On a beautifully sunny (but cold) winter's day my son in law drove me through to London so that I could visit the bike show, he had something else to do there so it was convenient to drive. We parked and took the "Emirates airline" cable car over the Thames, an interesting experience in itself.
From there it was a short walk past the luxury Dockside hotels and apartment buildings to the massive exhibition centre which was hosting a classic car show at the same time as the motorcycle show, so the crowds were huge.
Pretty much the first thing I saw as I walked in was a display of beautifully restored classics, I have a particular soft spot for the British Matchless and BSA motorcycles as they were the first bikes that I rode as a young policeman in the Rhodesian Police Force, I got my license on a Matchless in the Police driving school way back in 1968 and would probably give up a body part to own a Matchless like this one;
They were such nice bikes to ride, once you got them started! Kickstarting these beasts into action required a technique that we soon became adept at. Next I admired two classic BSAs which had been lovingly restored, I had lots to see so I reluctantly moved on.
I saw a modern remake of the old well known marque, the Brough Superior (left) and something new to me, "Mutt" motorcycles (right), this looks like a fun ride.
I spent quite a bit of time wandering around the numerous trade stalls, still looking for a specific type of cruiser/touring boot but I was unfortunately unsuccessful, I had hoped that this would be the place.
As you would expect, there were a lot of custom bikes on display, I particularly liked the "Green Manalishi" (right) by "Krazyhorse Customs". These bikes, as well as the impressive display of MotoGP bikes were roped off so that the people could not climb onto them. Understandable because all of the other bike manufacturers let people sit on their bikes, this had resulted in the BMW R1200RT having badly scuffed and scratched pannier cases and I wondered if perhaps that bike would have been sold off cheap after the show!
If I lived here in England I might have followed up with an offer because that certainly couldn't be sold as a new bike.
By mid afternoon the place had become very crowded and on my rounds I had noticed that there was a pub, I headed back that way in the hopes of acquiring a cold pint and a place to sit. I joined the long queue and got chatting to an English biker who, on hearing that I was a biker from South Africa, insisted on buying me a beer, thanks Julian! I found a place to sit for a bit and enjoyed my pint. It had been an interesting afternoon and I was in amongst my kind of people but it was time to go, I had a last look around as I made my way to the exit.
Biking is strong in the UK., I don't know much about their club scene but I do see lots of bikes out and about and they are, by necessity good at riding in adverse conditions. Not many of the roads here are suited to high speed riding, being quite narrow and winding, but they are lovely for tourers or cruisers and I would love to ride here.
We're off on another road trip down to the coast next and after that I intend visiting the Sammy Millar motorcycle Museum down near the New Forest, stay with me. Time is running out here in the UK, we head back home mid March where my bike is waiting for me.