VIN­CENT ON THE A1

EDI­TOR, 2003-2012

Classic Bike (UK) - - CONTENTS -

The Great North Road by Rapide with Hugo Wil­son, plus high­lights of his era

Two big things hap­pened dur­ing my time on Clas­sic Bike. First, peo­ple who’d started rid­ing in the 1970s be­came CB’S tar­get au­di­ence. If you were a teenager in the mid-’70s, grow­ing up with Mott the Hoople, Bowie and bell bot­toms, then punk and pop­si­cle pur­ple FS1-ES, you were early-for­ties in 2003 (like me), with dif­fi­cult teenagers of your own. You needed to es­cape to the shed to fet­tle a Tri­umph Day­tona or Kawasaki KH400, and needed a metaphor­i­cal es­cape to nostal­gia for your own teenage years. As well as the bikes in Clas­sic Bike get­ting younger, the lan­guage and tone changed to re­flect the age in which the CB reader grew up. Less black leather jacket and Bill Hay­ley, more Suzuki GT250 and Siouxsie and the Ban­shees.

Sec­ond, the in­ter­net. Sud­denly ev­ery­one had an au­to­jum­ble at home which could be ac­cessed af­ter a cou­ple of cans of lager and of­fered parts and bikes from all over the world. The un­ob­tain­able be­came avail­able be­cause you could buy gen­uine NOS from Arkansas, or be­cause some­one in Slo­vakia had a batch made.

These things changed val­ues. Bikes from the ’70s started go­ing for proper (some­times daft) money while gen­er­ally ’50s and ’60s bikes stag­nated. And be­cause the parts mar­ket was a global on­line auc­tion, prices be­came what peo­ple were pre­pared to pay. There were no more bar­gains, but there was an up­side. You no longer had to trudge around dispir­it­ing, wet auto-jum­bles, sort­ing through piles of worn-out tat hop­ing to find a side panel for a 1973 BSA (one would come float­ing past your com­puter screen soon enough). It meant events changed too; club ral­lies de­clined (so did clubs gen­er­ally) but ‘fes­ti­vals’ started to be sig­nif­i­cant. I wasn’t com­plain­ing.

Af­ter a typ­i­cal English club event, the Coupes Moto Le­gende event at Montl­héry near Paris (which later moved to Di­jon-prenois) was a ray of sun­shine. A re­minder that clas­sic bikes and clas­sic bik­ing should be cool, ac­ces­si­ble and en­ter­tain­ing in a way that a field full of Fran­cis-bar­netts never could be. The other was the Manx GP. The anal rivet-count­ing ‘those han­dle­bar grips aren’t cor­rect’ at­ti­tude of some of the scene was en­tirely ab­sent among peo­ple who went to the Isle of Man in Au­gust to thrash old bikes around while the Manx GP clas­sic races hap­pened along­side. It was all about en­joy­ing old bikes through rid­ing them. Hard. It was where we met Rick Park­ing­ton. I worked on CB for 106 is­sues. We had a lot of fun. And if any­one’s got a CPBL gear­box for my ex-wd Matchless they’d like to sell, then please get in touch...

‘CLAS­SIC BIKES SHOULD BE COOL AND EN­TER­TAIN­ING’

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