Back in the Bike Shed
This year was the third time I’ve been to London’s
Bike Shed event, having been to all but the first year, and it has
been interesting to watch the show grow over the years, but I feel
that the ethos that was originally the driving force – a display
of shed built bikes – is starting to evaporate and I’m
not sure that’s not a good thing, especially given the show’s
Don’t get me wrong, there were still plenty of BMW boxer
twins, especially from Untitled Motorcycles, which was one of the
early supporters of the show, alongside lots of ‘80s and ‘90s
mid-range Japanese motorcycle-based builds. It’s just that
when the show is sponsored by Triumph and has the support of Moto
Guzzi, Ducati with its Scramblers, Yamaha with its ‘Shed Built’
factory sponsored custom program and numerous high dollar builds
from Warr’s and Shaw’s and customised Street models
from European H-D dealers, the thought creeps in that it’s
less about small-scale shed builders and more about the corporate
world, despite what the name over the (shed) door might say.
However, having said all of that, there’s no denying that
it makes for a good day out, and given that tickets offer access
across both days of the weekend, it’s a cracking value too.
Even more so, if you fancy a haircut or a tattoo. You read that
right; among the show bikes, there was a traditional barber, even
if the barbers did happen to be bang on trend hipster-wise with
plugs in their earlobes, full-sleeve tattoos, and the obligatory
bushy beards and waxed ‘taches. If you wanted to join the
hipster crowd then the on-site tattooist was available to help with
at least one part of the look, while a little bit of shopping at
one of the many clothing suppliers would see you kitted out in the
obligatory heavyweight selvedge jeans with suitable six-inch turn-ups.
Then again, I’m not sure if that would clash with the latest
over-priced jacket being punted out by Barbour, who joined Triumph
as one of the show’s sponsors. ‘Cause isn’t a
Barbour jacket essential wear for everyone tinkering away in cramped
little sheds trying to create their personal vision of individuality?
For me, the display of bikes that were ridden into the space outside
Tobacco Dock and parked in front of the dry-docked ships was far
more in keeping with the Shed Built theme with which the show began
four years ago.
It’ll be interesting to see what direction the show goes
in the future. There is no doubt that the organising team has big
ideas, as just weeks prior to the London event they held a Bike
Shed show in Paris. I just wonder if the whole idea of encouraging
folks to get out in their sheds and have a go at bike building for
themselves will get watered down by the prevalence of factory supported
and dealer builds?
to written word