Since August 2008 a growing band of motorcyclists, scooterists and residents have been battling Westminster council's introduction of parking charges for 'bikes in central london.
Despite 6,000 objections, common sense and the fact that the scheme is, according to the council, losing £430,000 a year, they refuse to scrap this abortion of an idea.
The protest group No To Bike Parking Tax has fought them every step of the way and has gathered enough evidence of blatantly illegal procedures to have served the council with papers that will see them in the High Court to defend this odious tax on commuters who solve congestion rather than add to it.
Every Wednesday morning the group holds a Breakfast Club meeting in Trafalgar Square. We circle the roundabout there riding in the manner that cars drive - adequate spacing and no filtering. As the script on my jacket says "Charge us to park like cars & we'll congest like cars". We'll be back every Wednesday until the scheme is scrapped and riders can park freely again like in every other civilised country.
This is a Stadium Vanguard that I got off ebay. It originally had a peak which went in the bin pretty damn quickly. What's nice about it is the period stickers. The Yellow and blue one is/was the logo for 'National' petrol stations but the other's provenance is unknown.
Kinda cool that the original owner used stickers depicting helmets.
My thanks go to 'magnum45pete' for bringing this to my attention via the excellent Dirty Bobbers site. It's a 1948 Indian Chief. The seller's calling it a barn find but I don't think it was ever lost, it was just taking a breather. There's a couple of videos too :
I've been selling these T-shirts on ebay for a while now. They're 'tributes' to a shirt that appeared on ebay and sold for a lot more than I could afford. Figured I might as well use my blog to help sales. The one pictured is an off-white T-shirt, they're also available in pure white. They come in Medium, Large and XL. They're £11.50 plus P&P (I'll take a tenner!)
Here's the link: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&Item=140396524713
Being an ebayaholic I couldn't resist this for a fiver. It's a French 'Polaire' lighter from, I'm guessing, the 1930s. The detail on the motif is amazing, I had a look with a magnifying glass and there's fins on the cylinder, a hand gear-change on the tank and a tool bag on the back. Motif diameter is 17mm. I've since found out that they were a special order made for a motorcycle club in Aux de Provence in France. It was described on ebay as missing a part; turned out it was shy of the thumbwheel /striking wheel, the screw that held that on, the flint and its spring. The snuffing lever was seized, but on the positive side it had its original wadding inside.
I managed to free up the snuffing lever and replaced the collapsed spring that keeps it perky with one out of a disposable lighter. The arm now clicks up and down positively. I took the striking wheel out of the same donor disposable lighter and JB Welded that on to the head of a knurl screw that I centred-drilled at 1mm diameter and faced off until it was the right thickness. I managed to find a dome-headed brass M1 screw the right length which screwed in nicely acting as an axle for the combined thumbwheel/striking wheel. Used the flint and its spring out of the disposable and bought a new wick and lighter petrol from a tobacconist. Flicked the wheel...
I've just scored this bicycle tail light on ebay for under £10. Check out the gorgeous egg shape on this brass beauty that was quite possibly made when everything was black and white.
I'm thinking I'll put it on my project Big Four Norton which started out as a 'fake vintage' bike build but may well end up as a 1930s style bobber.
Talking of bobbers, may I draw your attention to the following which has been shamelessly ripped off of someone else's blog ? 'Shameless' because it needed to be said. I'm getting pretty tired of people calling choppers 'bobbers'.
It's a quote from Sugar Bear:
"A short bike with a Sportster tank and a flat fender is not a "bobber," it's just a short chop. About 99% of the bikes that are called bobbers...well, you get the picture. I've been involved in conversations with youngsters (born after 1960) who claim that what they build are Bobbers. I'm not even sure most of them have ever seen one.
In the '50s, in my area, we were riding chops, bobbers, and garbage wagons (full dressers or baggers, as they are known now) and each had a distinct style! Chops had cut-down tanks (this is before Sportster tanks were made), cut-down fenders, no floorboards, cut-up bars or apes, usually upsweeps with fishtails (normally no mufflers), sidemount taillight, etc. Bobbers had small fatbobs, floorboards, bobbed rear stock fender (usually cut at the rear fender hinge), the stock exhaust (2-into-1), stock bars, basically a cut-down (bobbed) stock bike. Of course we know what a garbage wagon (eh, bagger) looked like. Anyway, you guys are building short chops, not bobbers. This is a cycle that repeats itself time after time. People start building chops, then they build long chops because that's always been considered what a chop should look like. Then after awhile, they begin to realize that the long chops they built are hard to handle and you need gorilla arms to keep it straight and to turn. Of course, these people flunked geometry and physics because they unknowingly set up their bikes wrong. So to be able to get back to riding, they shortened up the bikes but didn't want them to be called chops (because that might seem to infer they don't handle) so they called them bobbers, custom bikes, etc.
I've seen this cycle so many times in my riding history that it's ridiculous. I remember people snickering at me in the early '90s because I was riding long chops and still building them. "That looks cool, but I wouldn't ride one of those." "How does that thing handle in the curves (snicker)." It's very easy to tell who the uninformed are. If you don't know how to set up a long bike so you can ride it with one hand and be comfy, buy a stocker, put some chrome and handlebars on it, and stop ruining the reputation of choppers. If you want a chop and don't know how to set up a long one, do a short one. A long chop is a thing of beauty; there's nothing like it. If set up right, you'll ride it forever and smile away every mile. If in doubt, ask anyone who has ridden a Sugar Bear chop. "
The trouble is, you really don't want to sidle up to a cute girl at the bar and say, "Hey baby, need a ride home? I've got a short chopper."
These are a couple of ideas I had for T-shirts. What with the revival of the Norton name I thought I'd cynically cash in. The idea was that a Triumph owner would buy his Norton-owning friend the top design and then the Nortonista would reciprocate by gifting his mate the lower one.
Well bugger me! I've got a follower! I started this web log in a rather vain attempt to jump on the bobber blog (blobber?) bandwagon. I soon realised that it's not all beer and skittles and you actually have to put a bit of work in. Hence the paucity of posts.
So, I promise I'll try to post more frequently now.
Let's start with this cracking image. Pretty much self-explanatory and as far as I know unpublished anywhere else. Let's see how long it takes for it to spread around.