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Helping keep British Motorcycles on the road for over 30 years - established 1977

Celebrating 45 Years

Article by Mark Appleton, Partsman
Written October 2022

On Halloween evening 1977, exactly 45 years ago, I rented a 2000 square foot shop on Main Street in the small university town of Wolfville, Nova Scotia, and applied for a Meriden Triumph dealership.

Initially repairing anything with an engine, the shop was called Wolfville Engine Specialty, and with parts dealerships from my former employer, Ontario Norton distributor Firth Motorcycles, as well as Nicholson Brothers Motorcycles and a few others, I would come in at 10 AM and work straight through to 10PM the following night, a straight 36 hour shift, sleep for 12 hours, then repeat same thing the same thing the next day, at the same time also working weekends at the Acadia University’s Wheelock dining hall to pay the rent until the shop began to make a profit. It was nice to be then able to quit the university job and reduce my working hours down to a 5 day 66 hour work week…...

My time as a Triumph dealer was abruptly ended when the Meriden factory shut down in 1983, so I bought out the remaining parts inventory of Canadian Triumph importer Frank Burke who had passed away at the same time as his beloved Triumph factory, and the company began concentrating on wholesale of motorcycle parts to repair shops and former Triumph, Norton and BSA dealers, incorporating that year as British Cycle Supply Company Limited.

That same busy year included the purchase of a huge property a few miles outside of town containing a disused slaughterhouse that, now more than doubled in size, still serves as our Canadian headquarters today, so many years later.

The years that followed including driving thousands of miles all around Canada and the USA, first in a 1969 Chevy panel truck pulling a trailer, than a Chevy van, then a series of Diesel cube vans, all with the object of clearing out what must have been close to a hundred dealer’s and distributor’s now obsolete British motorcycle inventories and hauling them back first to Nova Scotia, then from 1995 onward also to a former printing press roller factory in Hackensack, NJ that was the home of the company’s US operations until a move to the old Loring Air Force Base in Maine 20 years later, in December 2015.

Over my now 50 years involvement in the motorcycle industry, I have had the opportunity to meet many fascinating people involved in designing, building, selling, racing, and riding motorcycles. I have had the privilege to work with parts suppliers and manufacturers dedicated to ensuring that the motorcycles we love can continue to be supported for the foreseeable future, and have had the honour of working side by side with staff that have become more like friends and family than employees.

I have also had the pleasure to have as customers some of the finest people in the world: motorcycle people, and look forward to many more years of helping to keep classic British cycles on the road.

Thanks to you all,
Mark

Photos: 1979 at the original shop on Main Street in Wolfville with Maggie The Shop Cat and a counter full of Girling shocks… Still have the parts counter, but both the cat and my hair are sadly long gone.