The latest as I write was the Festival of 1000 Bikes – and what a scorcher, in more than one sense of the word. We had a great time all round and the Douglas (shown below, in a search for shade) went as well – nay, better – than I’d really dared to hope.
Things like the 1000 Bikes are important to our movement in more ways than just in terms of the revenue that’s brought in. The event means the older machines are demonstrated to an audience that isn’t just the usual ones who see them. I like to think that most with an interest in two wheels (and if they’re at the Festival of 1000 Bikes, you’d like to hope they have) are broad minded enough to at least look at machines out of their own comfort ‘zone’ while spectators throng the banks, meaning that more people than at any other time in the UK get to see – and hear – old motorcycles in action.
Before that, we’d had the Newark Bike Bonanza which was another ‘motorcycle’ rather than classic show, which brought together a cross-section of the motorcycling community. It’s funny, that in Europe there doesn’t seem to exist this ‘old’ v ‘new’, this ‘classic’ v ‘modern’ divide which has, in the past, been evident over here. Motorcycling is, in most forms, struggling right now (not that you’d have thought it judging from 1000 Bikes) and surely it has to be in all our interests to be united and ensure it survives. Legislation makes it ever harder for young riders to get on the roads, meaning the age of all participating is inevitably – and obviously – going up.
Which made it especially gratifying to see the other night, as I walked across the market square of a reasonably local town, a young lad came out of the shop with his mates, who split up and climbed into various hot hatchbacks and tore off up the road, pull on a crash helmet and kick start his D1 Bantam into life.
That, allied to the fact that the 1000 Bikes has convinced another one of my modern bike-riding mates that he wants a classic (I’ve recommended a rigid or plunger A7 as just the job, if anyone can help…) means I’ve been wondering if perhaps classics are the future of motorcycling after all – but we shouldn’t think of classics and moderns as separate entities, just all as motorcycles. That way the future is rosy.
James Robinson, Editor
Where legends come to life
James Robinson, Editor
James Robinson has been the editor of The Classic MotorCycle since 2002. Aged 34, he has possessed a motorcycle licence for 16 years and during that time has owned and ridden all manner of motorcycles, spanning over 100 years from oldest to newest.
Presently the custodian of a varied shed full of motorcycles, his overriding enthusiasm is for pre-World War Two sporting machines, with a couple of cammy Velos, a Rex-Acme and a Model 9 Sunbeam among those competing for attention.