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BRIT IRON takes you behind the scenes
April 18, 2017

April 2017

ABOVE: Almost 100 British bikes all in one room, and nothing but Brit bikes. When's the last time you've seen that?

If you’ve been following my website for very long, you’re already familiar with the Clubman’s All-British Weekend. The BSA Owners Club of Northern California (BSAOCNC) have been sponsoring this weekend-long event for 30 years in San Jose CA, that included an indoor all-British motorcycle show on the last Saturday of March each year, followed by ‘The Morning After-Ride’ the following Sunday morning, with hundreds of old Brit bikes tooling through the mountains on their way to the Pacific Ocean. What a weekend! It’s been billed as the ‘biggest all-British motorcycle show in the West’. It may be the only all-British show in the West...or just about anywhere else in the US, for that matter. And with as many as 150 classic British motorcycles, all indoors, judged and awarded in a wide range of classes, this was a very significant show, for the British bike faithful. And it should have attracted more attention from the media, from owners of classic Brit bikes, and from the public, yet over its 30 years, it remained small, relatively obscure, and attended mostly by BSAOCNC members, the bike owners, their friends and families. It never seemed to expand much past that. One year, when I was an office in the BSAOCNC, I poured out tons of marketing effort to try to get the Clubman the recognition it deserved. And while it was one of the better years we had, we also didn’t set the world on fire with it. But for those who attend, religiously every year, the word that this would be the last Clubmans Show was anticipated, but not welcomed. Their venue, the Fairgrounds in San Jose are closing down, and the now aging leadership of the club decided this would be a good time to call it quits. They’re exhausted after 30 years of putting on the show. And they deserve the break, they’ve earned it, by putting on one of the best little motorcycle shows anywhere, British or otherwise.

ABOVE: Racing icon Eddie Mulder, left, awarded the trophies to the winners.

While the Clubmans All-British Weekend may be going away, the BSAOCNC aren’t going anywhere. They’re a very well-organized group of British bike enthusiasts who organize one great ride every month, rain or shine. I’ve been on lots of them, to places like the Sacramento River Delta, the Mother Lode (where the Gold Rush took place), the Napa Wine Country, the Pacific Coast, and more. Great rides, incredible old British motorcycles, and wonderful people. And despite the name, they welcome lovers of all brands of British bikes, not just BSAs. I ride a Triumph cafe racer myself, and when it’s down, I take my ‘08 H-D Dyna. It’s all good.

ABOVE: The stalwarts of the BSAOCNC who have been putting on the Clubman for these past 30 years. We owe them a debt of gratitude.

As you must surely know by now, I take the future of the classic British motorcycle hobby very seriously and personally. As do we all, I see how the demographic of us Brit bike nuts is aging, and just like the key players within the BSAOCNC, some of us just don’t want to do it anymore. But these are the same guys who grew up with these bikes, guys like you and me. The ones who came up after us were raised on Japanese bikes, and so if we don’t watch it, our whole hobby could disappear into obscurity. It’s like what happened to Model T Fords. Not that many years ago, when the old guys who grew up with, and loved their Tin Lizzy’s got too old to buy, sell, work on and drive them, the market for, the interest in, and the value of Model T’s plummeted. It doesn’t mean they’re gone, but the market for them is a mere shadow of what it once was. The same thing is at risk of happening with us. If we don’t find a way to usher in a new generation of British motorcycle enthusiasts, our bikes will fade away with us. So, this is why I feel so strongly that the Clubman Show is something that must not only be preserved, but expanded upon, and supercharged in a way that will draw media attention, crowds of new lookers, and hopefully our next generation of enthusiasts. Right now, there is talk within and outside the club of rebooting the Clubman Show next year at a new venue and in a new format. Nothing is settled on it yet, so not much more can be said about it at this point. But as this story develops, I’ll keep you informed.

In this latest issue of Thunder Roads Magazine the latest installment of my monthly column about Brit bikes, “From Across the Pond”, is all about the history of Royal Enfield Motorcycles. Great story, and not just because I wrote it. I mean, it’s a great story, unfortunately, like most stories about British motorcycle companies, it ends badly, or sadly at least. But, it’s a great article nonetheless, and the rest of the magazine isn’t bad either, although most of it is geared toward Harley riders, along with the normal ration of scantily-clad young ladies. And check out that front cover with that hot little Triumph. Yow! And the hot little babe isn't bad either.

As usual, I’m offering to mail you a copy of this new issue, or any of the others from the past, absolutely free and with no strings attached. Here are the rules:

2.) Tell me which issue you want. If you don’t tell me, I’ll pick one. (See list below).
3.) Give me your name and MAILING ADDRESS. Very important! And make sure I can figure it out.
4.) Sorry, I won’t mail anything outside the continental USA. It’s just too expensive.

If you have a preference, here are the choices you have right now. Again, if you don’t pick one, you’ll get my choice, which is also going to be very good.
* Royal Enfield
* Las Vegas MC Auctions
* Cafe Racers
* Velocette
* Brit Choppers
* Brit Enclosed Bikes
* Matchless
* Barber MC Museum
* Brit Indians
* Vincent

If you’re a motorcyclist in the San Francisco Bay Area, you’ve probably picked up an issue of CityBike Magazine at one time or another. It’s a free newsprint-style magazine widely distributed among the motorcycle community in the area, and it’s loaded with excellent content about our favorite subject. A guy from NorCal (Northern California, where I’m from) somehow picked up an issue of Thunder Roads Magazine, which is distributed only around Maryland, Virginia, DC and the like. He contacted me asking why I wasn’t in CityBike Magazine and put me in touch with the editor, Surj Gish, who welcomed me to submit an article about Las Vegas Auction Week. I did and he published it. I wasn’t crazy about how they laid it out, but it still came out nice, and CityBike is a really cool magazine with a big Bay Area following. Hopefully it will lead some people to my site.

As with the Thunder Roads offer above, I’ll send you a free copy of the March 2017 issue of CityBike with my Las Vegas Auction article in it with no strings attached. Again, no one outside the USA. EMAIL ME and make sure you give me your NAME & ADDRESS. Can’t mail it without a mailing address. Not an email address either, the post man won’t deliver to your email. I only have a few spare copies of this one, so I must limit this offer to the first 10 people who request one.

OUR TRAFFIC IS GROWING was launched in 2010 and has been steadily growing as an expression of my love and passion for these historic machines. We are now up to 427 pages of high-value content, we’re at the top of nearly any Google search for a specific year/make/model of postwar British bike, and we broke a new record for ourselves last month (March 2017) of 218,934 hits (page-views) in a month. For reference, a year ago, in March 2016, we had 155,533 hits, an increase of over 40% in one year. Thanks to all of you.

One of the ways I support this website is through the sale of all kinds of motorcycle related crap. Motorcycle books, repair manuals, magazine subscriptions, calendars, tools, tires, chains, diecast models, and on and on. Surely there is something in there that you can use, or that you’re getting ready to buy. Please peruse our Online Store or go to any of the specific departments within the Store. Everything is through Amazon, so you can rest assured the item will get there, the shipping will be fast and cheap, and you’ll be covered by a 30-day return policy. Any and every purchase is much appreciated. Thank you for your business in advance.

Please visit our
ONLINE STORE where you will find:
GoPro Cameras
MC Accessories
MC Batteries
MC Books
MC Calendars
MC Chains
MC Chain Tools
MC Covers
MC Diecast Models
MC Handlebars
MC Helmets
MC Locks
MC Magazine Subscriptions
MC Posters
MC Rain Suits
MC T-Shirts
MC Tires
MC Tire Tools
MC Tools
Whitworth Tools

Please shop here and shop often. Thanks again.

ABOVE: The Quail Motorcycle Gathering is almost here. Click on the image above, or go directly to 2016 Quail YouTube video.

The Quail Motorcycle Gathering has become one of the West Coast’s premium classic motorcycle shows. Held every May at the gorgeous Quail Lodge Golf & Country Club in Carmel Valley CA, they spread the bikes out on perfectly manicured lawns, serve lunch on white tablecloths, serve fine wines and have live music all day long. Quite an event. I’ll be there, of course, taking lots of eye-popping pictures of classic British motorcycles, of course, and drinking some fine wines, of course. And one more ‘of course’: I’ll be covering it for and for Brit Iron. So stay tuned for that. For now, here is a video from last year’s Quail.

Now, get out there and do some ridin'! Be safe.
Andy Tallone

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