CUS­TOM SHOW GOES GLOBAL

The Bike Shed Show in London will at­tract thou­sands next week­end and there are big plans to take it fur­ther afield

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - By Gary Pinchin BUILT MAG­A­ZINE ED­I­TOR

It all started in late 2011 when An­thony ‘Dutch’ van Someren blogged about his tran­si­tion from track­day sports­bike pow­er­ranger to jacket ’n jeans cus­tom biker. Two years later, Dutch and his mates had launched a mo­tor­cy­cle ex­hi­bi­tion un­der a Shored­itch rail­way arch which fea­tured some very stylish cus­tom ma­chines.

Later in 2013 came an­other, big­ger show in Shored­itch. Fol­lowed by an even big­ger event at Tobacco Dock. Then Paris. They opened a per­ma­nent home to the BSMC early in 2016 and now there are plans to go even fur­ther. There’s talk of shows in Spain, Italy, even Amer­ica.

So we fig­ured it was a good time to sit down with Dutch and dis­cuss the Bike Shed one year down the road from open­ing its per­ma­nent home in Shored­itch. The tran­si­tion from run­ning bike shows on a part-time ba­sis to a full-time bike busi­ness must have been a pretty mas­sive un­der­tak­ing. What was the process? We ran the first show in May 2013 which went down well but when we did show num­ber two in October 2013, which was only seven or eight arches along from where we are now, peo­ple thought it was a per­ma­nent venue for the Bike Shed MC. We had 65-70 bikes, 5000 peo­ple and we thought; ‘this is great, what if we were open ev­ery week­end?’

So that sowed a seed. But why, from your per­sonal point of view, risk eve- ry­thing – es­pe­cially as you had a suc­cess­ful ca­reer in me­dia? I tried to imagine the Bike Shed as a per­ma­nent venue. It couldn’t be a museum. It had to serve peo­ple. It had to be part of a club. I have this the­ory that to be­come a biker there’s a rite of pas­sage. It takes real com­mit­ment to be­come a biker. And be­ing part of a club, for a lot of peo­ple, is part of be­ing a biker. So I thought if we had a per­ma­nent venue, every­thing had to be cu­rated by us, for peo­ple like us.

How can you be sure that this scene you’ve built the Bike Shed around is go­ing to ex­ist in say five years time? We’ll do one show in Europe in 2018 and one in the USA. Next year we’ll think about where to go next. I didn’t do all this to run a res­tau­rant and a bar­ber­shop. I did this to gal­vanise a scene. It’s a trend that’s never gone away but the man­u­fac­tur­ers are driv­ing it now so it can’t go away. This style of mo­tor­cy­cle is suck­ing young peo­ple in. It’s af­ford- able, non-in­tim­i­dat­ing and cool. It may evolve but it won’t van­ish.

So what’s cool right now? The older gen­er­a­tion are tend­ing to di­ver­sify. So it’s 1980s bikes – old Blades, Katanas, GPZ900S. There’s a grow­ing trend to re­claim those bikes as cool – but by cus­tomis­ing them. One trend I see is for old sports­bikes, the real heroic models like the Blades and Gixxers. But also bikes like the W650s and car­bu­rated Bon­nies. Peo­ple are al­ready say­ing; ‘I re­mem­ber those’.

We’re talking Nineties bikes then? Why not? Buy an old Ténéré, an old Africa Twin, a GSX-R slab­side. I’ve seen TRX850S and TL1000S cus­tomised al­ready and they look re­ally good. I think it’s all about sim­pli­fied con­trols, tiny lights, bob­bing them, re­duc­ing weight, sin­gle seats. It’s about sim­pli­fi­ca­tion. Less is more. And every­thing is de­ter­mined by the age of the owner.

‘I didn’t do this to run a res­tau­rant, I did it to gal­vanise a scene’

Dutch has gal­vanised a scene in the UK and has big plans for the fu­ture The Bike Shed in London is al­ways full of be­guil­ing ma­chines The Bike Shed oozes cool and is the cof­fee is good too!

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