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New Expanded Edition of Prairie Dust, Motorcycles and a Typewriter

Freshly printed copies of Prairie Dust, Motorcycles and a Typewriter have landed. The book is now expanded with an extra 24 pages focusing on Saskatoon’s (and Canada’s) early motorcycle history, from around 1908 to the time Nicholson Bros. Motorcycles opened up in 1933 – 1935. There’s information about Walter’s Cycle, the earliest Saskatoon Harley-Davidson dealer and Bowman Brothers, who sold first Yale and then Indian.

Also included is the story of Gordon Chappell, NBM first mechanic, as told by his sons, Gary and Brian.

Bernie Nicholson aboard his circa 1939 Ariel Square Four, Bessborough Hotel, Saskatoon, in background.

And lastly, the final few pages are dedicated to Lindsay Brooke, author of Triumph Motorcycles in America, as he describes the influence NBM had on the North American motorcycle market, particularly in regards to Triumph.

Copies can be had for $20 plus shipping, and be sure to check out the other NBM merchandise, including J.B. (Bernie) Nicholson’s Second and Seventh Edition reprints of Modern Motorcycle Mechanics.

Tsawwassen Classic & Vintage Motorcycle Swap Meet and Show N’ Shine

It’s time for Western Canada’s premiere motorcycle event —  the Tsawwassen Classic & Vintage Motorcycle Swap Meet and Show N’ Shine. Held annually at the South Delta Recreation Centre in Tsawwassen, B.C., this year’s show is scheduled to run Sunday, April 17. Doors open at 10 a.m.

Event organizer Todd Copan and his family are celebrating 26 successful years with the event, which  started in 1986, and since the second meet it has been held in the same location. It started off small but has grown to fill the 25,000 sq. ft. venue — a hockey arena and a curling arena with six sheets of ice. There are 160 booths/tables in two buildings.

Vintage and classic motorcycle parts are the focus of the swap meet, but Copan has several other activities taking place, including a Japanese-only hall where anything from the big-four manufacturers – new or old – can be found. He also sets apart an area especially for his show and shine, and every year Copan determines a theme. For example, in 2011, Copan is celebrating all special and hybrid motorcycles, especially the Triton.

There have been some relatively obscure feature machines on display here, including an incredibly rare 1941 Harley-Davidson prototype OHV 45 cubic inch motorcycle. Harley didn’t produce an OHV 45” (750cc) motor until the Sportster in 1957. There have been Crockers, Vincents, Brough Superiors – even Max Lambky’s streamlined twin-engined Vincent that runs at Bonneville.

Some say the most enjoyable part of the Tsawwassen swap meet is the impromptu show that takes place in the parking lot. Literally hundreds of motorcycles converge on the asphalt and the display can sometimes be just as entertaining as what is inside the hall. You’ll want to go in though, if not for the motorcycles, then for the opportunity to win a copy of the Seventh Edition reprint of Modern Motorcycle Mechanics and the book about that book, Prairie Dust, Motorcycles and a Typewriter. Good luck!


Award winner…

Great news. Prairie Dust, Motorcycles and a Typewriter was recognized with a MAX Award on Saturday, Jan. 16 at the SUPERSHOW in Toronto. The award was accepted by motorcycle author Max Burns on my behalf. The 31st annual MAX Awards are the equivalent of the Oscars for Canadian motorcyclists. What’s especially great about the 2010 MAX is it bookends the 1997 MAX received for writing an article about J.B. Nicholson.

Be sure to visit for books, t-shirts and DVDs.

Prairie Dust, Motorcycles

Prairie Dust, Motorcycles and a Typewriter book signing this weekend

I’m pleased to announce that I will be signing copies of my book, Prairie Dust, Motorcycles and a Typewriter, this weekend at the Calgary Motorcycle Show at the BMO Centre at Stampede Park. I’ll be at the vintage motorcycle display Friday, Jan. 8 from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and again on Saturday, Jan. 9 from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The book is $20 per copy, and the companion DVD, Motorcycle Memories in Motion, is $10.

See you there!

Prairie Dust, Motorcycles

Prairie Dust, Motorcycles and Typewriter: The story of Bernie Nicholson and Modern Motorcycle Mechanics

UPDATE: Dec. 23, 2009 — Now that the book Prairie Dust, Motorcycles and a Typewriter has launched, the title plus other Nicholson Bros. Motorcycles goodies can be purchased at

I’m happy to announce the upcoming launch of my self-published book Prairie Dust, Motorcycles and a Typewriter: The story of Bernie Nicholson and Modern Motorcycle Mechanics.

Nicholson, of Nicholson Bros. Motorcycles (est. 1933) in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan was more than just a prairie motorcycle dealer. In 1942 at the age of 25 Nicholson wrote and self-published the first edition of Modern Motorcycle Mechanics, a book that sold so well, he was encouraged to write six more editions, the last in 1974. Over the years more than 100,000 copies of Modern Motorcycle Mechanics have sold worldwide — no small feat for any Canadian author. In fact, 35 years after the last edition was published, there is still a demand for the volume from motorcyclists restoring vintage American, British and Japanese machines. (See for more information.)

Prairie Dust, Motorcycles and a Typewriter takes an in-depth look at how two young brothers imported their first British motorcycle to the dusty Canadian prairies in 1932 during the height of the Depression, and how they went on to run one of the most well-known dealerships and motorcycle mail-order parts houses in North America. Not to mention Nicholson’s writing of Modern Motorcycle Mechanics.

Also available at the launch will be Nicholson Bros. Motorcycles t-shirts, and a DVD that features vignettes of Saskatoon motorcycle hill climbs, military motorcycle training in Barriefield, Ontario and a look at the Daytona Beach races in 1954 and 1955 plus much more.

Mark the calendar, and hope to see you there. Please share this news.