Finally, after many days of rainy weather the forecast cleared. The event was advertised as “Rain or Shine” so I had made plans to drive the cage and bring a rain suit if need be. I was just overwhelmed with gratitude to the Cosmic Universe that the weather finally moved on to bother other peoples and I could ride the bike instead! Everything was aligning for a great day. I did have to delay my departure a few moments – about 45 minutes – to allow the last few sprinkles to pass but then I was off on two wheels!
It was about a two or two and a half hour ride straight over on the super slabs and highways but I cared not for I would soon be immersed in the rich and vibrant history of these classic British and European motorcycles and the swap meet, I tuned in my satellite channel on the phone, set the cruise when I could and as is the saying…”Let The Good Times Roll!”
When I arrived I was pointed to the parking area and there were only a few bikes there but that was soon to change. Within minutes, as I removed my helmet and jacket and stowed them, retrieved my camera and so on the bikes began to arrive.
This certainly held much promise for a fun day!
Just as I was about to walk to the swap meet area I overheard a couple guys talking and one said I really liked the show “Two Fat Ladies”. That stopped me in my tracks. For those of you not in the know, this is a relatively obscure PBS cooking show from England. Yes, it is literally about two old, fat ladies. They travel about the countryside cooking regional dishes and critiquing them and pretty much anything else that catches their eye or ire! What really makes it special though and initially caught my eye is that they travel in a sidecar rig! Now I’m not just rambling, there is a point to this. The two guys I overheard talking were discussing a sidecar rig based on a modern Triumph, but using a sidecar from the same company that made the Two Fat Ladie’s rig! You see, I had parked right next to it. The owner and I soon struck up a conversation and this was indeed an imported unit attached here by an authorized outlet of sidecar installers. I was more than duly impressed especially with the paint job on this daily driver. You can see me taking the picture in the reflection on the paint! In fact, in the original picture I downloaded, the individual blades of grass are distinguishable. This is more a comment on the quality of paint application and selection of materials than the camera. I was using an off the shelf Kodak digital something or other set on auto everything.
So, I began to really get excited with all these good omens being laid in my path.
As I traversed the grounds on my way to the swap meet area I spied a pavilion with some bikes in it so I thought I’d better take a look thinking they might be show bikes. They were just some bikes, VIP parking maybe, I didn’t know. Just some nice daily drivers, a bike with a Flux Capacitor and stuff like that. It turned out to be a pretty cool Steam Punk style bike so I snapped a few pictures and a video of the Flux Capacitor. Click the link.
On to the swap meet! We had to walk through some gaps provided in the tree lines to get to the next area and when you arrived, the British and European Classic Motorcycle Day revealed itself in full glory! As I said it was early yet, just look at the video and you can see this was promising to be a great day indeed! https://youtu.be/GpAYmaYAQEI
I spoke to Blair Chapman, one of the principals of the event and he said:
“The quality of the motorcycles that turn up at B&E CMD always amazes. There are a lot of seldom-seem bikes, both restored and original, and the workmanship that goes into the custom builds is outstanding. You never know what is going to turn up — from brass-era machines to the latest trends in tricked-out one-off bikes that must have taken hundreds of hours to build. We hope to see a steady interest in these old machines and keep classic British & European machines ridden and seen.”
I kept that in mind as I browsed the tables and I must admit, I was impressed. There is no doubt these vendors contribute greatly to the overall restoration and correctness of these bikes. Many many items were available which, if a bike had to do without simply could not be considered complete. Please enjoy the pictures and if you do spot something you require, perhaps an email to the organizers may put you in touch with a supplier.
There were food and drinks available, plenty of seating in sun or shade (pavilion), music and general good camaraderie. One particular highlight was the Norton Tech Talk given by Chris Greenbacker of the Nation’s Capital Norton Owners, an expert Norton mechanic with over 35 years of experience repairing and restoring classic motorcycles. The word is that Chris is the GOTO GUY on Nortons. Just these tips and tricks alone were worth the cost of admission!
Blair also says:
“Our all-volunteer Board of Directors have held this event for 17 years, the last 7 years at High Point Farm in Clarksburg, MD. We try to have a relaxed atmosphere that welcomes like-minded motorcycle enthusiasts. We have a judged concours for 1983 and older machines, a swap meet area geared toward classic Brit & Euro bikes, parts, accessories and services, and Tech Talks from knowledgable mechanics. This year’s Tech Talk on Norton engine building tips was given by Chris Greenbacker of the Nation’s Capital Norton Owners, an expert Norton mechanic with over 35 years of experience repairing and restoring classic motorcycles.”
The board of directors says:
“Our purpose for holding Classic Motorcycle Day is to present a venue to display classic British and European motorcycles for the enjoyment of the public and other enthusiasts, and to meet and trade with others interested in our hobby. Our goal is to favorably impress the motorcycling community and advance our good image.”
In closing, I asked Blair to sum it all up for us. This is what he had to say:
“We give back to the community by donating to the Montgomery County Police Explorers (a local youth group that gives teens a chance to explore law enforcement as a career path). The Explorers also help us with logistics and security at the event. The swap meet area is populated by local motorcycle shops, bike clubs, small businesses, and riders like us who are looking to sell bikes & spares. Each year, we feature a different category or make of motorcycles. This year was Norton Commando (on its 50th anniversary). Last year was BMW, and next year Triumph will be the featured marque. We couldn’t put on our not-for-profit event year after year without the help of our volunteer workers (most from NCNO) – it’s a lot of work, but worth it.”
All in, I’d say he summed it up quite well. My summary is much simpler of course. Even if all you are looking to do is get away and do something on your motorcycle for a day, put this on your calendar for next year. Do it now. When the day comes, gas up, set the GPS for no highways or tolls, leave early, have a nice ride, walk around, meet people and see things and learn things about the history of motorcycles, have some food and take the long way home. That is what I’ll be doing. Again.
Here is the list of all the class winners…CONGRATULATIONS!
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