Bikes on the Back 9

I have always enjoyed going to motorcycle shows that take place at a golf venue. The atmosphere is different, evoking a sense of elegance, upscale and affluence, real or imagined. Like the Quail Gathering on the West coast, or the Riding Into History event in St. Augustine, FL. Even the bikes seem to have an extra layer of shine and finish to them, as if to say “we deserve to be here.”

My hometown of Greenville, South Carolina is host to such an event. The Euro Auto Festival is held each October at the Preserve at Verdae Golf Club, a beautifully wooded golf venue. As the name implies, it is an event showcasing over one hundred beautiful European automobiles on the golf course (more in a later post), with a large contingent of motorcycles.

Euro is the name of the game here. All European motorcycles on the green from modern sport bikes (Ducati/Triumph), to a vintage scooter (Moto Guzzi), and the usual ’60’s and ’70’s Triumphs and BSA’s in between. A great showing of beauty on two wheels. Enjoy the show.

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A Vintage Bikes & Brunch in North Carolina

I don’t know who came up with it first, the car guys or the biker dudes. All I know is we heard of the car guys Cars & Coffee gatherings first, then, just recently, we came across the bikers Bikes & Breakfast get togethers. We don’t have any Bikes & Breakfast gatherings locally, so Roo and I decided to come up with our own private version in conjunction with this years Meltdown Vintage Motorcycle Show. We have dubbed it Bikes & Brunch.

We anticipate this show all year long. It’s such a grass roots, low key, run what ya brung, family oriented affair that makes you so happy to be there, not just for the bikes, but for the atmosphere as well. Young, middle aged, old timers, dogs, kids, riders, non-riders, they’re all here and loving it! And, of course, the most beautiful vintage motorcycles on display. This is no trailer queen Concours event. As mentioned earlier, these are run what ya brung machines.

The Meltdown starts at noon, in Hendersonville, North Carolina. Roo and I left home with enough time to have our Brunch, arriving at Pop’s Diner in Hendersonville around 11:00 AM. Vintage bikes were everywhere, making their way to the Meltdown venue at Appalachian Brewery, just two blocks away. It was awesome seeing and hearing these beautiful and historic machines on the road.

Yes, we drove our four wheeled sport bike (we had our reason).

After parking the Miata, we strolled down Vintage Motorcycle Alley, three blocks of nothing but vintage bikes lining both sides of the street and overflowing into the parking lots. Heaven! Enjoy the pictorial!

An enthusiastic crowd admires moto history

 

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We all know how much dogs enjoy motorcycles.

This just looks stinkin’ fast……

Leave it to Ford to bring a car (and a possum) to a bike show

Bring on the badges

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What a great vintage show. Even looking at the modern bikes that people rode in was fantastic. A live oldies band (complete with band members pompadour’s) was playing in the courtyard of Appalachian Brewery, along with food trucks serving up all kinds of delicious munchies. No sooner did we leave, we were already anticipating next years show! If you are in the Western North Carolina area the third weekend in April, check it out. If you love vintage moto’s, you won’t be disappointed.

Motorbikes at EuroFest Greenville, South Carolina

 

EuroFest is a European car, judged show. But before you blow off this post because of the word “car”, let it be known they had some pretty sharp motorcycles at this premier auto event as well.

Roo and I, two moto and auto enthusiasts in our Mazda Miata, and another couple in their Porsche, drove to the Euro Auto Festival venue, the Verdae Greens golf course, on a gorgeous Saturday morning. Honestly, I did not know there were going to be motorbikes here, so imagine our delight when we came upon the sign shown above. Not a whole lot of bikes showcased, but hey, it is a “car” show.

There were a number of marques represented here: Aprilia, Ducati, Triumph, BSA, Norton, even a Greeves! BMW Touring Sport, our local BMW, Triumph and Ducati dealer, had a vendor tent set up and a Zero motorcycle (electric) whirring around the golf course all day! Awesome! Enough words. Enjoy the show!

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Next year, the featured automobiles will be Italian marques. Maybe more Italian motorbikes also? We will definitely be there. Viva Italia!

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.

VINTAGE

Vintage. The word itself conjures up images of fine wine, art deco wall posters, and old clothing of a bygone era. And motorcycles. I love vintage bikes, especially Cafe racers. I consider myself a touring motorcyclist, and probably ninety percent of my moto time is spent doing just that. But there’s that small part of my motorcycle persona that keeps tugging in the direction of vintage and modern retro two wheeled art. Yes, I have a split motorcycle personality.

I view vintage bikes and Cafe racers aesthetically and viscerally. I didn’t ride these machines in my teens and twenty’s, so there is no personal connection to them. Nor did I ever tune an engine to wring out more power or build a bike from scratch. Viscerally, what motorcyclist worth his Pirelli’s doesn’t get off on the intoxicating smell and sound of a 1960’s Triumph, BSA or Vincent? Aesthetically, I find them to be works of art, which, of course, was the last thing on the minds of the men (boys) of the 50’s and 60’s whose sole objective was to “do the ton” (hit 100 MPH). Little did they know the following that would blossom fifty years later.

So, with much anticipation, on a beautiful Saturday morning on the last day of April, I rolled the ST out of the garage for a visit to Hendersonville, North Carolina, and the 16th annual Motorcycle Meltdown Vintage and Cafe Racer Motorcycle Show. I would have loved to ride Roo’s little Suzuki Cafe TU ( she would fit right in) but afternoon weather called for heavy rain, and that’s no bike to be caught on when weather turns dicey.

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The motorbikes, of course, are the main event. But, just as much, what brings me back to this event, are the people and the atmosphere. Folks here are unpretentious, not caring what you ride. The only colors flying here are the Ton Up Highlands club who sponsor this amazing show each year. Men, women, kids, dogs, all running about. Old men who rode these bikes “back in the day” talking shop with hipsters that weren’t even a horny moment in daddy’s eyes yet, that rediscovered the bikes and culture and who restore these machines today. Everyone is happy & smiling; it’s a carnival atmosphere around motorcycles, because of motorcycles.

THE MOTORBIKES

All the big players from the “ton up” days were here.

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Moto Guzzi was a show in force

The lone Suzuki: 1967 125cc. Wish I rode our’s up……….

Triumphs, of course, were everywhere……….

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Back in the day, this is the bike everyone wanted but couldn’t afford. Some just built it……………. the Triton

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Beautiful to behold, the power of a Triumph engine surrounded by the steadfastness of a Norton frame. This was the quintessential British Cafe Racer to have in the 60’s and 70’s.

The one thing all these bikes have, both vintage and modern retro, that other modern bikes do not, is the cool factor. They just exude cool, like Steve McQueen and the 1960’s Twilight Zone’s Rod Serling. Cool cannot be faked or fabricated. You either have it or you don’t. Steve had it, Rod had it, and these bikes have it. Cool.

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THE PEOPLE – Rockers & Mods…….NOT!

As I mentioned earlier, the folks gathered here for the love of vintage and retro motorbikes and to participate at an event in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina on a beautiful southern spring day.

Old, young, old hippies, young hipsters, women, girls, teens, kids and dogs. All mixing it up among the bikes.

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and personalities abound……………….

and the band played on

Passing on the knowledge

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These guys  are the new generation of vintage and Cafe bike builders. Carrying the torch, keeping the bikes and the Ton Up culture alive……………

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All too soon, it was time for me to head back home.I made numerous passes through the lineup of bikes, seeing something new and interesting each time. Satisfied, I got back on the big Honda, and headed south towards the state line.

Oh, the rain. Did I get caught in the wet weather? Sure did. The sky’s opened up exactly 1/2 mile from home. But I was still smiling!