To Brighton for the end of season run the ‘Brighton Burn Up’. I took the ’89 Sportster as I did for the start of the season 'Southend Shake Down’ back in April. Now that the gearbox is sorted, this time it was rather less like trying to control a bucking bronco. Brighton is a helluva lot nicer than Southend but for me, taking in a detour to drop in on my parents, it was a 180mile round trip. That’s a long way to go for some very average fish and chips.
As always getting there was the thing and the arrival a bit of an anticlimax really – a saunter down the esplanade to check out the rows of something like 10,000 motorcycles and then jump on my bike and head home. It wasn’t a day to take your time and lounge in the sun - because there wasn’t any. In fact I discovered that I was decidedly chilly even in my new supposedly super-warm reproduction World War Two Tankers' Jacket.
Interesting bikes were in a small minority - plenty of Harleys to be seen but I was surprised that with the exception of a handful of old Shovelheads mine was one of the oldest. And tattiest. Some nice old 60’s British café racers and their counterpart Vespa and Lambrettas, ridden by revivalists and some old boys who looked that they had actually been around for the original bank holiday shennanigans back in the day. I can’t help noticing that old age wears better with the rocker look than it does with the mod look. Over sixty, paunchy and trying to look like Paul Weller doesn’t really cut it – but good luck to them anyway – anyone who can keep a 40 year old two stroke machine in running order deserves some respect (even if it is Lambretta).
That’s it really – nothing spectacular to report. There is something very British about these runs to seaside towns. I’m sure I’ll carry on doing them out of some misplaced sense of tradition but I can’t help thinking that really I’d have been happier just riding on my own to some sleepy and deserted place on the coast. For some people biking is primarily a social activity but in my own case I think the appeal is in the solitude and the quiet – even with the noise of a big V-Twin engine heard through an illegal exhaust.