James May's Meccano bike will be star of exhibition

Friday 1st December 2017 6:07 pm

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The Meccano motorbike ridden around the TT course by TV personality James May is the centrepiece for 'Playful Pasts', an exhibition of toys and games at the House of Manannan - pictured is Anthea Young, education services officer for Manx National Heritage

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The Meccano bike on which James May made his epic circuit of the TT course has returned to the island for a new exhibition.

It will be the centrepiece of a new exhibition launched this weekend at the House of Manannan in Peel.

Made from no fewer than 15,000 pieces of standard Meccano, the bike is a one-off design that was created during the filming of the BBC programme, James May’s Christmas Toy Stories, back in 2013.

The challenge was to produce a bike capable of completing the 37.8-mile TT circuit over three days during TT week. It had to be able to reach a speed of at least 15mph and survive the punishing long climbs and sharp descents for which the historic course is famous.

The battery-powered motorbike and sidecar consists of more than 600 nuts and bolts in each wheel alone and it took nine weeks to complete.

Former Top Gear presenter James May, who was accompanied by TV personality Oz Clarke on the run, said: ’There was a certain amount of flexibility and a couple of minor problems with bearings, steering, comfort, electricity - and the passenger - but apart from that it was a very smooth run and very heroic, I think.’

May’s Meccano bike is just one of many fascinating objects on display as part of Manx National Heritage’s latest exhibition, Playful Pasts - our Journey with Toys.

A public opening of the exhibition will start at 2pm this Saturday (December 2) at the House of Manannan.

Anthea Young, education services officer and curator of the new exhibition, said: ’We were delighted that James May was able to loan the Meccano bike for the duration of the exhibition.

’The bike is a real showpiece and is one of the many supersized toys on display within the Playful Pasts - Our Journey with Toys exhibition.’

Playful Pasts - Our Journey with Toys runs to Easter 2018 at the House of Manannan.

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