So, You Say You Like Vintage Bikes?

 

Me too. But not enough to own one. I like the reliability of modern bikes. I like not having to worry about breaking down on the road in the middle of God’s elbow somewhere. I like electric start, powerful brakes, ABS, traction control, ride modes, and yes, dual clutch transmissions like I have on my Honda NC700.

I don’t wax nostalgic over vintage bikes. I wasn’t riding a 1960’s triumph when I was five years old. When most of these older bikes were new and on the road, heck, I wasn’t even interested in girls yet!

But I love the design of vintage bikes, the artistry that goes into those designs. I like the historical factor, each bike showcasing the history of motorcycling through the decades. The beauty of these machines is what excites me, whether in preservation mode or fully restored.

The venue for this vintage show was Antique Bikes on Main in Chesnee, South Carolina. Enjoy the photos and wax nostalgic if you must!

On Cars & Motorcycles & Coffee…….A Pictorial of sorts.

The weather over Memorial Day weekend was perfect for my hometowns monthly Cars & Coffee gathering in Greenville, South Carolina. Just like The Meltdown Vintage Motorcycle show that we rave about each year, our monthly Cars & Coffee is a great grass roots petrol fest of two and four wheels. People of all ages; Millenials, Geezers, Hipsters, Gen X,Y&Z, small kids, big kids, dogs…..all coming out to see, smell, and hear the sound of internal combustion engines housed in all kinds of sheet metal skin. As the temps are starting to get quite a bit warm, the usually large canine contingent was noticeably under represented this day.

So, enough words. Here are some of the more interesting, aesthetic, weird, freaky and WTF cars and bikes we came across. Enjoy!

Motorbikes had a good turnout

Modern and Vintage. It was all here.

A Thing? C’mon. Everyone remembers VW’s Thing. Soooo ugly it’s beautiful! And you too, can have this one.

A Cornucopia of really beautiful, really fast cars. Check out the kid, already pointing out the attributes of a Ferrari to his dad.

The French Invasion: a weird little car is this Citroen

The weirdness continues……………..

In the market for a beautiful, upscale, Italian Roadster? Alfa Romeo 4C. Where do I sign?

Back to the Bikes

You want patina? This guy’s got patina. Used to be called rust.

We’ll end with the freak in the room……………. WTF?

 

 

THE MELTDOWN!

Spring! Our favorite time of year. Not only is the weather wonderful for introducing my motorbikes wheels to some lean angles again after a shitty winter, but end of April marks an event Roo & I wait for all year. Putting rubber to pavement in Hendersonville, North Carolina, the Ton Up Club of Highlands stages a fantastic vintage and café motorcycle street show: The Meltdown.

I have expounded profusely about this grass roots, family oriented, all-comers show in this blog every year. Young bikers, old bikers, non-bikers, women, kids, newbies, dogs. All gather here to ogle over beautiful vintage iron in all stages of preservation or restoration. And the majority of them  are ridden. No trailer queens in this group!

Southern Appalachian Brewery offers up food trucks and their excellent libations, while in their courtyard bandstand two or three bands play good old rock n’ roll and rock a billy, befitting the era of these motorcycles.

Oh yeah. THE MOTORCYCLES!

DID THE KING OF COOL RIDE THIS BIKE?

The Meltdown is a very Cool moto show. The bikes here are Cool. Way Cool. One motorbike in particular could be The Coolest. Not because it is exceptional, it is. Not because it is an uncommon ride, it is. But because it may have been ridden by the King of Cool himself, Steve McQueen.

It is known that McQueen had an affinity for the Rickman Metisse, and is believed to have had one built. If it was this particular bike, no one knows. What is known (from the current owner) is that Bud Ekins, McQueens good friend and stunt double in The Great Escape, did own this particular Metisse. So, it stands to reason that during Ekins ownership, McQueen could have thrown a leg over this Rickman. Did he or didn’t he?  We’ll never know. But it’s Cool to imagine that the King of Cool just might have.

IF YOU MADE AWAY WITH THIS BIKE, YOU COULD TELL YOUR FRIENDS YOU’RE TAKING A WHIZZER!

RANDOM MOTO PICS

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As mentioned earlier, this is a grass roots event, showcasing bare bones motorcycling as it was in the 60’s and 70’s. Real bikes, real people. No poseurs (bikes or people) were to be seen. No riders dressed like pirates or space aliens. Almost all the bikes we saw were ridden to the show. Of the very few that were not, they were trailered by vehicles like these. Doesn’t get any Cooler.

THE CAR ENTHUSIAST IN US WAS SMILING:

A HOT ROD

AND THEN, NOT SO MUCH. A JUSTY??? IT ACTUALLY DROVE HERE!

Our time at the show was winding down, and we needed to head back down the mountain to the waiting beagles. But there was one more machine that caught our eyes that we had to see up close and personal. It put a smile on our faces, even though I was only five or six years old when this motorbike came to the US. Roo wasn’t even born yet. But we knew the history. This bike changed the course of motorcycling in America, and changed Americans perception of motorcyclists and motorcycles forever. It was a Honda, and Honda’s marketing team hit a home run with their “You meet the nicest people on a Honda” campaign. It was the Super Cub, and it’s back for 2019.

2019 HONDA SUPER CUB

” YOU MEET THE NICEST PEOPLE ON A HONDA.”

See you at The Meltdown in 2020!

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

Enough About My Bike. Let’s Look At…………

2017 Motorcycle Meltdown

As much as I like modern motorbikes, especially with a modicum of useful technology, and Euro styling, modern retro and vintage bikes get my heart racing. These motorcycles, to me, are works of art. I look at these bikes with an aesthetic eye first before segwaying to their performance capabilities, if at all.

And so, after picking up my NC700XD a few  Saturday mornings ago, Roo and I dropped the top on the Miata and cruised up to Hendersonville, North Carolina for the 2017 Motorcycle Meltdown Vintage bike show. This is a grass roots, laid back bike show for vintage and cafe racer bikes, the real deals, from the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s. A family oriented event, folks from all walks of life attend this show: Oldsters who rode & wrenched these machines “back in the day”, hipsters who are fascinated with these ancient machines and restore and build them today, women riders and enthusiasts, non-riders who just like old bikes, kids & dogs running about, and folks like me and Roo who appreciate the visual appeal and aesthetics of these motorbikes.

Here are a few slides of these wonderful works of art. Enjoy, and, if you fit the age demographic, maybe reminisce?

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