Spider pokes fun at the Velocette LE (The Noddy Bike)
Amazingly, there are blokes around who actually love the Velocette LE. Spider actually knows one - how about that! These small, quiet, water-cooled, horizontal twins with everything enclosed in an aluminium casing like a scooter were once a common sight on Englandís roads. This was because police constables on the beat were issued with them so that they could whiz round their patch. Why were they called Noddy Bikes? Well, the story goes that the police inspectors used to prowl around making sure their coppers were not nipping into the boozer instead of feeling the collar of the local villains and whenever a constable rode past an inspector he had to salute him. This required the constable to raise his right hand to his brow in smart military style with the result that the throttle shot back to zero, the bike rapidly decelerated and the copper frequently fell off. Thus a new rule was introduced requiring the rider to only nod when he passed an inspector - hence Noddy Bike!
Spiderís cartoon highlights the fact that the Velocette LE is not renowned for its performance, being rather a gentle creature.
OK Chazzy - opposed twin it is, but the pots are horizontal! - Now behave yourself and stop being a rivet counter, there's a good chap - and get to fettling your Ajay! Blimey, I'm a cartoonist not an encyclopedic, rivet-counting motorcycle buff!
Grandad Did they use these for economy reasons, maneuverability or what . Certainly weren't going to do any hot pursuit on one of those . Reminds me a bit of a CyCar . While we're on the subject where did the term plod come from . A nod to the plod has kind of a ring to it eh ? Sorry that was bad George
George - you may have hit on a good question there. PC Plod was a character in the famous books for children by Enid Blyton and there was another character called Noddy in the same stories - bit of a coincidence eh? This also could be the origin of name 'Noddy' bike! Take your choice.
I am no historian of police matters but I reckon that they were probably chosen for their quietness compared to other machines of the time and clean riding because the 'greasy stuff' was all hidden under the cowling, also for fuel economy. I'm sure they were not made for the chase but they were a good town bike and I suppose it gave the beat copper more mobility, a bigger range than previously and the ability to respond more quickly to emergency calls.
Grandad a lad at work has a Velocette LE Mk 1 -2 ? about 1960 in his garage his going to restore it soon and his join the owners club. The bike has been in his family from new and it should be fun we will be taking the bike apart at work as part of his apprentership his working with me for 6 months and we hope to get most of it done .
This thread has brought back memories of my teenage years on the small island off the S.E coast of england where I grew up,the island is only 3 x 2 miles across and at that time the local plod had one of these little Velo's.Most evenings he would come to the youth club where we all used to hang out until the pubs got into full swing!,our bikes were a mixture of 350,500 and 650 BSA and Triumphs,AJS and Matchies,he would say,"you lads gonner behave tonight and treat the roads with respect",we always said of course officer!But during the evening he would see us roaring around the island but he could never catch up with us but as he knew which pub we hung out at he used to be there at closing time where he would say "I know it was you lot speeding earlier,one day I'll catch yer and throw the book at yer!"There was a chorus from us "not on that bike you won't!"Thing was he was a nice guy too.Halcyon days!! Paul.
Hey Tom - this'll make you chuckle. The bloke I know who loves Velocette LEs is also Graham's father-in-law and he's persuaded G to store TWO of the beasties in his garden while he moves house and builds a new shed! Do you think G will get to like them as he barks his shins whenever he tries to get into his own workshop??
On one of my sacmpers around Kent in the early 70's I came across a "platoon" of fresh hatched constables all LE-mounted and with 'L' plates on display, being shepherded by another copper on a big twin (sorry, do not remember what, TR6P, perhaps). I seem to remember all the Newbies were wearing traditional Bobby hats, but the bloke in charge had regular open face type helmet. At 200cc the LE was nicely under the limit for learner riders at the time, but I do not belive that was the only reason why thy were used by the police, somewhere I read that they used them in the big public parks to enable a rapid and silent patrol against evil-doers, much as horses are used in many cities, but without the extra care and feeding required.