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Article in issue 213 of 100% Biker



The Lark ascending is a popular classical composition by the English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams which was originally composed in 1914 and had its first public performance in 1920. In the same year Harley-Davidson became the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world, producing 28,189 machines produced, and had dealers in 67 countries.  At that time the flagship of the Harley range was the 'Silent Gray Fellow' which would have cost about £85 which when an average wage was about a pound a week was a lot of money so maybe in proportions Harleys are not so expensive now (just don’t tell my bank manager that’s where the bathroom loan was spent) .

Ralph Vaughn Williams lived in Dorking for many years after the first world war and he was conductor of the local music festival, a statue of him stands outside the Dorking Halls though without the metal baton he is meant to hold the statue gives him a look of horror, which makes me smile when surrounded by many V Twin motorcycles. For being the first Sunday in April as tradition now dictates it is the Surrey Harley Boot Fair where folk from all over England and lots from Europe come to rummage for those random bargains or elusive bits. And produce the classical melody those of a biking fraternity like. I have yet to go to a bike rally where any classical music is played, sea shanties yes, ska yes, English folk songs yes but classical no.

If you wanted to purchase spares for a 1920’s Harley Davidson it could probably be found here as there is all sort of stuff. As ever, every time I tried to stop and work out what a particular part is or what it may have been used for, or whether I had a use for it, I was waylaid by folk I haven’t seen in ages and being asked to attend their events, brilliant.

And it’s not just American stuff as so much fits other cruisers, and there often is quirky English stuff, though. Of the bits around the oddest has to be the quirky frame with cool curvy forks, I would love to see what anyone builds with that. The traders all seem very knowledgeable too

It has now become so popular that Beaky owner of Beakys Motorcycles and organiser of this fine event is considering a second event later in the year but maybe at a different venue. Watch this space as they say.