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ACE CAFE TRIUMPH DAY
– OLD DRIPPERS AND MODERN CLASSICS IN THE SUNSHINE… AND THAT’S JUST NIK AND THE STREET TRIPLE!
THE ACE CAFE, THE LONDON BIKING MECCA, AS YOU PROBABLY KNOW, RUNS BIKE EVENTS EVERY WEEKEND DAY OF THE YEAR, AND BACK IN JUNE THEY HELD THEIR ANNUAL TRIUMPH DAY. AT THE TIME I WAS IN (TEMPORARY) POSSESSION OF A NEW STREET TRIPLE PRESS BIKE, THE DAY WAS SUNNY AND WARM, AND THE ROADS WERE DRY, SO IT’D’VE BEEN RUDE NOT TO GO REALLY…
It’d been a while since I’d been to the Ace, due to the bastard bat lurgi, but riding down there felt like going to see an old friend. Even the dodging of the dozy drivers on the North Circular (something a little unnerving for a yokel like me… and, yes, the bit o’ straw sticking out o’ me mouth does get bent by me crash helmet) wasn’t too much of a chore, and the Park Royal turn-off came up quickly enough. Sitting at the lights, waiting to turn across the bridge, I could just see the Ace out of the corner of me eye, and I felt a smile starting.
With the relaunch of the brand by John Bloor and crew back in 1990 (was it really 30 years ago?), a Triumph Day these days is a mix of both original Meriden machines and Hinckley offerings, with the latter bikes in the majority of course, but there’re still plenty for lovers of oily old iron to see and appreciate. My personal favourite was a wonderfully scruffy Hinckley Bonnie done up like an old despatch bike (complete with pig-snout fairing)… well, actually my personal favourite was a plunger-framed, girder-forked BSA chop (and the postapocalyptic ‘Onda too), but this was a Triumph event, wasn’t it, and it’d be churlish to pick a Beezer as best.
One of the things I do like about the Ace is the fact that it remains true to its roots. Other London biker eateries, like the Bike Shed for example, were set up as restaurants, but the Ace started life, back in 1938, as a transport caff (not café), and it’s still a transport caff. These days proper oldstyle transport caffs are few and far between, but many of us still feel more at home in them than in the modern plastic roadside diners. The Ace feels like a transport caff, the décor is pure transport caff, and it serves transport caff food (their breakfasts are excellent), and it just feels right. And having a day to celebrate the original transport caff bike, the Triumph, is very fitting, don’t you think?
FOR MORE INFO’ ON ACE CAFE EVENTS, CHECK OUT OUR EVENTS PAGES OR GO TO THEIR WEBSITE AT LONDON.ACECAFE.COM