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2017 what a year


Well the years not over yet, but Brightona marks the slowdown of the big events and shows for me until usually the NEC. A time to recover and try and save towards next year’s fun. But what another fab year it has been, and there was me thinking I would take it more careful but with so much on in the South I had to be out and about, and even a major family trauma did not spoil this. I focused on mainly attending shows I have not been to before, and there are still some I haven’t made such as rat and survival and soggy moggy, maybe next year. I still managed over 50 different larger events and lots of smaller ride outs and gatherings, and great at last to have my grandson out on the bike, below are some of the highlights of the year please remember to check out fuller reports and photos on the separate pages on the website

As ever a huge, huge thankyou to all of you who suggest events and ideas and especially those organisers who kindly send me tickets and passes. I’m glad to say there are already a few new ideas in the melting pot for 2018 including hopefully a trip to Czech Republic my first ride there since 2008 and maybe the OGRI .But please keep those ideas and invites coming in and I think I fancy a few more events in the west this year. Please get in early as if this year is anything to go by its first come first served, and I am happy to promote events, sorry I cannot make all.

But back to 2017 and starting the year on January 1st as most do I went to the rather splendid Brooklands Gathering which was busy, and of course the TALMAG is always a favourite for the early part of the year when the needing a biking fix is strong. I also randomly managed to make front page picture of the local newspaper when a car burst into flames at the top of our road.

A damp March found me in an equally damp Dublin (I flew) at the superb Irish motorbike show which was a great start to the show season and the Irish hospitality and Guinness was superb and fab at last to see purple helmets I can see why people rave about the event. There was an interesting selection of custom and streetfighter bikes too.

At the beginning of April the sun came out and stayed with us until the start of the school summer holidays and the splendidly organised Ride on Addiction from Bridport to Exemouth. Why I said yes to a ride which starts 130 miles from home at 10am I have no idea but it was a grand day out it must have been the thought of an ice cream.  

Then I had my bike bonanza at the Plough in Lower Beeding (which I seem to have been at quite a lot this year) and was totally blown away by the turn out and a big thanks to all who came along, especially the Rat Bikers, mmm I need a rat bike. I have been nudged and it will be happening again on 14 April 2018 and cannot believe how far some people travelled to attend.

Then there was the superb Bum in Mud and the excellent “Waxies Dargle” a Pogues Tribute band who almost got me dancing, but why do I always camp next to people who decide 3am is the time to argue or worse try to get jiggy with it.

Sadly at the end of April while visiting the Chelsea cruise for the first time my bike was pranged and even though minor the saga of bike repairs started but I at least had a loan bike, 1250 Bandit,  eventually even if it was a tad too tall for me, not that I ever mentioned that at all.

The Lion Rally in Reading was really cool and I can see why people love it and I may be back next year for it properly. One of the other new big shows was bike fest at Goodwood a blustery day for a ride out, great venue and great idea but a bit too pricey for an average day out on the bike. This was probably down to Goodwoods pricing schedule for food but I still enjoyed the day out.

Not one for military shows normally I had a pleasant trip to Operation Overlord where there was a cool re-enactment with lots of explosions, and I fell in love with the idea of owning a Kettenkrad but being banned from three wheels, how would I cope with tracks?. Later in the year I went to the Capel Military show with Grandson Alfie as a test run for taking him to shows.  

I randomly had a couple of evenings at Brighton where I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of others who thought it was a good idea after I mentioned it online, this may be an idea next year again.

On the hottest day of the year I helped out at “Be a better biker” a national campaign for educating motorcyclists with just a few tips to help them ride better, if it made one or two people to think twice it was worth it.

This year the Harley Sportster turned 60 and there was a party at Birmingham. A superb and huge ride in by sportster sickness was a highlight and showed how the sportster has evolved and that it is not just a bike for pottering around.

End of term brought around Jesses prom and my bike was back at last after 10 weeks hoorah, collecting it only that morning wow it felt low but so good to be back. A fantastic turn out for her on a very warm night and was awarded the best entrance of the night and several overheated bikes.

As the school holidays started the weather cooled, but luckily in the south we still had plenty of good weekends for riding. The musos on bikes show was brilliant as ever, even the house building cannot keep a good show down.

The Assembly Chopper show held at the House of Vans in London was seriously retro with lots of 70s style bikes in a seriously cool venue and brilliant to see my mate Yoda even if we did break him and he went down with “Cockneyitis”.

With so many events clashing on weekends over the high summer it seemed that some events were lower on numbers, certainly it affected my first visit to the Broken Arrow show that and the weather, but there were still some quality bikes out and about. No more was this evident than at the couple of the chopper club events I went too, though there is seemingly a rash of large trikes appearing. Both the Innit to Winnnit and Headstock shows run by the NCC had real quality.

The SE Association show in Rye was impressive on a very hot day and an eye opener for my in-laws who came along with us; though I think my father in-laws main plan was to rehydrate me with beer the whole time. While my mother in law tried out trikes which worries me a lot.

I seem to have spent a lot of my year popping into the Plough at Lower Beeding, as its often perfectly placed on the way home (my excuse and sticking too it) but there is always a warm welcome and usually some neat bikes. The West Sussex TOMCC show at the Plough was as good as ever and who cares about an afternoon monsoon.

August brought a bit of a family shock, but in the way that we do, mum ordered us out to have fun, and so I headed off to the Buster Lang show, mmm ratrods, custom cars and bikes and an amazing show and shine carpark. Just what the doctor ordered.

This then changed the plans for August and so I hit a lot more local events between catching up with family but nothing keeps Bosun down and I made the best of the summer.

A local pub bike show at the Kings head in Rusper was nice in a bijou way. It was  just a shame I didn’t win the bike in the raffle I followed  show this with a pleasant evening and a small gathering near Croydon after an impromptu shout by Ernie was superb.

Then it was time to take Alfie out to his first show on the bike at the impressive turn out at the Inn on the green Harley and Custom show in Ockley, only local but spoyt on for him. Alfie found a neat leather waistcoat which we had to almost force him from not wearing to school and he is getting an eye for a photo now.

It was great to drop into Goodwood on a test day, something I will look out for again. Being a romantic I took my good lady to the Revolution show in Hastings for our anniversary, well ok I went to the show while she looked for her favourite coffee. Still a good day out though and my good lady had a nice day out too result all round.

I managed to attend  both the Ace cafe Reunion and Sins and Stripes before the autumn rain bumping into lots of friends and then wow Twisted Iron “The Happening” what a show relaxed, friendly and fun.I see why it’s a favourite of Yoda’s a great day out.

And then something brand new on the scene Apocolypta “road to Ruin” a mad max apocolyptic style event which was superb and I was pleased that I also made it a mono project when photographing. It may be their first show but I can see it growing. People made such an effort and now my urge for a rat bike is stronger than ever.

Sadly Brightona was a lot quieter this year, whether due to the weather or the clash with the Copdock show I do not know, but it was still good and some great bikes on show, and nice to meet up with my brother, more plans are now afoot for adventures with him in 2018 (note to self will need earplugs due to his exhaust and need to ride faster)

One of my only negative comments for the year was the noticeable lack of cake at the events I attended as I do like a bit of cake but that could be because I have been to the wrong do’s.

Favourite bike of the shows this year? Difficult as there are some very nice bikes out and about maybe I should say, bike I would love to ride off on and that possibly has to be.. the well used BSA at the talmag, or was it the yellow and Black Sportster at Sportster at 60, or attitude cycles ratrod, or maybe  the hubsteering Vmax or… oh I don’t know I might decide one day.

So that sums up 2017 what a year, I am looking for a few months rest (yeah right you know me too well) once again thanks everyone who I have chatted too, photographed or has been at an event, those who have sent words of encouragement too and especially those organisers who have sent invites or been kind enough with passes. A special shout out must go to Spike who has nudged me along to several events  roll on 2018 and maybe a second bike who knows.