Please bear with me for a moment, there is a point to all this but it makes more sense if you understand the thought process behind it.
When we were planning Vintage British Bikes there were two main things we all felt strongly about and they almost became non-negotiable. Not that we had to negotiate, it’s our site! I’m talking more about our values as a publishing company than as individuals. I’ll leave it at that before I slip into rant mode.
Our first line in the sand was content, or as you might say, something decent to read. The phrase ‘Content is King’ still applies in my opinion. I started a web design company in 1996 (yes, that long ago) and in those heady days many talking heads predicted the demise of newspapers, libraries and even books! Yet here we are in 2017 and publications such as ‘WHICH’ live and die by informative, well written content. I apply the same yardstick to this publication. Hence, magazine style content is crucial to us.
Of course, we’re not doing this purely for pleasure, it’s part of an already successful publishing group and must be profitable to continue. However, we didn’t want to run a ‘portal’ or some other bizarre label that’s trendy this week who’s only purpose is to shift as much product as possible for affiliates or advertisers.
Our second aim is totally an emotional one, which isn’t a bad thing in publishing, in fact it’s a shame there’s not more of it about. Having owned British motorcycles when flares were still in fashion, I would have relished being a member of a club.
I’m not a fan of formal occasions, clubs, committee meetings or red tape, but the thought of having a bunch of people with bags of experience, the patience of a saint and and a bawdy sense of humour, calling themselves a ‘club’ would have been a godsend.
At the age of 18, with an IQ to match, I approached the restoration of a 1969 BSA Bantam D14/4 with the cavalier attitude eclipsing the most unrealistic optimist ever born. No prizes for guessing the disaster that ensued and took months to rectify.
Now, had I found a local club (I didn’t even look for one!), one thing would have been a dead cert. I would have shamelessly prostituted favours in exchange for any assistance given. Bearing in mind my parents owned a pub at the time, I’m pretty confident many favours would have been easily obtained and exploited by me to get the BSA roadworthy and looking pristine in double quick time.
The point, after all the arse gravy above is this.
Clubs, in my opinion, do a wonderful job. They appear to be, as I said above, a friendly bunch, with a common interest, only too happy to share their knowledge, happy to lend a hand if needed and generally all round good eggs.
Thinking about this as we argued, planned, and created our newest online baby, another aspect struck me that sometimes only comes with the benefit of age and the ability to look back over a long period and that was very simply this. Our British motorcycle clubs, in fact any British motorcycle club, regardless of it’s geographical location, is doing something I doubt they ever really think about and that’s keeping Britain’s motorcycle history, not only alive but alive, kicking and an attitude that can only be summed up as come over here if you think you’re hard enough’. An attitude much admired by someone who grew up in Portsmouth, a city I love and doesn’t take any shit.
And for that, everyone here salutes you and we genuinely mean it.
What makes this even more endearing to us is the typical British manner in which this is done. Yes, our bikes do leak oil. Yes, they do break down and sometimes the owners manual ought to be labelled ‘Serving suggestion only’ for all the detail that sometimes was omitted by those 1900’s copywriters. But what other mode of transportation can almost be completely disassembled and rebuilt in a lay-by on the A3 with little more than a quarter whitworth spanner?
If you’re a member of a club, by now you must realise that we’re here not only to ‘turn a profit’ we, WANT to support all clubs, worldwide in their efforts to keep this part of Britain’s heritage alive.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us help you promote your club. Absolutely free. It’s our way of saying thank you.