The Pioneer Run is organised by The Sunbeam Motor Cycle Club and in 2013 it will celebrate the 75th year of the run from London to Brighton. To take part in the Pioneer Run you have to have a motorcycle, tricycle, or bike and sidecar that ‘left the factory’ before 1st Jan 1915, and your claim to have one has to be verified by the Club experts, who will issue you with a registration certificate. More than 300 entrants take part in the event each year, so obviously a good many bikes pass the test.
(By the way, bikes made after 1st Jan 1915 are known as Vintage.)
The Pioneer Run is a must-see. It is a walk into a living museum for the day. More than 300 machines and their ‘careful owners’ are there for your amazement and enjoyment. The atmosphere is very friendly and relaxed. And although most of the riders have a veteran look about them, the spectators are of all ages. In fact, there are a few younger riders, and even one or two young, woman riders.
This huge museum-for-a-day gives a fascinating insight into the very early history of the motorbike, as it evolved from the bicycle. It’s very easy to see that transition, since some of these early specimens are little more than a bicycle with some sort of motor strapped on.