100% Biker 197

100% Biker 197

It’s an oft-repeated phrase that the world has become a smaller place. But it’s not that it’s become smaller—something of a geographically impossibility—but it’s now more accessible with so many more of us prepared to undertake journeys that would have been rare thirty years ago.

At most European shows, whether it be a massive show like the German Custombike or Pecquencourt in France, or the more grassroots, down homeliness of the Flanders Chopper Bash in Belgium (as seen on page 22 of this very issue), I will bet you a sticky bun that you will run across fellow Brits, often in increasing numbers. People have realised that anywhere across the water is not necessarily a scary place with food they don’t recognise; it’s just somewhere else with people who all speak the same language; custom bikes. Obviously they don’t always understand each other, but it’s surprisingly what can be achieved with the waving of hands, drawing small pictures and a smile.

It has never been easier to travel, helping in huge part by the massive part that the internet plays in many of our lives. Now you can compare prices and book flights online, look up hotels and find out what reviewers have said about them and plan itineraries without recourse to a travel agent. Social media has also made it easy to build up contacts all over the world, people who often become not only sources of useful information but genuine friends when you mention you’re visiting their area.

But perhaps the one sign of how people are now prepared to make trips that were once the province of the hardy traveller or the celebrity backed up by a film crew and support truck, can be gleaned by our feature on the Diamond Mob’s magnificent resurrection of the pink Triumph, Odgie’s iconic drag racer (not that Odge isn’t pretty iconic himself!). I am filled with admiration for the time, effort, money and inspiration that has gone into this project. They are not alone: there are probably more British bikes built by amateur teams heading to Utah than ever before, each the result of countless hours, blood, sweat and tears. It is an opportunity that needs to be grasped; in the 1940s and ‘50s the salt crust on the flats was between 2 and 3 feet thick. This year, the salt is only 2 inches thick and fingers are desperately crossed that Speed Week won’t be cancelled again as it was last year.

Not too long ago, the idea of taking a motorcycle all the way to America to race would have been unthinkable for most, not simply on the grounds of cost but because it was, well, something else other people did. Now there’s dedicated teams out there showing that, if you want something enough, if you care about something enough, if you believe in something enough, then you can achieve it. For everyone on their way from the UK to Bonneville with their bikes, we salute you and wish you every success.