100% Biker 200

100% Biker 200
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Happy birthday to us/Happy birthday to us/Happy birthday dee-aaaa-arr us/Happy birthday to us.

As ‘Happy Birthday’ was formally declared last month as being in the public domain, we’re quite safe to sing that. The Out of Tune Police might knock on our door, but the Copyright Cops can never touch us. (Warner Brothers owns the company which first registered a copyright on the ditty back in 1935 and has, since 1988, been claiming that unauthorised public performances are technically illegal if it isn’t paid royalties). And a 200th birthday is something about which to sing. Over the last sixteen years, 100% Biker has progressed from its start as a magazine which embraced the post-punk principles of a fanzine to a publication that has grown (and grown up) to embody and celebrate the very best in both custom motorcycle building and the entire lifestyle of so many of you who read it.

Speaking as someone who was an interested spectator when the first issue of 100% Biker appeared, I think I can say that, had anyone predicted that not only would the magazine still be alive and very much kicking a decade and a half later, then many people – included those involved – would have been doubtful, if not downright cynical. That’s not to cast any aspersions on the original protagonists, but an acknowledgement of the fact that the last ten years in particular have been the toughest time in print since Johannes Gutenberg cranked up his press in the 15th century.

The unstoppable progress of the internet has brought many good things, but not many of them to the printed retail word. Add to that an economic climate in which luxuries, such as monthly periodicals, are the first to disappear (and we thank every one of you who has continued to buy 100% when that few quid could have been spent elsewhere), along with the growth in alternative advertising, and things have been tough. Countless magazines, some veritable and long established publications, have ceased to be, so to survive in this word for sixteen years is nothing short of remarkable, and we never forget that it’s you young people who are responsible for that continued life.

Incidentally, when I sat down to write these words, it wasn’t the ubiquitous Happy Birthday that was running through my head, but a song from an album that was one of my Mum’s favourites when I was very little. ‘Never Thought I’d Live To Be A Hundred’ is just a minute and a half of the Moody Blues’ ‘To Our Children’s Children’s Children’. You’ll have to look it up on Youtube because I suspect that it is still in copyright… 100% Biker has lived to be two hundred and in better health than ever. There’s a reprise of that tune towards the end of the record called ‘Never Thought I’d Live To Be A Million’. Okay, that might be ambitious, but, hey, you never know!

PS. And yes, it’s a birthday, so of course there was cake. We ate it all.