I think we (as owners and enthusiasts of old motorcycles) need to take time to think what will happen to our bikes when we're long gone. I mean, is your family interested in the smelly, oily noisy old bike that you've lavished so much care and time on over the years? Or when you head off to the bikers' pub in the sky, will some dodgy scrap metal dealer knock on what used to be your front door and offer your family a ridiculously insulting sum of pennies to 'take it off their hands'? More than likely, as I've heard numerous stories of this happening up and down the country. So my plan is two-fold. We need to make other people, outside of 'our world' aware that our bikes exist - a little bit of British engineering that's survived anything up to a hundred years, and the main group we need to raise this awareness with is youngsters. Do you know the accident stats for teenagers and those in their 20s/30s who go and buy a sportsbike straight after passing their test? Look at the stats for classic and vintage bikes and ok, so you can argue, the older the rider the safer they are in general, but you can't get into quite so much trouble riding a Tiger Cub or a 1923 Triumph SD as you can with a 1000cc plastic rocket, but you can have a good helping of fun nonetheless. Life, is all about goals and achievements, at least that's what they tell you at school and in work, so why not achieve the goal of riding a bike that you've restored or that you keep on the road using your skills to ride the length of Scotland, or the coast to coast or whatever route you choose?
So, I have a plan. Sorry, make that a Plan with a Capital P. The trouble with plans is that while they're in the planning stage, its best not to tell anyone about them in case either they don't happen or someone else thinks that's a great idea and wanders off with your Plan....but now, the time has come! Inside the front page of the Vintage Motorcycle Club Journal, there is the bit in the pale purple box, above the contents list. In this box it states :
"The Vintage Motorcycle Club, with over 17000 members, united by the common appreciation of the engineering skills and vision of those who built the pioneer machines, has ensured that such machines are not preserved as lifeless exhibits in a museum, but are brought to life on frequent occasions in order that a new generation can marvel at the handiwork of the pioneers, and an older generation can once again view with nostalgia the machines they rode in days gone by".
You all know that just about every trade we have in this country is dying out, from building skills to traditional crafts to engineering. The skill of maintaining old motorbikes is no better off, with many people of my generation (let us just say under the age of about 40) hardly able to even change a plug on a bike nowadays, never mind strip and rebuild the engine! Well, since joining the Management Committee in 2009, I've had numerous chats with other members about ways to get younger people involved in the world of old bikes, and some of you may recall, I did a bit of a survey with you to gather your thoughts and ideas on how to put this Plan into action. I think I may have found a way that does just that, and has the opportunity to involve Sections up and down the country, and I should be able to give you more on the ins and outs of it in the not too distant future....so watch this space.....