Thursday, June 21, 2012

'WHEELS AND WAVES': THE RIDE, PROPER

Fun on the Bay of Biscay...
Seventy old motorcycles and half a dozen classic sports cars crowded the parking lot for 'Les Cent Marches', so named for the number of steps down the cliff to the beach.  In other words, a little open air café bar next to a big parking lot, with a killer view.  Way back in 2009, a dozen of us, Southsiders and sun-seekers (like me), gathered here to start the first of the Southsiders gatherings.  Four years later, 8 times that number crowd the neighborhood, surely the measure of success for a Good Idea.
Lalo, Conrad, Pablo, Diavel
We'd come from literally all over the globe; Bike Exif's Chris Hunter from New Zealand, myself and Johnathan 'Death Traps MC' from the US, a whole phalanx from the UK, Spain, Holland, Belgium, other parts of France, Greece... but nobody from Asia, Africa, or South America. But that might change. As I looked over the exotically painted bikes and the predominantly young crowd during the Friday art/bike/car show, it seemed to me a bomb dropped on Chateau de Brindos that day would significantly lower the global Cool quotient.  Vintage bike collectors, one-make owners clubs, and big Historic Vehicle organizations like FIVA all cry into their glasses of Chenin Blanc at the members-only bar...where are the young people? Who will inherit our passion for old vehicles?  The answer was there at Biarritz this weekend.
Waiting at the bottom of the hill, after a super-hot slalom down the mountain
Here's a message to all vintage vehicle clubs and new motorcycle manufacturers whose sales are falling through the floor.  You didn't come to the party, because you weren't interested or didn't think you were invited, but the answer to your question was there, and it doesn't look like you pictured... but then, the future never does.  Those scruffy kids with the weirdly painted, cheaply modified bikes?  They're you, thirty or fifty years ago.  You just forgot what you looked like back then, what was important to you, who your friends were, what you liked to do.  You forgot that you were broke, and two wheels were cheap, and fun, and sexy.  And that a motorcycle, ridden regularly, is a pretty good Bullshit Detector, and club rules/rivet counters/irrelevant new bikes set off the alarm, big time.

Magazines with a finger on the pulse, like Intersection, Riders (Italy), Bike Exif, The Vintagent, Sideburn, and DiCE, showed up, brought photographers, took notes, and talked to the bikers, and each other.  This was billed as a party, but was secretly a convention of the most creative people in Motorcycling today.  There are plenty more of course, as other 'off-piste' events around the globe prove, but enough of them were present to fulfill a quorum.  And the tally is in; the beating heart of motorcycling is Riding...everything else is something else.

Many, many thanks to Vincent Prat and the Southsiders M.C. for organizing the party.  And thanks too for everyone who brought art and cars and bikes, everyone who went riding with us, everyone who came to check out the scene.  I think everyone would agree, it was delirious, bacchanalian, epic.
The man in charge, Vincent Prat...many thanks mon amis!
Fantastic BSA A10 Scrambler

Sideburn's Ben Part with an amazing 'colorblind test' paint scheme


A Blitz machine in its element
Torn jeans, dirt stains, bloody knuckles...riding the Wall of Death isn't easy


Maxwell Paternoster's BSA B33, deceptively fast with tasty Gold Star bits inside!  Ridden with considerable verve and confidence, I dub thee an exemplary Vintagent, and Knight of the Order of the Rigid Street Racer.  Hats off!
The policeman had just pulled up beside me, rolled down his window, and began shouting in Espanol...to which I replied (semi-truthfully), 'I don't speak Spanish!'.  At which point, he shrugged gallicly, rolled up his window and rolled forward...and Johnathan popped a wheelie in salute.
Serious business at the bumper car ride...

Christophe Cantirot of Toulouse...
This gent inherited his Commando from his father, and recently got it running again, and painted.  Rightfully proud.






After blasting morning sun, blessed fog on the mountaintop, and a cool lunch

I'll have one of those, please.  Gorgeous Godet Egli-Vincent...with electric start and good brakes.
The green hills of Spain, where the rain falls, mainly

Fabulously bizarrely fabulous...and, why not?

Mysterious mid-fog appartion; a lovely restored ca.'41 Indian 4-cylinder...


Sideburn's Gary Inman waits for the barrier to rise...on his flat-track Royal Enfield, previously seen at the Ace Café
Nice mix...

I don't know what it means, or that it means anything, but it's funny, and he rides the heck out of it.

Fantastic original-paint '38 HD Knucklehead, assembled from boxes, and missing parts sourced with appropriate patina.  The European-spec HDs came in olive green, unless otherwise ordered.
Photographer extraordinaire and sidecar racing 'monkey' Kristina Fender


Mark, you won the Best Beard award, from stiff competition...
A study of opposites...



Momo!


Reading the Road Rules...

Nick Clements of Men's File
Is there oil?
Circulating, but perhaps never enough...
'One for the Road' indeed...

Tiny Pasotti racer appeared at the amusement park, and we were amused.





Photographing for Riders magazine, out of Italy


The Royal Racer family...

Worth scrutiny; this HD 'Blockhead' is a true rusto-rod...I pity the fork seals (I know, 'what fork seals?')...

Climbing the mountain in San Sebastian de Luz

Sonic Seb on the dustbin Beemer

Sharon rode from Liverpool

Queasy kiddie rides





'All you can eat Buffet Racer'...kills me.  We used to race for coffee, now we ride for sushi...












24 comments:

Diego said...

Superbe write-up and pics! Wish I could have gone for an arty taster of the good ''two wheeled'' life.

Anonymous said...

SUPER reportage, belles images à bien garder dans nos mémoires. Merci
Gerard L.

Anonymous said...

Awesome...
O.C.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant Paul! xxxx
Melanie

The Omega Racer said...

Just one word: fantastic!!

This reflects exactly what motorcycles mean for me. II'm both happy and sad....happy to see that there are lots of other like-minded people and sad I wasn't there to party with you guys!
If anyone plans a trip to Thailand, let me know!!

Inazuma Luke said...

I have just posted a bunch of pictures from the web, it's somehow a way to feel myself being of the party I missed.
Had I seen your shots before, I wouldn't have resisted to rebog some of them.
Next year I will do my best to be there (possibly with my Inazuma).
I hope Chris (The Greek - Sake Racer)brought our regards from Italy.
If not, here they are.
Great reportage, very nice event.
Thx for sharing
Luke

Sideburn Magazine said...

What a fantastic post Paul!
Bringing sunshine to Blogland!
This time last week I was riding down to the beach club in Anglet with Gary, to meet you for the first time. Here's to many more happy daze in the saddle.
Bonne Route.
BP

JamesJ said...

I'm pissed off I couldn't go, it was on my doorstep too but thanks for all the great coverage. Huge respect due to the guys responsible for this event.

SakeRacer said...

cheers from a burning-extra-hot bucharest...

i beg my spanish companeros of rides to send us here some of that san sebastian rain!!
pretty please!

:)

x Liuk: a dire la verita', c'era qlke italiano! un paio di harleisti milanesi! (uno con la shovel da paura!!!)
cmq io ho portato bene e in alto il nome e l'onore di tutti noi bloggheri anonimi!

;)

c u all next year!
(i hope i come on a bike this time)

ciao paul

ElSolitarioMC said...

So long!

matt machine said...

now thats a post of an event.

matt machine said...

now thats a post of an event.

Kai said...

Always great stories and photos on the Vintagent.
What type of bike is the bare metal do with the tail louvers? It looks like a Shinya Kimura to me.

Guido said...

heart & soul

SakeRacer said...

@kai
I think u r talking about el solitario's guzzi!!!!
Motociclo made in Spain!
;-)
Holaaa

Anonymous said...

Ciao Paul, fantastic gathering, maybe next year I'll be there with a bike...
I remember how the "Cote Basque" was magnificent and how many perfect waves I surfed there in the eighties from Lacanau to Mundaka... Maybe next year I'll be there with a bike and my longboard too...

Daniele Sabatini

mp said...

good one glad to meet and glad the BSA went down well. I am proud!

castors said...

Motorcycles aren't terribly practical. They fall over easily. They offer limited cargo space and zero protection from the elements.

Sideburn Magazine said...

That comment from Castors is the best Spam in the world ever. He hit the nail on the fuckinhead. I'm fitting castors to all my bikes this weekend and I'm getting them from Atlas Handling UK. Thank feck I read this before hurting myself (again!). G

Paolo said...

Paul, W&W was just exactly what yo've told, a superior motorcycle state of mind. I'm so happy to have brought on the Riders Mag team, they were all caught by the atmosphere.
Needless to say, it was a great pleasure meeting you.
Paolo

Paolo said...

Paul, it was exactly as you've told it. A superior, respectful motorcycle state of mind. There's a lot to learn from the Southsiders party and I'm glad to have brought on a couple of mates from Riders mag to understand it.

Anonymous said...

excellent piece, places 'a line in the sand'.

59

Anonymous said...

Well we had LOMC. No more though. Please bring it back. Make it just the same. I love when real people displace the resource laden posers, or is it poseurs.

Greg Williams said...

Good grief, Paul, such fun! Fantastic photos.