Wednesday, 14 July 2010


Main Delaer in the North of England. Inside, much of the same old, new stuff. Outside, a breath of fresh air......... Now I remeber why I like Harley based bikes so much. Well done that man. I suspect he worked there.

Leeds, Doncaster and Lots of Coffee

Great wee place. A place truly run by bikers, for bikers. No nonsense, but a lot of home grown kindness shown to a stranger passing through. 

You just know that its the right kind of place when the first thing you see after walking through the door is a bike in a glass cabinet.

And James Dean.

Loads of old stuff handing on the walls. Road racers of old; a homage to the UK biker culture from the Ace Cafe, the 'ton up boys' and generations of straight talkers.


And not a drop of alcohol in sight. Just mugs of tea and coffee, and pies. No nonsense. Just pleased to not be at work and out on the bike and in the company of like minded souls. 


Just 4pm on any average Thursday afternoon. Later, it got much buisier. Maybe 3-400 bikes. Crotch rockets, streetfighters, Harleys, hardtail bobbers, old BSA's, Nortons, Vincents......Then the Mods appreared on their Vespas and Laberettas. Wary to come close at first, but gaining confidence later on. There was definately something else in the 'air' besides the good natured banter. It was living history. The Mods and the Rockers in the same car park - I mean surely it was going to kick off at some point? If it did, I sure as hell knew what side I was on. I mean; just look at them.........   Then I remembered I was a middle aged man in 2010, and I got back to my half drunk mug of tea. 

For a second though it felt real. And it was real, because all these these boys and girls have passion.  They get it. They, and Squires Cafe Bar are the real deal. And, maybe, just maybe, after a good few years now of quietly serving an apprenticeship on the road, loving it, and sticking by it; so too am I.      

Thank you Squires Cafe for the hospitality.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Bonding with my bike

She's no showboat. In fact this is the cleanest she's been for a while. But we look after each other. What goes around, comes around - especially on a motorcycle. More dependible than most other things in my life of late. A time machine, a space machine. She takes me far away and looks after me and only asks for respect and reaonsable affection in return. Fickle, dangerous, but uncomplicated. Why can't people be so straightforward?

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

And that is the power of being in love with my bike, and having a burning need to escape from a life I just don't recognise as being my own.

This may always have been the power of the Road.

At these times serendipity often strikes. I'd not long ago rediscoved Two Lane Black-Top with Taylor, Oates, Bird and Wilson. On Sunday morning, on the Moray Firth, some 40 years later, I found self eating breakfast in the diner near the end of the movie just before 'the Girl' fucked off with a younger good looking dude on a bike, and the Driver & the Mechanic set of to burn for ever.

You get to recognise lonliness, yearning and hurt - especially, after a night with the 21-81 year old souls washed up on the Moray Firth roadside.

It all don't mean a thing man - it don't mean a thing. 

The 'Old Salt', Hopeman, on the Moray Firth. Home of tall sea fearing tales and lost souls between 21 and 81.

I arrived in the sunshine six hours after riding down the Royal Mile in Edinburgh in support of the Rifles returning from Afganistan. Not worthy - I certainly wasn't. But those men who marched down the Mile an hour later certainly were. Their faces were something everybody should see and nobody forget.

Young men marching with precision pride and emotion. Men, who had seen 30 of thier closest come back from patrol in bags if not blown to bits at their side. Men who felt pride and heartache in equal measure. They made it home - many didn't. Why?

And the welcome home was heartfelt. These young men are the front line of all we are. And they did it, and they took the pain, and some of them came home, and they are proud, and they are hurt, and they are welcomed, and they are frightended, and their view of the world will never ever be the same. 

They have something most of us never have - for better or worse.

I cried - and by 6.30, I was on the Moray Firth looking for a place to pitch my tent and find a pub.  

Saturday, 10 April 2010


Yes it is. Taken at 6am. The one horse, was already long gone in this town. Dalwhinnie is a long string of semi abandoned plots, bulldozed lots, and derilict truck stops where only the ghosts of truckers of old are still eating their Big Breakfasts.

The A9 killed Dalwhinnie in way it never quite managed with other, still prospering towns like Dunkeld, Pitlochry, and the tarty little jewel in its crown: Aviemore.

The sun was going down, it was late on a Friday night after a long week, and the empty car park looked good to me. 

This is the next morning before getting the hell out of town.


No mess no trace - and I was gone.

Gone though, only after a night from hell. No sleep at all. Entombed in a new 'tent'; optomistically described as a 'bivy tent'. Small light, but actually an instrument of torture. Designed for the military, which says it all. Like a sleeping bag made from clingfilm - and colder than a cold thing. Six years of biking and I'm still searching for my MO. The bivy tent sure as hell isn't it. Sorry, no photo.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

High end, high dollar - but man, this guy cared about his craft. RIP Boyd.