Wednesday, 24 September 2014

The "Ton-Up Vicar"

In my blog post about the 'Rockers' group of motorcyclists in the U.K. there was a general public opinion that these bikers were nothing but hooligans. However, a church based youth organization called the '59 Club' and organized by a priest named Bill Shergold, was heavily involved with having a positive influence on the group. Bill Shergold was known as the "Biker Priest", and more interestingly, also known as the "Ton-Up Vicar".  In case you don't know, 'ton-up' is the U.K. term for riding over speeds of 100 mph, so having a priest who not only rode a motorcycle but also qualified for this designation gives you an idea of how this guy connected with these young people. Pretty soon, the 59 Club, so named because the youth group originally started in 1959, was the biggest bike club in the world, is still in existence today, and is purportedly still the biggest motorcycle club in the world, with chapters in Europe, Australia and Japan.

Bill Shergold...the "Ton-Up Vicar"

Rockers get together

Just like in America, bad bikers made for great movie themes

The "Biker Priest" is the gentleman, second from the right, smoking the pipe

There were 'blessing of the bike' ceremonies

Some good press after much bad

Monday, 22 September 2014

Toy Run

Wow, what a turn out for Calgary's 1st Annual "Magic of Christmas Toy Run". They asked for the motorcycle community to think of the kids at Christmas and they responded in a big way, with what I estimated to be over 500 bikes. Official count to come but there was a ton of bikes and a ton of toys, with something like 4 cube trucks full of donations before the kickstands went up and more to be donated at the end of the run. It was a beautiful day and a worthy cause, so Blue Circle was glad to be a sponsor and proud of the fact that so many local bikers came out to help the cause.
It was a bit different for set up on this run, but the way it's going to be for rides to come. New laws designed to break up large groups of bikes, with safety as the stated reasoning. Only groups of 20 bikes were allowed to go at a time, with a couple of minutes interval between them, so as to make gaps in traffic. It is said that too large of packs causes issues with other motorists and I can't disagree, as people get impatient while waiting for all the bikes to pass as they're trying to get onto or across roads on the route. They take risks and ultimately may cause an accident, so it was inevitable that there would be a plan to alleviate the risk. Really, as long as everyone gets there in one piece and has a great ride, then everyone's happy. Accidents and incidents, or even complaints by the public, just threaten to kibosh future rides, which is something no-one wants.
By all accounts this one was a great success, so here's to many more years of future rides.

Already lots of bikes assembling well before the run

Drew, one of the key organizers, did multiple duties, including directing bike traffic.

This cool cat got to ride before he went into the pile of toys

Did I mention there were lots of bikes?

And lots of toys, going for a ride too!

Can't have an organized run without the help of "Electra Glide In Blue"

Santa thanked the bike squad

Our friends from Ride Stop n Go were there too, of course

Santa's new ride! LOL

Registration was busy, busy, busy

Santa enjoys some cuddles from this cute gal

A custom low-rider Impala that graced the site

More duties for Drew, who talked about safety of the riders.

Friday, 19 September 2014


My last blog post was about Café Racers and their unique style and purpose. It is suggested that the name was originally derisive, as describing someone who rode from one "transport café" to another ( a British term for a trucker's coffee shop ). At one time in the U.K. motorcycling was something for the rich and was a sign of wealth and glamour. However, in the post World War ll years there was an increase in prosperity for some, with the upper and middle classes gravitated to cars and relegated the motorcycle to poorer, working class folks. With the late 50's and early 60's came some disenfranchised youth, with anti-establishment attitudes, who listened to rock n roll music and watched American films (think "The Wild One" ) and soon a subculture was born with the 'Rockers'. 
Black leather jackets, longer, slicked back hair, and souped up motorcycles was the fashion and the typical hangout was the "transport ca", which dotted the new highways and arterial roads that were ringing cities like London. Basically, a great place to meet up and then drag race, between the cas. One of the most famous of these was the Ace Café in Middlesex/North London along the North Circular Road.
The earlier Rockers were also known as 'ton-up boys', with 'ton-up' being a British term for driving over 100 mph (160 kmph). Most had British made bikes, who were in their heyday at that time...Triumph, BSA, Norton, and the blend of Triumph and Norton who made the well known and very popular "Triton".
Similar to my blog post about the biker image created by the Hollister "riots" and the movie "The Wild One", the Rocker phenomena in the U.K. had the same effect, creating this general paranoia of motorcyclists. Of course, it didn't help their cause much when the Rockers started clashing with The Mods, another subculture of youth who rode scooters and had their own style of dressing. There were several riots, real ones compared to the media hyped version mentioned in Hollister. 
Of course, with the black leather and motorcycle boots adorned with studs and pins, and the skulls and cross bone insignias, we have the U.K. equivalent of what the public regarded as hooligans. 

Black leather and iron, but check out the guys with the ties!

With the hair styles and clothes, this could also be the USA 

No helmet laws at this time

Read my next blog post about 'The 59 Club"


"Mod Crushers"

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Cafe Anyone?

I've read that the term "Cafe Racer" was originally a bit of a put down, mocking riders who wanted to look and act like racers but were really just riding to and from the coffee shop. Regardless, the style of the bike is distinct and who really cares what you do with your rides, as long as you're on a bike! Generally speaking, the cafe racer features a long fuel tank, a long seat and low slung handlebars. Quite a few bike manufacturers these days make versions in the Cafe racer style, like Motoguzzi and Triumph, but here are some photos of some older rebuilds and customs, including a couple of Harleys.

A redone BSA, more of a Bobber but with what looks like 'clip-on handlebars"

Here's a Harley Sportster done up Cafe Style

Of course, Ducati fits this style perfectly

An old Norton

A nicely done up Kawi

I like this Honda, especially with the single swing arm.

Another sharp looking Honda
Here's the Motto Guzzi

Honda's definitely fit the style

And, another cool looking Harley

Wednesday, 17 September 2014


I got my latest copy of Architectural News and was loving this cool concept home. Designed for an unusual piece of property, this certainly isn't your average suburban abode. Not sure just how they'd build it but with the technology we have today, I'm sure it could be done. It definitely would be a wild place to live, and what a view!!

Awesome view, if you don't mind heights

Not everyone would feel 'secure' in this cliffhanger home

What? No elevator?

Bigger than it looks