Back Street Heroes
HELLO, AND WELCOME TO THIS, THE NEW ISSUE OF BSH. HOPE YOU'RE GOOD, AND ALL'S WELL WITH YOU?
Unless… no, actually, I can’t think of a reason, given that there’s an NCC logo on the bike tank on the cover, along with the words ‘National Chopper Club issue’, that you might be surprised that this issue, the fourhundred-and-thirty-eighth since we started way back in 1983, is dedicated to the guys who are probably the folk most devoted to custom bikes in this Sceptred Isle. The Chopper Club, as I’m sure you know, was formed back in 1973 and, nearly fifty years later, has expanded from being just an English thing to taking over Europe, too – they now have a presence in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Belgium, Eire, Holland, Germany, Norway and Macedonia (in the very end of south-eastern Europe, right down by Greece… I had to look it up, too), as well as in most counties in England (45 out of the 48 there are!). They’re good guys, too. I’ve been to a fair few Club events over the years, including their amazing 40th anniversary bash that totally blew my mind, and I’m proud to say that my bikes’ve picked up trophies at a few, too – to win a pot at an NCC event, as I’ve long said, is a real achievement because not only do these guys build and run some top-class customs, the chaps who do the judging also really know what they’re looking at, and have very high standards. In this issue we have eight Club bikes, and one event from last year that really shows the quality of the bikes you see at one of their runs; the bikes featured perhaps aren’t quite as bling as you might expect, not as out-and-out chromed/ polished/painted/preened over as some, but there’s a reason for that – Club bikes, as has been said many times during BSH’s involvement with the Club, are built to ride, and to be ridden. They rack up the miles each and every Bank Holiday, and so their machines have to be capable of dealing with long, fast days racking up hundreds of miles at a time on a run – just looking pretty doesn’t cut it, y’know. Not one of them you’ll see here doesn’t deserve its place in the mag though, and not one of them’d be ignored in a pub car park, and the fact that they look as cool as hell, and’re capable of doing the distance when needed, well… isn’t that what it’s all about when it comes down to it? Speaking of doing the miles, you can’t’ve failed to notice that, slowly but inexorably, bike events’re starting to come back. Round my way they are, it has to be said, mostly just bike nights, and the odd one-day custom show, no rallies as of yet, but at the time of writing (two weeks before the weekend that the Yorkshire Pudding’s due to be held), the Farmyard Party’s still looking as though it’s on, and there are a couple of other ‘old school camping’ bashes still going ahead, too. If you’re thinking of going to one, then don’t let me stop you, but just a word of warning that you can listen to or ignore at your own choice – if you have any underlying health conditions (heart problems, COPD, diabetes, etc.) then it might be worth having a rethink. According to the latest thinking, these conditions do put sufferers in a more vulnerable position, and so going to somewhere that has a marquee, alcohol and loud music, where people’re packed in closer together, and have to shout to be heard, means that the chances of transmission, heaven forbid, are higher. Like I said, don’t let the words of some dreadlocked scruff who writes arse in bike mags stop you doing what you want to do, but be careful, eh! There aren’t as many of us out there these days as there once were, and it’d be a pisser if this bastard virus reduced our numbers still further. Me, I’m good with going to one-dayers, or bike nights, events that’re held outside, but I suspect that my next rally’s going to be well into the Spring of next year. I mean, I’m dying to go to a rally, but I’d rather not die because I went to one, y’know?