Dear Family & Friends,
We are definitely on the home stretch now.. No broken motorcycles or bodies so I think it has been a tremendous success…..
Sunday morning we woke up at the beautiful B&B we stayed at near Goodwood. Blue sky and no clouds in sight..
The Goodwood Revival is an amazing event. It is the one event that even if you are not a dedicated car guy you are going to have fun. With the fancy dress and pageantry there is something for everyone.. My only criticism is it is getting to popular and the crowds are really overwhelming. You must go at least once…
Any ways today it does not matter because we rode to Brighton for the Ace Cafe Brighton Run.. The Ace Cafe for you that are not into motorcycles is the quintessential biker hang out in London. It was originally a truck stop cafe in the 1930s and slowly became a major hang out for motorcyclist.. The term Cafe Racer for motorcycles was started here because in the 1950s young motorcyclist would race from cafe to cafe and listen to that new fandangled music called Rock & Roll….
Eventually the Ace Cafe closed down and was abandoned. Then about 15 years ago a couple name Mark & Linda Wilsmore bought the place, restored it, brought in rock and roll music and started holding motorcycle and car events there almost every night and it has become a major power house with a world wide following. If you are a gear head I highly recommend a visit there the next time you are in London. Go to their website and you can see the events that are on and pick one that is your interest…. British bike night, Cafe Racer night, Porsche night, Hot Rod night. etc. Anything with a motor and wheels they have an event for. Food and music too.
Any ways the owners are friends of mine and when Linda heard we were going to be in England this weekend she invited us to attend their event. It is a ride from the Ace Cafe in North London to Brighton. They would have motorcycles and music. I figured maybe a hundred motorcycles would make the event? Was I ever wrong. This is similar to our Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. They must have had 10,000+ motorcycles there of every description! And just as many motorcyclist of every description… from young go fast bikers, to American style chopper riders, to classic motorcycle enthusiast.. A bit of everything. There were many motorcyclist at least 40 years past their prime ( like me) all dressed up in black leathers and their hair greased back reliving their glory days. They had hundreds of vendors selling all sorts of wears and great rock and roll music.
I had a fun visit with Linda and some of her friends and got to see lots of attractions. Of course our motorcycles garnered lots of attention, not because they are anything special, but with California plates and stickers from all the places we have been it was a natural conversation starter.
I also got to meet Steve Mclaughlin, an American championship motorcycle racer from the 1970s. He was quite friendly and we had a long talk.
For those of you not interested in motorcycles (really??) Brighton is a terrific Victorian sea side town on the very south coast of England. It has a very old fashion amusement pier, a classic Victorian promenade along the beach and classic Victorian era architecture.. It is well worth a visit…
After visiting Brighton it was time to head home… The easy way would be to ride north a bit and hop on the M25 freeway that goes completely AROUND London and then to my friend Aubrey’s home in North London… like I said that would be the easy way..
I have been coming to England regularly for business and pleasure for 35+ years and I have driven all over the country but I have NEVER driven into downtown London. The traffic is horrendous and the streets are so complicated I figured once in I would be lost and never found… doomed to roam London endlessly for all eternity. Since it was our last day riding I challenged Duane to do the impossible.. Ride directly north from Brighton and traverse the complete length of London from south to north on surface streets on our motorcycles.. For some reason it sounded like a good idea……
So off we went. At times the traffic did not disappoint and was really really bad but by now our lane splitting abilities were third degree black belt so we made some great moves to avoid the traffic. And of course this is England so by mid day the beautiful sun shine had turned to dark clouds and it started to rain off and on but undaunted we rode on! The only close call I had was when lane splitting between a big truck and a car I misjudged how wide my motorcycle was with the big side bags and got wedged between them!! My only fear was when the light turned green the truck would move and drag me along so with some judicious pushing and pulling I was able to free my bike before the traffic moved..
Still it was a great ride. I LOVE London, it is so vibrant and exciting that even on my motorcycle I felt the excitement and enjoyed it.. Crossing the Thames River, riding past Buckingham Palace, riding through Piccadilly Circus was thrilling. When we got to Leicester Square it was early afternoon so we headed up to China town for a quick lunch. We wound up on a pedestrian street where no vehicles are allowed and could not go back so what else could we do? We stopped and had lunch.. well I did. Did I mention Duane HATES big cities and traffic?? By this time he was fit to be tied and would not eat or talk to me so he went outside and went for a walk and calmed down…Never the less it did not stop me from enjoying my lunch…
After lunch we got back on our motorcycles just as two policeman walked by. I explained I was a lost foreigner and I knew I was not supposed to be here and he was very nice. He just smiled, told me to go slow and showed me how to get out from there.
From there it was a relatively easy ride to North London and my friends house. We arrived with BIG smiles on our faces. We had conquered London and have completed our total journey. Tomorrow we arrange to ship the bikes home so we are done riding!! Safe and sound.
After we rested up we WALKED to the local pub for a generous amount of wine and a good dinner to celebrate our accomplishment.
|Another costume event.. The British enjoy dressing up.. He probably has not really dressed like this in 40 years?|
|More American culture??|
|Motorcycles and motorcyclist as far as the eye can see..|
|This ride was similar to our bucking bull ride but with a motorcycle.. I guess some people enjoy being tossed off a motorcycle… Glad I didn’t..|
|OK this is cheating.. It is a rig to teach you how to wheelie with no chance of falling over backwards. In my day we learned it the hard way…we fell a lot..|
|These three riders rode all the way from Germany… but not as far as we came..|
|Beautiful Victorian era arches..|
|Proof I was there..|
|Mark & Linda Wilsmore, owners of the Ace Cafe and very nice people too|
|I wish we could have stopped more in London to take photos of our motorcycles to show we were there but at least I have proof we made it to China Town in central London.. Not to many other motorcycles there, maybe they are a bit smarter than us??|