Monday, 2 September 2013


It's easy to be a critic and I think if, like me, you've never built a bike from the ground up you should keep your opinion to yourself. So was it at Stormin The Castles custom bike show. In truth I never expect a great deal and over the years I've been pleasantly surprised. Mostly with tidy classics or understated choppers.

This year I perused a new crop of bikes and, at first, wasn't much taken with any of them. A race replica 750/4 was my first choice, a classic Chinese bike that looked like it had a copy of a Harley XA engine caught my eye, a brightly coloured chopper lured me in but eventually disappointed, chopped down race bikes left me a bit cold, and a custom paint job made me down-right angry. (The only other motorcycle that has ever actually made me angry was the one featured on a picture thread of the Jockey Journal where the ape-hangers go all the way up just to come straight back down leaving the rider in just about factory standard riding position. Still to this day I can't look at that picture without laughing at myself because my piss is starting to boil.)

And then I stumbled upon Urban Surfer. At first glance it was right and the more I looked at it the more right it got. Once I'd given it a good look over I turned to the next bike and then turned right back. This bike was lush! Someone at this rally has a very good eye indeed. I used to say to Johnny that some bikes were built in too small a shed; so you couldn't really stand back and take a look at the overall bike. This bike had the sweet scent of time and space about it. Time and space well spent gathering, arranging and then standing back to ponder. I was gonna shake this man by the hand if I met him. Imagine my surprise when I find myself shaking the hand of a man I already have the pleasure of knowing- Spindle. I shook it twice. Once to say hello, and once to congratulate him on winning best custom. Nice work mate. He duly praised the ever talented Boneshakers Benny and Zip for making his vision come to life.

Other things to report: I finally met a man who truly did not look like he gave a fuck, our favourite music tent is no longer a closely guarded secret, and Evel Kinevel once again crashed. Always a blast.