100% Biker 158

100% Biker 158
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So, did you go on the big MAG EU Hands Off Biking demo in June then? To protest about the proposed anti-tampering laws? On your custom bike? Well, judging by the photos I’ve seen so far, the answer to that question would be no…

Now of course I haven’t seen pics from every one of the 12 runs that took place on the afternoon of June 24, but from the ones I have seen, custom bikes were very few and far between… and that’s putting it politely. For example, on the East Anglian one that ran from the Brampton Hut services on the A1, along the A14  past Huntingdon, past Cambridge, past Newmarket, and almost down to Bury St. Edmunds, there were three or four trikes, a couple of matt blackers (one of which had a modified frame) and… umm, the Changeling. There were a couple o’ bikes that might loosely be called streetfighters, in that they once had a fairing and now don’t, and a couple o’ three Harleys with ’pipes, air-filters and different ’bars. That was it – not one rigid chopper, not one old skool bobber, not one cut-down custom, not one aftermarket frame streetfighter. The very bikes that would be affected by changes in the anti-tampering laws, if they were to go ahead, were all conspicuous by their absence in the country’s biggest protest about them. There were perhaps 400 or 500 bikes on the run, and about 97 percent of them were stockers.

Similarly, in the pictures I’ve seen from other demos around this (very) green (it’s all that rain, you know) and pleasant land, the vast majority of the bikes that attended were as God (other imaginary cloud dwellers are available) and Mr Kawasaki/ Honda/ Yamaha/ Suzuki/ Triumph/ Ducati/ Moto Guzzi, etc. intended, perhaps with an exhaust can and/ or a coloured screen. Custom bikes hardly made a showing at all.

Now I might be a bit thick, but surely these sort of bikes aren’t really going to be greatly affected by the range of draconian legislation that has been bandied about? Yes, of course it would have some effect on them, that’s obvious. But it wouldn’t really prevent their construction, would it, in the same way as it would the kind of bikes that we, as the folk who are into custom bikes of all kinds, build and ride? If they have to stick with a stock exhaust system rather than put a cheaper race can on, that’d be inconvenient on their wallets, yes, and may cause a few grumbles down the pub of a Friday evening, but it wouldn’t be the end of their bikes completely, as it may potentially be for ours.

And yet, as I said, very, very few of us, it appears, could be bothered to go out and protest about them. Funny old world, isn’t it?