No doubt you’re aware how difficult it is to find a good barber. That’s especially true for me because I have ridiculously poofy hair that for most of my life managed to confound every scissor warrior I encountered. Then I met Jamie.
Jamie is the mother-hugging business, y’all. Sit in his chair and you will realize that barbering is a craft. Being a really good barber is like being a really good Michelin-starred chef, but harder, and Jamie is one of the best.
It’s not “just” cutting hair. If, like me, you grew up in the US Central Time Zone – showing up to wait in line for an hour at Great Clips on a Saturday morning, then being punched in the head with clippers by a girl named Stacey whose conversational skills were limited to a passing knowledge of Tom Cruise films and which local bars have a cheap happy hour – you may not even be able to comprehend what a good barber is.
A good barber is able to hear your obscure requests (“You know, kinda like Ryan Reynolds but also sort of rock ‘n’ rolly”), mesh them with reality (You look nothing like Ryan Reynolds), and deliver something that works. A great barber, though, understands everything that has nothing to do with hair.
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Jamie once observed that for quite a lot of men, conversation is rare. They may have a group of friends or coworkers with which they exchange jokes and pleasantries, but the number of times they sit down and have an actual conversation for 30 minutes or more are few and far between. In the barber’s chair, though, there’s an opportunity. And in the modern world, it may be the only opportunity a guy gets. A great barber understands this – encourages it, facilitates it.
So, I was pretty downhearted when Jamie announced he was leaving Cardiff for the bright lights of Dundee, Scotland. Apparently there was a place up there – Hard Grind – that was on the… ah… cutting edge of barbering. He recommended another barber, Nick, who was pretty damn good, and who also left for Hard Grind about a year later. I’ve been committed to baseball caps ever since.
It turns out the man behind Hard Grind, Colin Petrie, is big into motorcycles – Harley-Davidsons in particular. Last year, he and a crew of hearty motorcyclists spent five days riding around the United Kingdom, braving relentless rain, offering pop-up barbering seminars, hosting reportedly excessive parties (the aforementioned Nick attended one; he’s still in his 20s but told me he couldn’t keep up), and raising quite a lot of money for charity.
The event was called BarbersRide and it raised so much money that they’re doing it again. And this year they’ve brought in some big sponsors, including Rockstar Energy Drink, Reuzel (if you’ve been in a half-decent barbershop in Europe you’ve probably seen their pomade for sale), Captain Fawcett Ltd., and Harley-Davidson.
BarbersRide 2018 will follow much the same format as last year, though this time ’round the seminars and afterparties will be held at various Harley-Davidson dealerships around the UK. This year’s charities are Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, and Guerilla Barbering – an international collective of barbers dedicated to aiding the homeless and less fortunate.
Meanwhile, back when Jamie was cutting my hair, he and I would often talk about his interest in taking up riding. He had seemed pretty keen on the Harley-Davidson Iron 883, so I once rode out to my local H-D dealership and picked up one of those thick, fancy catalogs for him. And every once in a while I’d also bring in brochures for local riding schools. I felt I had him just about converted when he left to work for Colin.
Colin is the proud owner of a customized Iron 883, which he rode for the whole of last year’s BarbersRide. I’d not find it at all surprising to learn that Jamie is now a motorcyclist, and if so, he’ll probably be among the crew riding in this year’s event.
So, you see where this is going, right? Just this week Harley-Davidson gave me a bike and told me I had to ride it, now here’s an event – partially sponsored by Harley-Davidson – where I may get a chance to reunite with my long lost favorite barber. It’s like a Nicholas Sparks novel, but with heterosexual blokes. And scissors. And motorcycles.
BarbersRide 2018 takes place 5-9 August and will stop at Harley-Davidson dealerships in Preston, Chesterfield, Newmarket, Brighton, Bridgewater, and Chester – thereby making a big loop of England.
“The Harley-Davidson dealerships taking part in the after-events are really excited to be involved,” said Harley-Davidson UK and Ireland Marketing Manager Steve Colling. “We wish all BarbersRide 2018 participants the best weather and a safe ride.”
Supporters of BarbersRide are invited to join the whole ride for a cost of £150 per rider, which includes a sponsor-supplied £75 goody bag and full access to all evening events. If you attend the events on their own, they’re £30 a pop, so I’m guessing the £150 ticket doesn’t include accommodation. I’ll need to work out those details.
Do you think Harley’s dealerships would let me camp in their parking lots overnight?
To find out more about BarbersRide, visit www.BarbersRide.com