26th Feb 2011

London International Custom Show

Alexandra Palace

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Twas brillig and the slithy tothes did gyre and gimble in the wabe, all mimsy were the borogroves and moonwrathes did outgrabe

And that is exactly the type of morning I had when I arose for the Saturday of the London International Custom Show at Ally Pally pondering on the best way to transport myself to this fabled event.

But there was a brief moment of Sunshine and so it was out on the trusty steed for the first good ride of the year. It soon turned wet of semi biblical proportions and I found myself seriously lost somewhere around Hampstead Heath and Golders Green, my map looking more like papier-mâché. I still wonder about a shop name spotted in Golders Green “Penguin Dry Cleaners”  as in do we need penguins dry cleaned?(and will the chocolate melt) and how dry is a Penguin anyway?

The venue found I was directed to park in a huge puddle though by the looks of some others in the bike park I was in the shallow end, and then squelched into the show, the first stand to find being masses of pick and mix, which I managed to avoid, despite the temptation of little skulls. But better than the pick and mix was the selection of colours and chrome that we could feast our eyes upon once in the halls.

Firstly a clutch of street fighters many of which can best be described as plumbers nightmares, with turbo’s and convoluted exhausts and frames.

Turn the corner again and we were confronted with a myriad of delights in the Zodiac and Custom Chrome stand, and a full on custom show. The show is now an official round of the AMD World and European Custom Bike Championship.

And what is so refreshing are the various different styles and engines used for the bikes on show. These included Japanese 4’s, British bikes and V Twins. And they sported all manner of styles of frame and bodywork. If you weren’t inspired by at least one of the bikes it would have to be said that you would have no soul (the devil probably took this at the pick and mix).

One outstanding bike had to be the just unveiled Lamb engineering “Son of a gun” BSA Goldstar, a masterpiece of engineering and a cross between custom, classic, café racer and engineering marvel, even if to my mind there is a touch of FS1E about it.

Other stand out bikes for me included the Shaws “Nascar” inspired Harley, Guildfords Twinpan (which came third in the modified Harley)

  Nick Gale and team were doing their best to build a bike during the two day opening of the show and seemed very busy.

Tucked away in a corner were some BMW Café racers I fell in love with and completely forgot to take pictures of as well.

Heading to the trade hall there was a small area of stands, and a nice display by the NCC, a drop dead gorgeous Vincent, there was a lot of space in the hall for sitting, eating and listening to the music.

This was fine while the rockabilly etc played, but live heavy metal at two in the afternoon was far too much for me so I escaped to the sanity of pretty glittery trinkets in the custom hall.

After much more wandering around, and photographing a few models on bikes (honest I tried my best not too, but Blue asked for photos of the show) I decided to head home.

Stopping at the Ace Café on the way back for a much needed cuppa, it was nice to see a few Mini Moke’s and a selection of America muscle cars. Needless to say the rain started again then even darker, harder and more horizontal than before horrid.

Despite the getting lost and wet a brilliant day out, back next year, you bet.