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Bibliography: Aldo Carrer books

December 4, 2013


The name Aldo Carrer will be familiar to readers of the AMCA’s facebook page here.  His daily posts are the best thing on the page, typically there are 4-5 photos from the early days of motorcycling.  Many feature women riders, or pioneer machines in France, or soldiers at war in some faraway place.  The images vary, but there is always an old motorbike and sometimes an odd one at that.  (Disclaimer:  This author has a preference for odd machines!).  Which leads us to Aldo’s latest book:  Tricycles, Quadricycles and Light Cars.  168 pages, published by Schiffer several weeks ago and available via ABE books from $31 and Amazon from $45.  My friends at the local bookshops would like me to remind you to buy local if possible.  If not, ABE is a good source to find rare books around the globe.



This book is like his others (more info below), and features photos, advertisements and postcards from the old days.  This particular book, as the title mentions, features the machines from the turn of the century with additional wheels.  Most of the images have not been seen elsewhere, but a few may be familiar to the very astute reader.  I asked Aldo how he finds all these images, and the answer should not have been a surprise.  He spends a significant amount of time each year travelling all over Europe to find these items.  From his home in Treviso, Italy it is a short jaunt to Switzerland or Germany or France.  He visits the small towns and asks all the people that he sees “Do you know old motorbikes?”  The swap meets and auto jumbles also yield some scores, but he must then negotiate with the sellers who have now learned his motivation.  This is a double-edge sword however, as they will grab up items and hold them in anticipation of his next visit, but they will know his eagerness to buy!  He travels as far as England, and his knowledge is not limited to the machines of his homeland.  The earliest machines of France roll from the tip of his tongue (even if I cannot quite understand all the words on our Skype calls).  And the strange machines and men of Italy or some of the Eastern European countries are not out of reach.  The familiar Indians, Harleys, Triumphs, Rovers, De Dions, etc are all present and accounted for on the pages.  Plus some oddballs like Phebus, Marot Gardon, Motette, Perfecta, Bruneau, Charon, Austral, even a silly Pennington.


Each image is accompanied by a short bit of text.  Just a small caption that describes the country, the type of machine and maybe a note about the circumstances.   The words are written in Italian, English and German.  There isn’t much story there, the images are the feature and many of them are blown up to be spread across two hardbound 9”x12” pages. 


It is great fun to study these men and women and machines.  After a minute we realize that almost all the machines have since been demolished for their scrap value.  All the people and the dogs have died, and probably their children and maybe grandchildren too.  We cannot change that, nor can we go back in time.  But we can enjoy the photos and hopefully enjoy the machines in their memory.


The flavor of pioneer motorcycles is an acquired taste.  We know that 1% of people ride motorbikes.  About 1% of those ride classic bikes.  Then a further 1% of those classic bike fans are crazy for the very earliest machines.  In America, we have 300 million people.  If my math estimate is correct, there are 300 people here who are head over heels for pre WWI machines.  If you’ve read this far, likely you are one of those folks.  This book is for you. 


Readers of the Bibliography Page will know that I only feature books here that interest me, and hopefully you too.  I liked this one so much that I bought 5 copies and gave them to friends.  Granted, those friends are into 110 year old motorbikes more than the average Joe.  But I think that the book was done well.  Please enjoy it.







P1000473 Aldo has written other books too.  Here is one about WWI.




P1000481 And this book is about the early days on just two wheels.


The word Motosacoche translates to “motor in a bag”.  and you can see why in the top left images.


To buy Aldo’s books, check the internet as I mentioned above.  For his earlier books, he may still have copies in his office.  Try his email at oldbike1 (at)  That is a number one after the word oldbike.


5 Comments leave one →
  1. December 5, 2013 9:42 am

    Googling around, I come up with something like 7 million bike regs. in the country, so there’s a veritable mob of 700 ancient bike enthusiasts. No way to count wannabes like myself, who haven’t yet found the ancient bike they’d like to have-or did-and it got away.

  2. December 5, 2013 9:46 am

    Holy shit! Triplane bombers!

  3. December 7, 2013 8:21 am

    Here’s a photoblog of my visit a local pre-WW1 rallye :-


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