Yes – second week in March at Ingliston Highland Showground on the outskirts of Edinburgh — Scotland has it’s major bike show of the year.
Just like the Agricultural Highland Show itself which travelled the country setting up on a different site every year – the bike show moved around the central belt before becoming an annual event at Ingliston.
I can remember attending the final travelling Highland Show with my father in the early to mid-fifties which was held at Kelso and no doubt qualifies me as an ‘Old Fart’.
It was around that time I rode a motorbike for the first time. A pre-war 200cc Ariel Colt with three speed gear change mounted on the right hand side of the tank – lever controls for the throttle and ignition and inverted handlebar mounted levers for the front brake and clutch.
I well remember the buzz I got from riding my grandfather’s Ariel on a farm track in the Scottish Borders and even now – sixty years later – I still get that self-same buzz when I ride a bike today.
Just looking at them doesn’t do a lot for me and I’m not an avid show goer but I have to admit this year’s event touched places previous shows had missed completely.
We had clocked this guy gunning his Indian out of a service station on the M8 which put us in the mood —
Then – having run the guantlet of the Carole Nash girls by the entrance we found a whole tribe of Indians just inside the front door.
This chap with the mullet and plaid jaickit showed us how it was done when he swung his leg over the Big White Chief —
H likes these big cruisers because – despite their massive cubes – even the ‘vertically challenged’ can get their feet down on the deck at a standstill —
But I know just how heavy these big muttha’s are to push about – so – I steered her round the corner to suss out the latest lightweight Scrambler from Ducati powered by a brand new 400cc version of their air-cooled twin —
Not sure if that expression means she likes it or not. The bike certainly fits her well enough — and — there is even a bigger 800cc version pour moi —
if she can pull me off this nifty if expensive 530cc T-Max scooter to go see it. The wee lad is looking for his mum to come help her drag me off. He reckons it’s his turn on the T-max anyhow —
Must admit I felt at home on this well kitted out Triumph Tiger 800 Adventure as it tugged at my heartstrings —
But – I’ve been there and done that with my Tenere so I went off to look at what was on show in t’other halls.
Shinier than a shiny thing – even my Samsung camera struggles with it’s reflection in the bright light —
A biking conundrum amongst some of the brightest stars in the biking universe which I remember all too well from my time as an off-road trials rider.
Spend the whole week cleaning – fettling and polishing —
then ruin the effect by going out to dig dirt and bogs with your pride n joy on the Sunday —
The classics were a safer bet. They brought back black and gold memories of my grandfather’s Ariel – my brother’s Douglas Dragonfly and my first road bike – the beautiful Velocette 350 Mac – on which I passed my Test to get a full bike licence on the quiet streets of Dunblane in 1959 —
Hard to believe but I rode these old girder forked bikes back in the day —
solid rearends too —
but I’ve got to admit – I have never ridden anything like this –
Nor this style where many of the bikes have ‘ride by wire’ throttles and carry a multitude of switchgear to save the rider from grief when he loses traction. Most biker’s including myself seldom remember to switch the indicators off so god only knows how we are going to programme all the multi-function switches while on the move to adjust power modes for changing conditions. ABS braking and cornering degree sensors – plus a myriad of other widgets that were designed for today’s Moto-GP riders to help shave a milli-second off their lap times —
Truth be told — most road-riders would be better following H’s lead and lusting after a bobber – or a Gunner as in this case —
They can be affordable —
generally don’t have messy chains like ‘proper’ bikes do – and – ride so close to the ground it looks as if it would be nigh on impossible to fall off them ——
Well that was Saturday sorted and apart from H’s decision to buy a membership at the friendly ‘Curvy Lady’s Rider’s Club’ where we were loaded with tea and home made cakes – we escaped from the show with our walletspractically unscathed.
Made it so much easier to justify taking a nice B&B for a night in the Trossachs. Next day while I re-traced old biker habits by lighting a fire on a roadside beach by Loch Earn before bemoaning the fact I hadn’t packed the neccessary tinny and teabags to boil up a smokey brew —
the ‘H’ for ‘Hyperactive’ amongst us —
went off to climb a tree 🙂