Sharon and I rode and raced the edge of that flood-inducing pile of weather last week to attend two events in London town; the first took place at Lewis Leathers, established over a hundred years ago. It’s like a museum of rocker’s leathers in there as well as being a shop and the perfect setting for the launch of a sumptuously large book on the history of biker leathers ‘Pride and Glory’.
The shop was packed so we spent the time out on the street with the many bikes and characters that had assembled to lark about and drink the free beer. We got to meet Corpses From Hell compadre Richard Baybutt at long last; he keeps missing out on our adventures due to work but promises to attend Wheels and Waves next year, I got to have a go on the tasty little café-racer he’s built, great fun.
Also attending were El Solitario all the way from Galicia and Vincent, Jerome and Mark from Southsiders, S.France. It was great to catch up with them all, reminisce and hear about their Bonneville trip first hand. Maxwell Paternoster from Corpses From Hell was also there on a recently acquired Honda 200, so it was a bit of a Wheels and Waves reunion.
About ten of us went for an extended ride through the nightime streets of East London on the, still thankfully dry, streets and it was the highlight of the trip for us. Mainly little Jap bikes and one with sidecar plus 11-year old daughter txting nonchalantly as her ride performed ridiculous stunts and manoeuvres to keep up with the rest. Big grins all round; London at night on a bike is one of my favourite things to do in the city.
The Sideburn launch party was in full swing as we pulled up, lots of interesting bikes to check out, Dave Arnold spinning the vinyl and a big crowd taking over the whole street. Some of the residents weren’t too happy, overheard quote: “There’s motorbikes everywhere, it’s just not on!” At the end of the evening Ben presented Nico from Ornamental Conifer with the best bike award for his ‘Sushi Eater’, possibly a euphemism, and I received one for the furthest travelled by bike to attend. The awards were handcrafted by Ben and magnificent, thanks Ben.
As we were setting off for a garage party in Hackney my bike refused to turn on; it’s Italian, it was chucking it down. As luck would have it Steve & Rachel from Speed Max were on hand and diagnosed a bad relay in no time, luckier still I had a spare and we were off in no time, many thanks. Steve is Flat Track custom bike builder, he is a wizard.
The garage was a great place to hang out as the deluge continued outside, the scene was refreshingly uncontrived, there was a helmet there with ‘Keep Hackney Crap’ painted on it by Nico for example. Thanks Drew for your warmth, humour and shelter from the storm, hope to drop in next time. We were pretty tired by this point so left the party after we’d found our keys, that took a while, don’t ask, and repaired to a houseboat we were staying in for boat drinks at the end of a long yet rewarding day. Thanks all.
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