When is a bike show not a bike show? Answer when it is the Bike Shed CC’s Show.
Held in the rather splendid Tobacco Docks, previously a bonded warehouse for specialised
cargo, the Bike shed event is more than a show it is a celebration of Motorcycles,
art, photography, food, bars, barbering, tattooing, has a cigar lounge, DJ’s, coffee
Originally promoting the best of the homebuilt bikes, modern café racers, new wave
and the “Brat style” creative custom street style of bike this event now attracts
many of the country’s best builders, along with the original shed builders and they
had been burning the midnight oil to create just the right style of bike. Now in
its third year in London the bike shed crew have been busy and have recently had
their first event held in Paris, are soon to open their own building in London and
plan their own newsletter.
And to top it all a lot of the riders and builders are youngsters too which fills
us with some confidence as to the future of our chosen hobby. That and the amount
of learner bikes we see at rallies now.
I know a lot of you may shun the social media outlets on that strange internet place
but following the builds by some as they gave sneak previews on the Bike shed pages
or their own pages and sites had rather got me excited about this event. It also
made me realise where all the old BMW’s and CX500’s had gone as they do appear to
be a bike of choice among these builders. Not an obvious choice for a traditional
style chopper or custom, but just right for street bikes.
I decided to leave my bike at home and use public transport to get me to the event.
This has of course has nothing to do with a strong possibility of getting lost in
one of London’s one way systems either, or partaking of a few of the beers on offer
at the show. As ever with my reputation I got lost walking there but on a late spring
evening London did look scenic.
Triumph Motorcycles were main sponsors and it seems the Bonneville, which also happens
to be my current motorcycle of choice is a popular platform for customisation, and
magpie like I was drawn to several interesting items ooops I now have a shopping
list of parts and an urge to disappear to the garage for a while a drill may be required.
There were also some of the recent Harley Davidson “Battle of the kings” sportsters,
now while these did look good I felt they detracted from the original ethos of the
show. Triumph had their two recent interpretations of the bonnevilles and I still
love the bobber with reversed head for its innovative style.
The event now also draws many aficionados from Europe and the ride in by a group
of Belgium was impressive, their riding attire was however a little different. There
were several bikes I would happily have ridden away on.
But back to the show, where I bumped into Mikklos a local custom builder who along
with his mechanic was frantically making notes and taking photos of some of the projects,
it will be interesting to see what comes out of their garage soon.
So what caught my eye at the show, the tiny rotary engine board tracked style racer,
a lovely rusty triumph which begged to be thrashed, a gorgeous Honda café racer and
then a beautiful organically styled Yamaha xs650 with one of the most gorgeous tanks
I have seen in a long time, which was the one I would have wanted to take home.
The main feeling of the show was relaxed and there was a happy atmosphere, where
else can you select and smoke a cigar, play table football, have a haircut and look
at the best bikes. Although a little more corporate this year it still was a good
The less said about my adventures getting home, but let’s just say it was a silly
late night and involved all sorts of transport. Maybe I need a satnav walking also.