THE CASE OF THE SECRET BICYCLE: A Short Story about Nazi-occupied Holland
When the Nazis occupied Holland, things became very difficult for Dutch cyclists, and they had a hard job keeping their machines on the road. For one thing, there were no rubber tyres – M. Oosterwijk, an enthusiastic cyclist who told us this story recently – had eventually to fit wooden tyres to his BSA – and he had to obtain a permit even for those. But it still kept going. (BSA’s are tough!)
Then, as the war went on, the Huns started a cycle-grabbing campaign. But they didn;t grab M. Oosterwijk’s – he took his fathful BSA to pieces and hid the parts away. Under the living room floor was one hiding place!
On the morning of May 5th the news of the German surrender was announced and M. Oosterwijk joyously re-assembled his BSA and started to ride to his office in Rotterdam. Then came tragedy! He was waylaid by four armed Nazis and forced at pistol point to hand over his BSA. What a terrible piece of luck after such efforts to save his cycle! No wonder that M. Oosterwijk, like so many cyclists throughout the world, is anxious to get hold of another BSA! But soon there will be one for everyone everywhere. So keep in touch with your BSA dealer – he can help you.
– The Meccano magazine, March/April, 1946
and here is the bicycle everyone everywhere has been waiting for…
1946/1947 BSA ‘Wartime Finish’ Roadster
Civilian model built without bright parts because of a postwar shortage of materials
Wooden block pedals
BSA handlebar grips
26 x 1 3/8″ Wheels
The ‘Wartime Finish’ was a temporary specification, produced during a shortage of chrome parts. However, judging from the condition of the original paintwork and transfers (decals) on this bicycle, BSA does not seem to have skimped on paint quality.
An ‘All Black’ option was offered for various models in the 1940/1941 BSA catalogue. Also available was an ‘All-white’, with “frame, mudguards, etc enamelled all-white for extra safety at night”. I’ve reversed the All-White illustration below to give an idea of how the ‘Wartime Finish’ model might have looked if it had been illustrated in a BSA catalogue. This BSA is in excellent unrestored original condition.
1940/1941 BSA CATALOGUE EXTRACTS
BSA ADVERTISEMENTS IN MECCANO MAGAZINE, WORLD WAR 2 ERA
WARTIME FINISH’ BICYCLES: BSA v RALEIGH
TO SEE THE
1946/1947 RALEIGH ‘WARTIME FINISH’
PLEASE CLICK HERE