'Strange' transport by motorcycle

During searches for supplements to my collection a hugh amount of stamps, letters, stationary etcetera passes through my hands. Sometimes there are nice items, that show wellknown things in another way or otherwise stimulate my thoughts. Here I want to show some of these 'strange' ways of transport.

Official and non-official courier services.
To be sure that messages get on their destination fast and accurately, official bodies often use courier services. Often executed by motorcycles. On the letter shown below the stamps clearly indicate that it had to be transferred from the Ministry of Defence to the correspondent of Hearst Metrotone fast and by motorcycle.

Letter French Ministry of Defence

In other cases it is less clear whether the letter has been transported by motorcycle. The letter from the Ambassy of the Netherlands to the Operational School of the Navy has been delivered by a courier, but it is not sure whether this happened by motorcycle.

Letter from NL-ambassy to Navy school Den Helder

First mobile post office of Dutch PTTIn newsletter 48 (June 1999) it had already been described that in the Netherlands post could be sent from various events through the mobile post office ('Autopostkantoor'). The first event where the mobile post office was used was the 1939 Dutch TT. Ir. Adema, an air mail collector from Den Haag, has used the opportunity to sent various letters from and... to the mobile post office. The next letter has been sent (by Adema?) from Hoenderloo to Assen, and has, according to the purple 'Autopostkantoor' stamp, arrived at the day of the races.

Letter sent to mobile post office in Assen

We all know the 1989 Expresse stamp from the Dominican Republic. Apart from expresse shipments, this stamp had to be used also for money transfers. When sending money through the mail, the letter below contained 190 Dominican dollars, it was obliged to put on expresse stamps next to the special money transfer stamps.

Enveloppe for money transfer in Dominican Republic

Next to the official courier services I have also found several items that, looking at the stamps, must have been transferred by motorcycle, but are probably artifical. Unfortunately the relations between the postal items and the transport by motorcycle are not (yet?) known. As motorcycle philatelist I am very interested to know whether the Belgian letter, in 1993, has indeed been transported by a motor courier between the 2 cities that are mentioned in the stamp. And if so: why? What's the reason? Which kind of motorcycle has been used? Official, by the Belgian Post, or a local initiative?

Belgian enveloppe - transported by motorcycle with sidecar

With the postal item from New Zealand the question is not about the type of motorcycle. According to the stamp and the handwritten indication the letter has been transported by an antique Zenith from 1926. But also here a lot of un-answered questions. Which youth camp is meant? Scouting, boys brigade, or philatelic camp? Why have letters been transferred by motorcycle? Whereto? Why is there a PTT postmark on the letter without address?

New Zealand enveloppe - transported by 1926 Zenith motorcycle

The same questions are raised by the letter from Italy. Here it is known that it concerns a scouting camp, and that the crew of the car or motorcycle has signed. But which kind of transport? Why? Whereto? And here also: why a PTT postmark?

Italian enveloppe - transported by motorcycle

The answers can determine whether one of the postal items shown here may be included in an exhibit to illustrate part of the story.

Delivery of Christmas presents.
Not every motorcycle philatelist likes them, but many of the MFN members feel that snowmobiles fall within the limits of our theme. This form of transport is mainly found in countries that are every year covered with a (thick) layer of snow. Not only for transport, but also for recreation snowmobiles are often used. And don't forget Santaclaus! To give some rest to his reindeers, he delivers the presents for the children with his snowmobile wherever possible. What he has to deliver on the various addresses he gets to know through the many letters written to him. And because, according to the rumours going around, he is living somewhere high up in Lapland, the snowmobile is the right vehicle to deliver these letters.

Backside Russian card with Santaclaus on a snowmobile

Frontside Russian card with Santaclaus on a snowmobile

What's wrong?
People who think that civil disobedience only happens in the Netherlands must carefully watch the postal item below. As far as I can see the sign on the right clearly indicates that access is forbidden for motorcycles. And what do we see a little further on the brigde?

Chinese card with motorcycle riding in wrong direction

Another nice example. No, it is not due to your eyes that the image looks blurred. Is it possible that the happily waving driver is already warming up his motorcycle? Or is the answer more related to a printing issue (double print, shifted colours?) which makes as if we are looking at a vibrating motorcycle?

Blurred printed Chinese card

Transport of the love of your life.
The Harley-Davidson of this driver looks very nice, but to take along his beloved there is some engineering work to do. It really looks like the buddy seat is missing.

Dutch telegram with HD

In April 1995 the Dutch PTT-Post issued a series of 17 telegrams with various subjects. The telegram costed Fl 23,50 plus a few quarters for the words. The only possibility for collectors to get one, was to send a telegram to themself. In the post office you could choose the desired image. When ordering by telephone this possibility was not available.

When the love appears to be true and the motorcycle has been equipped with a buddy seat, it is time to rush to the townhall.

Belgia Postogram

Postogrammes have been issued by the Belgian Post between 1984 and 2002. The one depicted here is no. 79 from 1993. Special to these Postogrammes was the possibility to state the date of delivery. In the lower left corner of the enveloppe there are a few boxes where the date of delivery can be filled in. Delivery on a Saturday was also possible. The original price was 50 BEF for the illustration including the enveloppe.

The items above are just some examples from my collection of strange transports using a motorcycle. I think that I am not the only person with items like this in his collection, and I would very much appreciate if you would have comparable illustrations, and are willing to share these with us. If you don't want to write story by yourself, or think that you are not able to, just send the image(s) with all relevant information, and I will compose the story.

Nico Helling


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