How do you feel about bike shows? We often hear good and bad thoughts from folk – on the down side, they can feel pricey, you have to schlepp to a big old exhibition centre on the edge of town, and the food's often not great. On the other hand, it's a day out, looking at bikes (which we all love), you can always ride there with your pals, and if you're that bothered about the grub, make yourself a nice wee sandwich, then stop at a motorway Waitrose for treats en-route. Win/win/win.
So, we're saying bike shows are A Good Thing. And there's a decent range about too, from the industry Leviathan at the NEC each November, to local shows around the country. And this one: The Bike Shed show, which has been going in London for the past few years now. Organised by the people behind the Bike Shed motorcycle club and café/bar in Shoreditch, it's aimed at the custom/retro scene which has been sweeping the bike world of late. So, you get loads of cool-looking bikes on display, stalls selling riding kit and accessories, and a 'food & drink' offering which actually has had some thought and effort put into it. It's based at Tobacco Dock, a small, chic exhibition centre near Tower Bridge, in Wapping.
Now, we know the Bike Shed is a bit 'Marmite', and some folk have taken against the hipster trend. And we can see that – we weren't so sure early doors either. But when we actually went along to the show (and the Bike Shed), we wondered what we were thinking. The show is far more 'rounded' than you might think, and there was loads of really interesting cool stuff on show. I'm not a fan of slow bikes gussied up with brown leather and knobbly tyres, but the range of machines on offer far exceeds that stereotype in terms of build quality, imagination and craftsmanship. Look at these two here, from the show a couple of years ago – a sweet Z1000 and a wild Bandit-powered CB900. Amazing custom builds, based on 1980s superbikes, and looking a million dollars.
Here's what the organisers have to say on the Bike Shed show; "Every element of this unique and privately-run event at London's beautiful and historic Tobacco Dock is hand-picked by the organisers (usually based at the Bike Shed Motorcycle Club in Shoreditch). The exhibited bikes are 'Invitational' selected from the best bike builders in the UK & Europe, with guests from the US, without ropes or barriers to obscure the view or spoil your photos. Every brand, retailer, artist, photographer and exhibitor is selected and approved by us. Every barista, bar tender, burger (or salad-box) and coffee bean is tried & tested, and the organising staff are all bike-loving volunteers and members of the BSMC. The event is extremely family friendly, safe for kids, and enjoyable for non-bike-riders, as well as the custom aficionados.
"Supported by the mainstream motorcycle industry, the event is sponsored by Dainese and Rev'It apparel, with motorcycle manufacturers; Indian, Triumph, Ducati Scrambler, Yamaha & BMW, all exhibiting alongside other manufacturers, plus the pro-builders, amateurs and shed-builders."
So. We're saying the Bike Shed Show is definitely worth a look. It kicks off at Tobacco Dock on Friday May 25, and runs all weekend, finishing Sunday 27th. Tickets cost £20 in advance for Sat/Sun, £23 on the door. There's also a £30 preview ticket to get in on Friday evening. More info here.