Thursday, May 24, 2012

Gay Paris

The Parisian bike scene isn't all that hot. The town is crawling with scooters instead. Every once in a while you'd see a Bonnie roll by if you were lucky, but most bikes you saw were sport bikes and the occasional oddball Parisian trying to be different by rolling on a loud Harley. Respect to those guys. But yeah, there are scooters every fucking where. And the worst thing is that they're modern 3-wheel scooters. Sick. 

Anyway, I did find this one gem. See the above pics. This guy did a lot to this bonnie. 
Some stuff I noticed: shortie front fender, no rear fender, mini front and rear turn signals, blackened headlamp casing, new exhaust and mufflers, different front foot pegs, blackened rear shocks, some custom engine cases, monza gas cap, custom decals, blacked-out Triumph badges, new seat, new gauge, new fluid reservoir cover, blackened triple tree, new mirror, clip-ons, new grips (I think), it might be lowered, and the whole thing was painted a matte black. Bravo to this chap, whoever he is. 

Ace of Spades

Best person to visit it with, of course.

The other pilgrimage I had to make in England was obviously to the legendary Ace Cafe in London.

Thankfully my travel companions accompanied me without complaint. We took a train for about a half hour to the northerly outskirts of London and made it to Ace Cafe in the late evening. We walked out of the train station and started seeing metal motorcycle cut-outs of vintage cafe racers lining the sidewalk every 50 feet or so. The two-dimensional cut-outs were pointing the way to the holy moto-grail.

I was super stoked to see it, and to see a bunch of bikes and a bunch of great classic cars parked outside on a random weeknight. I felt right at home.

We walked around the outside and I took some pictures on my iPhone. I really dug the old Jensen cars people had brought. We admired some Jags, Mercs and Rollers. Obligatory Minis and Austin Healeys.

Then we got inside. It rules in there. Very down to earth. Exactly what you'd expect, only surprisingly their menu had some fake meat options for us of a gentler persuasion. We had eaten dinner, so I didn't indulge, but I did have the world's worst milkshake. I kid you not it was inedible and unbelievable. It was just like a glass of white milk with a dollop of ice-cream in it, and a teaspoon of cocoa powder. I watched her "make" it. I know she was doing something and pulling levers and shit, but this was the worst excuse for a chocolate milkshake I'd ever encountered. So I ordered a sticky toffee pudding and that was amazing. 

It's definitely very Rocker in there. But the cool thing is that they don't cater exclusively to old codgers on Norton Commandos with greying pompadours. The bike scene is very diverse. Lots of street bikes and some cruisers. It's not just a hang out for cafe racers. And it's definitely not just a hang out for bikers. Car nerds are just as welcomed. There's always an event going on. Every night there seems to be a different gathering, party, show, or happening of one type or another. It's sweet. A really cool place and it exceeded the hype for me. I'd love to go on a super busy night or a cafe night.

Of course, I picked up a shirt (not the generic one, though) and a pin. And I brought stickers back for the FSMC. So next time I see you take your pic of the stickers.

Triumph, and defeat.

Bitch, I'm from Detroit. Let me in!
We stayed with my uncle in Barwell, which happens to be minutes from Hinckley. So, one of the only sites on the whole trip I had planned on visiting was the Triumph factory. It was right on our doorstep, so why not. I checked the site for months and contacted them trying to get a tour of the factory, but to no avail. Ultimately, we drove up there and I pleaded my case to the kind security guards knowing fine well there was no way I'd get in. And I didn't. So I took some photographic evidence and then we went to look at some boats and feed the ducks.


Sidenote: Barwell is where they build the might Noble. I didn't see any on the road, but it's a funny old world. Who would have thought Hinckley and Barwell would be producing the coolest motorcycles in the world as well as a 6 figure supercar?