Saturday, 24 April 2010

2 Guys Ride through London on Custom Bikes

Friend and fellow blogger Ian Solley, of 7 Ages Custom Motorcycles and I went for a ride on our custom motorbikes on Thursday. Ian is a custom bike builder extraordinaire, as he mainly builds bikes for fun and he currently has 6 of them!

We decided to meet at 10.30am in Greenwich. Founded by King Charles II and built in 1675, the Royal Observatory at Greenwich is the home of Greenwich Mean Time and the Prime Meridian of the World, making it the official starting point for each new day, year and millennium. As time is started there, it seemed like an ideal location for Ian and myself to start our motorcycle ride.

I live just north of London but Greenwich is way over in East London. I had allowed plenty of time to get there, but I was late. London traffic is unpredictable, but predictably it all seemed to be in the same place as me. Combined with the fact that I wasn’t exactly sure where the entrance to the Observatory was and I misjudged its location badly, meant I arrived late. However, as I rode along the Observatory's tree lined avenue, there was Ian - smiling and waiting for me.

Ian had bought one of his latest bikes, called Hamlet. It is a striking light blue bike rigid-framed bike with a Harley-Davidson engine, originally from a Street Bob. It has an S&S carb and the frame and all the sheet metal are to a one-off design. The exhaust pipes are wrapped and having ridden next to it, I can personally vouch for their volume!

The picture above shows the bikes in front of a statue of General Wolfe who commanded the British forces at Quebec against the French and won a great victory, at the cost of his life. The statue was erected in 1930 and bears the inscription “This monument, a gift of the Canadian people, was unveiled by the Marquis de Montcalm”. History lesson over.

Here are some more pictures of the Royal Observatory....

The bikes on the tree-lined avenue

Part of the observatory

General Wolfe looking out over London

The bikes draw some interest

The view over London with the National Maritime Museum at the bottom of the hill and Canary Wharf in the background

The weather was unseasonably warm – it fact it was a corker of a day – slightly chilly at first but then warm with bright blue skies all day. We had a fantastic ride – no rush, no time to get anywhere, just two guys out riding their bikes. We stopped at Warrs, the Harley-Davidson dealer in Chelsea before eating at a Spanish restaurant just around the corner.

Here is a video we took of the ride .....

As you can see, we tried the camera in many different positions and this was using a new recently acquired mounting clamp. I will write more on this blog soon comparing the different types of mounting clamp available.

Ian in the restuarant

Thanks Ian for a brilliant day out, and for lunch!

You might see some more of Ian and one of his bikes on this blog in the near future – we are both going to the 2010 Harley-Davidson Euro Festival in St Tropez, southern France and no doubt I will be doing a posting or two about that trip.


mq01 said...

what a great ride, that was beautiful weather!! thanks for taking us along through the city, i enjoyed it :)

Canajun said...

Great pics and video - and a great day to boot. Thanks for sharing.

btw, my Go Pro camera should be here in a week or so!

682202 said...

Great video, the different POV's are really make a difference.


Gary France said...

Hey mq01 – I am glad that you came along for the digital ride!

Canajun – Glad you liked it. I want to see lots of clips from your new GoPro!

GAW – I think they help a lot. I had to get a new mounting system to enable those and I will be writing about the different systems in the next few days.

bobskoot said...


I also liked your differing POV's. If I remove my side cases I can use those Givi Racks but I wanted a solution with them on. I am going to have to make custom brackets, or "L" brackets with hose clamps. You are very creative.

I purchased some antique ball mounts at the camera swap meet which I am going to use, somehow.

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Gary France said...

Brother Bob - Good luck with your search for alternative mounting brackets. I am looking forward to seeing the antique ball mounts. I like the different POV's and they do take some time to edit into the video, but the results are worth the time.

bobskoot said...


Ian and you are REBELS. Imagine putting your bikes crosswise on a busy street just to take a photo.

Wet Coast Scootin

Geoff James said...

Fabulous photos Gary and blue skies as a bonus! Your Harley is absolutely stunning.

Gary France said...

Bob - That is about the most rebellious thing the two of us are likely to ever do! Rebel Without A Cause we are not....

Geoff – Thanks. That was one of our UK allocated 20 days a year to get blue skies, although with global warming, it might go up to 21, or even 22 per year soon!

Chris Luhman said...

As mentioned on youtube, nice job with different POV. It's a pain to do all that editing, but the results are worth it. I liked the photo of the two bikes next to each other. I didn't get that from the video. Maybye use a photo like that as the "title" next time :)

Gary France said...

Chris - That is a really good idea about using a still photo as the "title" background. I will try to remember to do something like that in future. The editing is a pain, but like almost anything, it gets quicker with practice.

iansolley said...

I tell you how much of a rebel I was on this ride - I just got a £60 fine fro riding in a bus lane on the way to meet up that day!

Anonymous said...'ve got to come to Meeker, Colorado when you get to the US. It's 60 miles east of Rangely and 40 miles north of Rifle. I didn't see our name on that long list of towns in Colorado! :)
If you make it, come by the Meeker Chamber of Commerce so we can make your picture! Thanks!

Gary France said...

Anonymous - I will see if I can make it to Meeker!