Nick Cedar, a photographer with many books, magazine articles, and calendars to his credit, arranged a photo shoot of my Velocette MkIV KTT (better known as ‘The Mule’) this weekend, for an upcoming article in ‘Motorcycle Classics’ magazine (Margie Segal will be writing the text).

Photographer Nick Cedar examining his oily subject, my 1933 Velocette Mk4 KTT ‘The Mule’. [Paul d’Orléans]

He chose the Marin Headlands as the backdrop; the day was crystal clear and warm, almost too warm for the vintage outfit they requested from the rider! The view from the headlands is directly over the Golden Gate Bridge, back towards San Francisco, as can be seen over my handlebars in the second photo. The Headlands is a State Park, and used to be part of the greater military defenses of SF bay, which have all been decommissioned since the 1970’s. Thus, there are many gun emplacements and concrete batteries along the cliffs, making for dramatic backdrops, with stunning overlooks.

Evertbody loves an oily old bike: here some curious tourists check out the Velocette. It’s always the men who talk, and 80% of the time they ask if the bike is a Norton. Aussie and Kiwi tourists seem to know the most about bikes in general, for some reason I’m rarely approached by English tourists. [Paul d’Orléans]

Apparently a $200 fee is required to take commercial photographs in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, to help deal with the congestion caused by a photo shoot (there are always a zillion tourists clogging the first 1/4 mile of the road into the park, who all take three photos of the GG Bridge, but very few venture further into the hills). A park ranger stopped and quizzed us about the photo setup, but I told the truth and said I would be posting them on my blog (Nick kept mum).

Nick Cedar getting oil on his pants…[Paul d’Orléans]

Nick’s getup was completely minimal – not tripods or lighting rigs, just a camera and the occasional fold-out reflector, to cut through the oily gloom around my engine! And, as you can see in the pix, I haven’t washed the Mule in 18 mo’s (I do wipe it down to check for loose bolts), which is how they wanted it for the article.

It’s all crumbling decay at the Headlands, and I do mean the concrete. You’ll note my helmet acting as a kickstand – it works well, but I should stop using this particular helmet, as it was reputedly used by a privateer racer in England, who raced a Velocette MkVIII KTT in the 1950’s. I haven’t found a pic of the helmet anywhere though, so if it rings a bell, drop me a line. It has a yellow stripe which ends at a ‘V’, forming an arrow of sorts, but also the Velocette V (there’s a Velocette tank transfer on top of the yellow paint). Click on the first photo for a better look. [Paul d’Orléans]


Not the ranger, he’s one of a group of Alameda Police who happened to show up, circle the Velo, and stop to chat! They had just completed their motorcycle training, and were out for a celebration ride on a beautiful day. You meet the strangest people on a Velocette. [Paul d’Orléans]



Paul d’Orléans is the founder of He is an author, photographer, filmmaker, museum curator, event organizer, and public speaker. Check out his Author Page, Instagram, and Facebook.


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