London Motorcycle Show

MCN London Motorcycle Show - Alexandra Palace 5th February 2006

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“Flap” & I have been doing this show for the last couple of years now. It makes a nice ride out for us on a crisp Winter’s morning. Straight up the M3 from Basingstoke into London, around the North Circular, stopping at The Ace Café for a big fried breakfast, then on to Alexandra Palace to wander around the show for the afternoon.
Unfortunately Flap couldn’t make it this year, but I had my lady, Rainbow, for company instead. The weather had been bloomin’ freezing for weeks beforehand so rather than suffer the journey on the bikes I rented a car for the weekend -I’m old enough & wise enough now to realise I’ve got nothing to prove. Yes, I’m a fair weather biker. Can’t see the point of turning my passion for biking into an endurance test. So we cruised in comfort into London with the heater on & eating cake.

First stop was the Ace Café at Stonebridge. It’s become a habit now to stop in there for a cuppa & something to eat whenever we’re in the vicinity. There’s almost always a meet or show of some description on a Sunday morning & this time was no exception with the 59 Club having a get-together. We’d planned to treat ourselves to the Ace’s huge fried breakfasts but having left home late decided to forego the queue at the counter & instead chatted to Janie-Postie, Dave & Jacko who’d braved the

cold to ride up so Jacko could renew his 59 membership. Urban Terrorist was there too but we missed him. The café was heaving with people as always & as we left a guitarist was taking the stage to belt out some old Gene Vincent numbers. If you’ve yet to visit, I’d recommend the Ace.
Back in the car & onto the North Circular again & within 20 minutes we were parking up at the bottom of Alexandra Hill & walking up to the exhibition halls. I always enjoy coming here. I love the setting. A great view out over North London as far as Canary Wharf from the top of the hill. An interesting building -the home of the first broadcasts from the BBC & still in use as a transmitter mast today. For the second year running we heard tales of hapless bikers leaving the show to find their alarm systems imobilised by the radio mast & having to push their bikes down the hill & out of direct sight of the antenna before they’d start! There’s a secure, ticket only, bike park outside the Palace doors with a charity donation helmet park, while those of us who chickened out & brought their cars used the free carparks & had to climb the hill on foot.
The building itself is worth a look too. Huge stained glass windows, neo classical pillars, long flights of stone steps leading up to arched doorways, the palm court entrance halls with visitors greeted by Vic Jefford’s multi award winning “Manhattan” chop on a Carole Nash display plinth. Very imposing.
15 quid each is maybe a little steep for an afternoon’s entertainment, but we don’t do big shows very often so don’t mind it once in a while. These events are always what you make of them I think & Rainbow & I thoroughly enjoyed it. Sponsored by Motorcycle News & billed as “The biggest bike event in the South East”, it boasted 150 stands with most of the big manufacturers showing their latest models, plus plenty of smaller companies. If anyone wants to buy me a Birthday pressie next week I’d like one of the new bright red retro Ducatis please, or the big, black Suzuki Intruder cruiser. Between us we managed to spend several hundred pounds in the 3 or 4 hours we were there with Rainbow treating herself to a new exhaust & crash bobbins for her Fazer & me plundering the tool stalls. We missed the Live Action Arena where the UKFMX display team were doing their high jumping stuff & a Belgian display team were looning around on 900 FireBlades, plus the scooter football. Instead we took in the Carole Nash Custom & Chrome hall. Some gorgeous machinery on show, my personal favourite being the black & blue flamed Buell “Hotrod” chop.
We tried comparing this show to the other big indoor one at the NEC that we did a few months ago. The London Show wins for us. It’s got a nicer atmosphere -it feels more like a proper bikers’ show, less corporate & more enthusiastic. It’s big enough to be interesting without being so vast you run out of steam halfway round. There’s a greater variety of products too, with only one or two selling the same parts rather than dozens of near-identical stalls as we saw at the NEC. Yes, we’ll be back next year.