop. This is ideal for holding the bezel as it doesn't leave any damage. Just fit over the item and turn the handle until it grips. Also good for other items needing some gentle persuasion to come undone but need to be left untarnished.

Roger Eastaugh Via email

Ed Note - Do you have any handy hints like this? Let us know, better still send us a picture or a drawing.

The present American Doodlebug.

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