Monday, May 27, 2013

The 23rd British Iron Association's Spring show and Swap meet

As the sound of the Velocette reverberated off the rocks in Puragatory Chasm it was a brisk 41* degrees. We were thumping up the hill to make a 7AM breakfast meeting at Carl's Diner in Oxford Mass. I awoke at 5:30 to make sure not to be late, Carl's can get crowded quickly and trying to set on a stool at the counter with full riding gear can be tight. On this day we'll take a booth out back an set about with a little 'shop talk'. Another thing about Carl's- never tell them them you're hungry; or if you want to get even with a member in your party...  tell them to say 'they' are hungry. It's not a place for the faint (or weak) at heart! The food is great and the service is even better!
The local weather report  came back with cloudy and 30% chance of rain. Satellite pictures looked generally good and it seem as if all the snow was staying up in Vt for a bit. 6 inches to be exact, but further south towards Keene in only amounted to one inch. Tomorrow it'll be in the 80's and muggy-  only in New England!
In keeping with the nature of being a good neighbor, I rolled the Velo out of the shed and down the street a bit so as not to awaken the resting. The Velocette has quite a percussive note upon ignition, as lovely as that can be, a 6AM starting in the alleyway is a guarantee to waking all!
While preparing for a days journey with the Velo the newspaper delivery man stopped out front. This just makes for a good omen as he used to be a Velocette dealer in the next town over back in the late 60's. Jeff greets the Velo with approving grin; I tell him of my  agenda -  breakfast at Carl's then a day with the British Iron at Singletary. Jeff admires the Velo then says hes going home to shoot himself and  shakes his head, knowing that it doesn't get any better than this in New England; crisp, quiet roads, beautiful colors and a destination of total immersion of the culture.
With a 'Wa-chuff' and a boom boom boom, the Velo and I are off in a New England utopian dream. At some point in the near future I'll have to come up with a camera mount so as to capture a smattering of the New England roads in all their splendor. But truly, the best way to experience it is to be here. When I arrive at Carl's the owner comes out to greet the MSS -and me.  There's nothing like the sound of a Velo on a cool  New England morning; it awakens all the senses!
With a tank of coffee in me and a full belly to rest it on I run through the drill and fire up the MSS. 'Wa-chuff' boom boom boom we're off to Singletary.  At the gates I'm warmly greeted by Larry Carey-  Sargent at Arms.  Again, another good omen for the day.  I appreciate and respect Larry, for when he speaks-  I listen. Thank you Larry, you were a highlight of my ride today!

Taking me on a way back trip was seeing this 1966 Austin Healy 3000 MKIII BJ8.  The owner Jim Barnard keeps it in fine fettle. It seems that the Austin has been in Jim's family for almost all of its operational time. It made me think back to the days when my Pops (Papa) had a few MGAs and Bs. Again, its a New England thing to smell gear oil and gasoline on a crisp fall Sunday morning as you go out for a 6AM drive on clear, quiet roads. Nothing finer to lock in what life has to offer.

Adam Schoolsky, member of the Velocette Owners Club made it down with his original and immaculate 1969 Venom Clubman MkII. Adam also brought along a simply stellar Moto Guzzi to boot, though I was too busy to ask much about it his newly acquired Guzzi.  It fact most of the day was a complete buzz of everything grabbing my attention-  it always is and I never seems to get all the details of who, what or when. 
Adam Schoolsky and his 1970 Velocette Venom Clubman MkII

This a good friend, Mike Suss. He turned me on to British motorcycles back in the early 90's. It was Mike that pointed me in the direction of the BSAOCNE show where Pops and I met Floyd Garrett (Geoff Hybertson's uncle) From there, Floyd taught me how to fix and ride motorcycles, though encouragement and example. Anything you see me doing wrong or out of place-  that's not Floyd's doing.
Mike lived by his Norton Commando for 13 years but eventually had to part with it.When he was in the market for another motorcycle, I had a 1975 R90S BMW that needed a good caretaker. Mike has put over 60 of 70 thousand miles on it and he keeps it in TOP shape. Its original and its one of the few BMWs that without a single doubt you could jump on right this very second and ride anywhere in the world, its in TOP shape always!
Mike Suss and his orginal 1975 BMW R90S

This young couple were the first on the field. He bought the Norton last year, I believe at Auburn and then spent 10 months pouring time into it. She said she didn't see him the whole time!  It gets me inspired-  at some point I'll have to try my hand at a Norton.
A solid ten month restoration, and impressive to boot!

This was a very clean and impressive Pan.  Again, another well maintained machine and nice classic feel. Loved hearingand watching it fire up effortlessly.

I rather liked this chap's style.  He seemed to be right in the Rocker lifestyle full bore.  There are some people that try to emulate the life and one in a while you come across those that are part of it.  I can only imagine being on a vista as he rode past to the show.
Rocker in New England

Dick Galvin and his 1963 Velocette Venom

Geoff Hybertson adjusts the shifter on his 1946 Velocette MAC

One of the more impressive and pleasing events of the show was the turnout of Velocette owners! The only bikes in the British single class were Velos.  Adam took the trophy for British single and Geoff took away the      Ron 'The Wrench' Whitmore award.
From Left to right; Dick Galvin, Adam Schoolsky, John Dolber, Mike Suss and Geoff Hybertson
The 2013 Spring Show and Swap meet Award winners.

 After a while the mind becomes lost with all the going ons and people I haven't seen though the winter and bikes to take in. So many vendors brought in 'projects' that inspire the 'you know, I could fix that up and bring it next year'. I'll try to let the pictures speak for themselves. Here are a few of the British Iron Members who that if it were not for them this show wouldn't be possible. A special thanks out for all the volunteers that keep this tradition alive year after year after year!
Some of the faithful British Iron Volunteers

Award preparation
Al and Rick get the judging underway

Bill and Russ manning the BIA Store

Pete, Bob and Yoanna
Rick, Nick and Wheels 
 Well this seems to be about as much as I can add for tonight (morning?)  I'll add more as time permits.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

British Iron Association's pre-spring Show and Swap Meet setup

Even when the weathers not so hot, there is work to be done. On this windy rainy raw New England Saturday members to the British Iron gathered to prepare for the 23rd Spring Show and Swap meet. It was impressive to see how many members had shown up it what some might call foul weather.  Sadly,  I didn't ride the old MSS Velo which is a shame as this can be the best riding weather if properly dressed.  Proper British weather for a proper British Bike.

Al Jacques and Bob Bucknell break for coffee
After the fields had been roped off and the tents erected, Russ  served up dynamite Dynamites.  For those not familiar, a dynamite is a sandwich similar to a sloppy joe but with a dynamite you get a better flavor, more zest when a skilled chef is at the helm.  Russ had got his torpedo rolls spot on to match his dynamite recipe. Hot coffee and dynamites- perfect to warm hands and hearts on after a job well done;  good soul food.  

Russ serving up Dynamites

Russ making sure no one goes hungry. 

 Looking forward to tomorrow morning, I'll be making a early morning run out to Carl's Diner  with the MSS. From there it'll be a leisure ride to the show!  See ya there!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Road Safety Ride to BIA Social

And there I was, looking at the  Watoquadoc Road turn off. I knew it couldn't have been quite right.  Thinking aloud as the Velo thumped up a short incline, the mileage had been creeping off meter and I knew it was the wrong road.  With a quick change of gears I went to doubled back to my last turning point at Mass Ave and Bolton Road. Just as Quick as I road off course-  I was found by Paul King and the sweeps coming up this wayward road. Being off route, it was stunning how fast they found me.  Paul asked if I'd like to follow them and I agreed. Bringing up the rear, we followed all the way to the BIA social in Millville. That was it for the Velo and me. We must have been behind on time only half way through the ride. She thumped along quite gloriously but that old Smith chronometric  speedo was off. Thus was the end of my first Safety Ride;  based on the Tulip Rally  ball and arrow system of map notation.  It was fun giving it a try having known some basics about tulip rides. The Velo turned out to be a great machine for doing this ride. Thumping along the New England back roads at a relaxing pace all in the moment.

. This ride began in Hudson  to Millville  Mass where the BIA would be holding its Social. 71 miles all total. Of  the riders that showed up only three were to participate.  Dave ran his Sprint GT and Marty on a Sym 150cc  road burner.  Though, the Velo had a 10hp advantage over the Sym, Marty passed by twice and made it to the social before me.   There were lots of cool sites to look at on the route;  even a few technical points here and there. e.g.  a short section of road construction to traverse.  My choice of route holder was an old Eclipse tank bag with built in map holder.  I was warned that it might interfere with reading the map-  but no worries there as my eyes are due for new glasses anyways!  Though the warning was correct;  it is difficult to read with the old map holder. Also, the addition of a inexpensive resettable bicycle odometer  would help in making for more accurate navigational readings giving you two odos.  Paul had marked out the the turn point distance and the total distance.  Its not possible to reset the Velo while riding.

I rather liked having the end point be at the social. Though not many were able to make this ride be it work or other obligations, it was great to see so many other members that I don't always get to see. Rick and Lucy were there with the Truck (gotta love the truck). Ron with his Immaculate Norton 850 Commando and Johnny as always with his ever inviting presence.  Joe was there on his Buell and Al made it later in the social.  At the end of the evening as all departed it was tempting to keep the 'ride' going by joining Paul for a ride up and through Oxford via Rt16 but my other family calls. There's always next time, see you all at the next social!
Do mark your calendar for the BIA's Spring show and Swap meet at the Singletary Rod and Gun Club in Oxford Mass on May 26th!