If you are anywhere near London this weekend – like, within a 300-mile radius – you should be pointing your bike toward Shoreditch for the annual Bike Shed London show.
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Taking place Saturday and Sunday (26-27 May) Bike Shed London is Europe’s biggest annual motorcycle show, celebrating the always-difficult-to-label side of motorcycling that people sometimes lazily refer to as the hipster scene. For its part, Bike Shed refers to it as “new-wave and cafe-racer custom motorcycle culture.”
But really it doesn’t need a label. Bike Shed is just about people who love bikes getting together to stare at some bikes. And if you get tired of staring at bikes there’s plenty of other stuff to check out: art, photography, live music, local bars, coffee, street food, a whisky and cigar lounge (Cigars? That’s so ’90s), a barbershop, tattoos, and on and on. It’s Bike Shed, man – there’s not a lot else like it.
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The exhibited bikes are “invitational” – selected from builders in the United Kingdom, Europe, and the United States. Bike Shed prides itself on being a show that doesn’t separate folks from the bikes, so no velvet ropes or barriers.
Because it’s an incredibly cool show that attracts an incredibly cool crowd, you can expect a fair few manufacturers and clothing brands to be there, including Dainese, Rev’It, Indian, Triumph, Ducati, Yamaha and BMW.
Thanks to a press release that hit my inbox exactly as I was writing this article, I know Ducati will be displaying a number of customized Scrambler Ducati models, including a cafe racer-inspired Scrambler 1100 by deBolex Engineering, an 803cc Scrambler converted by deBolex into a TT-style racer, the Holographic Hammer Ducati Scrambler designed by Sylvain Berneron, and a Scrambler Icon flat tracker by Survivor Customs.
On a personal note: I really love that Indian shows up at all these events – Bike Shed, Wheels and Waves, Sultans of Sprint, etc. The Scout platform has been pretty successful in Europe and it’s good to see Indian pushing toward a demographic that is so creative and vibrant.
Bike Shed describes itself as “extremely family friendly, safe for kids, and enjoyable for non-bike-riders,” so I’m pretty upset I won’t actually be going this year. It would have been the perfect place to rock up astride the Harley-Davidson Street Bob. But, unfortunately, I’ll be riding a Ducati Multistrada 950 in Scotland this weekend. (Yeah – “unfortunately.” This moto life really sucks)
It’s such a cool event, though… perhaps I could make a slight detour through London on my way back home.