I dropped in to a great little bike show last weekend, run by the guys at the Bike Shed Motorcycle Club.
If you’ve never heard of this bunch, they’re basically a group of London based advertising and media folk who have come together to share their interest in café-racers, custom bikes and so on.
This was their first show, and it was held in a large photographic studio in trendy Shoreditch, in East London.
A tiny venue it was, but it certainly attracted a decent crowd and, throughout the weekend, there was a great buzz about the place.
In contrast to the corporate tackiness of most industry-run bike shows, it served as a refreshing tonic.
In truth, whilst there were some tasty bikes to look at, there wasn’t a huge amount to do. You could have wandered around the entire event in 20 minutes, but it was the kind of place where you just wanted to hang out and talk bikes.
And it was certainly a nice crowd. Everyone seemed to share a love of the café-racer sub-culture, and it was as relaxed a day as you could wish for, chatting with whomever you bumped into about everything from bike photography and film-making, to biker haunts, custom builders and biking fashion.
I also ate one of the best burgers I’ve had in ages. You could never say that about the NEC!
The truth is that it was a great event. We had wanted to go and sell clothing there, but we were committed to Beaulieu, so it wasn’t possible. But we hope to be there in future years as the event grows, as it surely will.
Personally, I got into biking out of a love for the bikes I used to see, hear and drool over in the sixties and seventies. And so, as you would expect, I’m a big fan of the café-racer. To me it epitomises biker cool. A leather jacket, open face helmet, goggles, jeans, and a set of clip-ons.
The guys at the Bike Shed understand it and have given the genre a lovely contemporary twist that doesn’t seem to be overly inhibited by tradition.
And to me, it’s so much cooler than the Ace Café thing where, if you’re not wearing the correct brand of jacket, boots, socks and underwear, you’re on the outside.
So we wish the boys at the BSMC good luck. It was a great first show. We’ll be back next year. Well, as long as their hamburger man is there too!