Rudge-Whitworth motorcycles were manufactured from 1911-1946. Although they are often remembered for their mechanical advances, reliability, and success in races, they also produced some interesting accessories.
One of their offerings was a canoe that had a quick-detach mechanism from a sidecar chassis. As you can see from the photo, this was not a smaller canoe like the ones available with some 50’s motorcycles, but a high-end fourteen-foot canoe made of mahogany.
This doesn’t look like an easy sell, but one can tell that Rudge-Whitworth agreed with the advertisement that stressed how their offering was both functional and beneficial in the following statement, “Canoe sidecar can be turned round in a circle of 20 feet diameter, which very few motor cars are capable of doing. To river lovers it gives great mobility and makes it possible to become acquainted with half the rivers in the country.”
To show the viability of a motorcycle with a canoe sidecar, the company had one of their factory racers, Ernie Nott, enter the Birmingham Motorcycle Club’s Victory Trial. Although the three other Rudge-Whitworth racers who entered into the trial, but were riding without canoes, had to help Ernie, he was still able to earn a bronze medal.
There are no records of how many bikes were sold with the canoe sidecar option, but it appears from the short period of time they were offered, that there were not a lot. Either way, this is a very intriguing optional accessory for a motorcycle.