These Guys Have Brass Ones!

THE WALL OF DEATH

I have read about it. I have seen photos of it. I have seen you tube videos of it. But I have never seen it live. Until now. Inside this rickety, wooden structure, men on vintage motorcycles flip the bird to bodily injury and death as they race their motorbikes on vertical wooden planks, inches from the crowd of spectators.

PRE-EVENT WARMUPS

The Wall of Death has been around at motorcycle rallies since the early 20th century. Not much has changed: man, motorcycle, speed, wood and centrifugal force. Get one of the components wrong and you’re toast.

The spectators climb the stairs into the “dome” and circle the outer perimeter of the wall. I was right up against the wall, right where the motorcycles would be inches from my face.

Looking down at the moto gladiators and their machines

The bottom row of planks are banked in order to get the motorbike up onto the vertical planks. When the bike has attained sufficient speed and centrifugal force takes over, the rider nudges the bike onto the vertical planks!

Wally, a native South Carolinian, is the oldest Wall of Death participant in the U.S. at 68 years old!

 How about two at a time? Like a bicycle pursuit race, they start at opposite ends of the “wall” and pass each other! Sick, huh?

Even a go cart has a go at it. Up the banking ……..

……… and onto the wall!

The whole structure rocked back and forth as the vehicles circled the wall. It was kind of unnerving, but exciting as well.

What a great experience, up close and personal. The bikes and riders were literally inches from us as they climbed to the very top of the wall! If you ever get the chance to see this, do it. It’s nothing short of fantastic!

 

It’s Been a Vintage Kind of Year!

It has indeed! We started our vintage bike rally “groupie” travels in April, with a run up to Hendersonville, North Carolina, for the Motorcycle Meltdown Vintage & Cafe Racer bike show. This is our favorite, down home, grass-roots vintage show. Next, we headed to the Sunshine State in May, to the World Golf Village and the most excellent 2017 Motorcycle Concours d’Elegance in Saint Augustine, Florida. Finally, just last month, we wound up in the small, rural South Carolina town of Chesnee for the Antique Bikes on Main Vintage Show and Wall of Death!

There were lots of restored and unrestored bikes on display. There seems to be a small movement in both bike and car restoration towards leaving vehicles in their original condition, or “as is”, doing just enough work to get them in running and driveable condition. Seeing some of these bikes in worn condition was pretty fascinating.

A few photos from Main St.

Even a separate section for vintage race bikes!

This is a nice, small town, vintage show that just a few years ago was a show out for one percenter groups (or wannabes). Now, riders and non-riders, cruisers to sport bikes to scooters, kids and dogs, all come to enjoy old bikes, food, vendors, and amusement rides. A nice family show that is close to home.

Next Post: The Wall of Death!

Ancient Bikes In An Ancient City – A Concours d’Elegance Part 2

 A beautiful day in northeast Florida greeted us as we made our way to our favorite coffee house on the island; Amelia Island Coffee. Enjoying a cappuccino as we look out over the harbor, we are excited about spending the day at the Riding Into History Concours d’Elegance in St. Augustine.

History Lesson: St. Augustine, FL

St. Augustine is the oldest continuously occupied European established settlement within the Continental U.S. With the established presence of Spanish explorers claiming Florida for Spain, St. Augustine was then founded in 1565. Over the centuries, St. Augustine saw as many as six different flags flying over Fort Matanzas: Spain, Britain, Spain again, United States, Confederate States of America (Civil War period), and finally and permanently, United States.

This weekend, many flags are flying over St. Augustine, but this time denoting the country of origin of the many beautiful vintage bikes on display at the World Golf Village and Hall of Fame.

This venue is absolutely beautiful. A large lake sits in the middle of the property with a concrete boardwalk around the perimeter. Upon this boardwalk are hundreds of vintage motorcycles lined up by class, year and marque. The walk around the lake is approximately one mile. That’s one mile of tightly packed vintage bikes! Awesome!

Vintage motorbikes line the entire perimeter of this lake

Arriving at the World Golf Village, we were astounded by the sheer number of motorcycles. It was mind bending. So, we started our perusement of the moto eye candy right in front of the Caddyshack  Grill (a great place for lunch-highly recommended) and started snapping away.

NORTON COMMANDO AD

SOME BADGES

 ROLL CAMERA!

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THE ITALIANS

 MORE BADGES!

By now we were hungry and thirsty, and still had only walked half the boardwalk! Lunch at the Caddyshack Grill was exceptional. Beautiful ambience: dark wood interior, golf theme decor, both current and historical, nicely done. Service was wonderful considering the number of bikers invading, the food was very good and the beer refreshing. It was a pretty warm day. Satiated and satisfied, we ventured outside for round two of Riding into History.

SCOOTERS & MINIBIKES 

(And yes. those minibikes are way cool!)

THE ROYAL TRIUMPH

RACER’S ROW- MV AUGUSTA

HONDA HAD A HUGE PRESENCE

You know there’s nothing new under the sun, right? I know that too. But, here I am one month after buying my NC700XD automatic/manual transmission bike, thinking I’m the cat’s meow with new tranny technology, when this comes into view:

NOTICE ANYTHING MISSING? RIGHT. NO CLUTCH LEVER.

I THOUGHT THIS WAS ONLY ON HONDA CARS OF THE ERA………….

THE ENTIRE BIKE- 1983 HONDA 750 FOUR AUTOMATIC

Nothing new under the sun.

GOT A FLAT TIRE? NO WORRIES. THROW ON THE SPARE!

Many years ago I was an avid bicyclist and decent club racer. I had an insatiable appetite for bicycles both modern and vintage, just as I do with motorcycles and automobiles today. Many motorcyclists are also bicyclists, and if that describes you, here is a section of interest:

VINTAGE BICYCLES

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If you live in the South, as we do, college football is king. Roo and I, and apparently the gentleman who owns this bike, are Florida Gator fans/alum. However, we don’t go to such extremes…………….. Go Gators!

FLORIDA GATOR BIKE

Now that’s a BMW I can live with! But, this Ducati in Gator colors would look great in the garage:

I GUESS YOU CAN TELL I LIKE TANK BADGES………….

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A BEAUTIFULLY RESTORED AND RARE EXCELSIOR HENDERSON

 THE PERFECT FLORIDA BIKE: AQUA BLUE AND A SEAHORSE. VERY COOL!

And so, after a few hours and having circled the perimeter (me twice, faster the second time around), it was time to head back to Amelia Island to meet up with a friend, a couple of beers, and dinner.

This was an exceptional show, held the third weekend each May. Do see it if you can. You won’t be disappointed.

ISLAND TIME

Antique Bikes on Main-A Pictorial (mostly)

Antique Bikes on Main-Chesnee, South Carolina

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 Do you like antique and vintage motorcycles? I do. Not to own (they can be money pits), but to ogle, to imagine their place in history, to listen to the sound of their ancient engines and smell their exhaust, to appreciate the mechanical art these machines embody. The large venues that showcase beautiful, fully restored motorbikes such as seen at           Barber Motorsports Museum are great, but there is a nostalgia associated with down home, small town bike shows with restored and “as is” machines lined up and down Main Street.

So it was on the last day of July, I hopped on the little cafe retro Suzuki TU250 and rode 50 miles to the one stoplight town of Chesnee, South Carolina for the 12th annual Antique Bikes on Main vintage motorcycle show.

Main Street, Chesnee, South Carolina

 Family friendly too! The amusement park arena

A funny thing happened on the way ………..

As I parked the Cafe TU, a regular Joe dressed in plaid Bermuda’s and a polo shirt, walked across the street to me and said: “That’s a small bike for here.” I was fiddling with my camera, looked up and said, “Pardon?” “That’s a small bike for here” he repeated as he walked around the diminutive (to him) Suzuki for the second time, as if studying every detail. “For here?” I said. “What does that mean, a small bike for here?” “Well, it’s a small bike. Most men ride big bikes.” “Really?” I said. “What big bike do you ride?” “Oh, well, I’m between bikes right now.” Ahhhh. The infamous “I’m between bikes” statement. We’ve all heard that before. “But I like the style you made with it. Looks cool for a small bike. Enjoy your day.” And he walked on. Hmmm. Very strange.

The bike that’s too small for here, (according to one)

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On with the bike show!

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How about a few of these? 

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(and one BSA)

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  Now here’s a bike that might be construed as too small for here ………………

(OK. I’m letting it go)

Speaking of Honda….the iconic CB series (a Suzuki crashed the picture)

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 An original Indian Scout

The Vintage off-roadies

Live music too, playing what else? Southern Rock of course!

Beautiful vintage iron everywhere!

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This guy must be a Ford man

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Is that the original Triumph Tiger? Tony the Tiger says so……

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Back on the little Suzuki Cafe TU and I’m heading home. Vintage bikes always make me feel like riding a modern retro, small motorbike. I’m smiling in my helmet.

Hope y’all enjoyed the show.