Before the rise of the internet, if you were an aficionado of motorcycles, “The Motor Cycle” magazine was your gospel. Established in 1903 by Iliffe and Sons Ltd, the publication held an esteemed position in the annals of British motorcycle history. It was not just a magazine; it was a movement that mobilized a whole generation of motorcycle enthusiasts.
Origins and Initial Years
Back in 1903, when motorcycles were considered a novelty rather than a means of transportation, “The Motor Cycle” took birth. The magazine’s blue cover quickly earned it the nickname “The Blue ‘un,” distinguishing it from its competitor, Motor Cycling, which sported a green background and was consequently known as “The Green ‘un.” The magazine proudly carried the strapline “Circulated throughout the World,” emphasizing its global reach.
The Rivalry with “The Green ’un”
The rivalry between “The Motor Cycle” and Motor Cycling was more than just a battle of hues. Both magazines vied for the same reader base, and both aspired to be the go-to source for motorcycle aficionados. The competition was fierce but friendly, pushing each publication to elevate its content and cater more effectively to its readers’ evolving needs and interests.
The Blue ’un’s Iconic Covers in the 1940s and 1950s
The 1940s and 1950s were transformative decades in the world of motorcycles, with the emergence of iconic brands and models that are now part of motorcycle folklore. “The Motor Cycle” was right there to chronicle these developments. Vintage photos of the magazine covers from these decades capture the essence of an era marked by excitement, adventure, and mechanical innovation. The covers were not just aesthetic but educational, often featuring the latest models, interviews with racers, and previews of upcoming motorcycle events.
The magazine underwent significant changes after 1962. The iconic blue cover was replaced with a variety of different background colors, and the publication’s name was changed to “Motor Cycle.” However, the essence and commitment to quality journalism remained intact.