Tuesday, 29 November 2011

On the Run

I keep meeting former scooterboys in Sideburn world. Dyed in the wool 'bikers' sneer at the scooterist, screw them. Some of the most hardcore riders I've ever met went everywhere on 10in wheels. My time doing the scooter runs in the late-80s and early 90s were some of the most memorable trips I ever did, because they were the first ones.
Friday off work, meet Col at Ferrybridge at 6am and ride, at 58mph, up to 350 miles away. Put up the tent, go to the 'do', back in the tent, fettle the scooter on Saturday (in a sometimes vain attempt to ensure it would get me home), mooch around the site, pub, tent, home on Sunday morning. Some of my mates from then are still doing it now, 25 years later. As many as 5000 would turn up some weekends. Inter-club fights, the Calverton Hornets taking on the nazi skins, would add spice.
I was talking to my mate Dave the other night, another former scooter rider, and it reminded me of a weird period when some of the hardest young nutcases in Britain would turn up on rallies on scooters. It was a time when a lanky lunk in a grass skirt and flat top, riding a 125cc hairdryer on L plates was a genuinely scary geezer (to the outside world, anyway).
Some scooter clubs seemed to be made up almost solely of football hooligans (the Cardiff Cougars). It seems barely believable now, because the scooter is used in coffee adverts and all sorts of other 'media' and it's seen as either a design classic, commuter tool (something it always was) or urban prop.
Good times. Nothing like that will ever happen again. Below, a song for all the 1980s scooter boys. G


16 comments:

Nick said...

Gary, going back a few years when I was working in Battersea, driving home one evening I was overtaken by two one piece leather clad scooter riders before the Wandsworth roundabout they went round it on there ears (v sticky tyres methinks) and disappeared into the distance. Then going to the Moto Piston rally in Spain, a couple of years ago the ferry was half full of scooters off on a tour round Portugal and Spain, loaded up to the gunnels with spares, cylinders, pistons, heads, shocks, someone had a crankcase but didn't see that , they reckoned the had enough to build one engine and some, Much Respect
PS, Great video track

Guy@GK said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Guy@GK said...

I remember being inside the Pink Elephant in Southgate in the early '80s when it was attacked by the Nomads scooter club. The rockabilly scene had (has) its fair share of nutters, but all of us were holding the doors against the scooter boys (siege) and I don't remember anyone being much in the mood for a row with 'em.

dave skooter farm said...

One of my earliest vivid memories at infants school in 1970 was the playground hysteria of "The Green Jackets".

Rumour was The Green Jackets would pull up on their multi-mirrored scooters and slit childrens throats, right there on the pavement.
I remember thinking, even as an impressionable six year old...this was slightly far-fetched!

rustyli150 said...

Oooooooooh wallah wallah wallah!!!!!

Dr-Ogo said...

I ran scooters for ages, the look of horror in Rench's eyes was very funny...To truly embarrass me, ask what was my most loved little fella?

Sideburn Magazine said...

Drogo, are you talking about your penis? Again.
Anyway, I should've said, that Scarborough patch is from the first rally I ever went to. I was 16, on a PK50 with an 80 kit. My Levi denim jacket sleeves blew up my arms (from the incredible windblast a PK50 can cause) and my wrists got sunburnt from the ride home along the A64. Ah, the memories. No one I knew had motorbikes, except the guy at the youth club when I was 13 or something, and he looked like someone out of Status Quo, so he was hardly a role model.
G

OUTTACONTROLLA said...

My younger brother was a Psychobilly and ran Scooters , much to my distain ! However before long i was helping him build Lamby chops , cafe racers and cut-downs , i even was the only Rocker (in leather on Brit bike) on the Isle of Wight scooter rally one year (mid 80's)! Quite liked Northern soul too (don't tell anybody !)
Saw Kurt , meteors , Guana Batz , Frenzy etc with them all piled in my 59 Ford Consul too !
Steve
#59

Dr-Ogo said...

Good God Gary, a little respect please. The big boy truth of the power between my legs is all in the link...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/velton/4705840040/

Drogo

Sideburn Magazine said...

Drogo, I'm afraid it would've been less embarrassing if you were talking about your winkie. G

Dr-Ogo said...

I warned you, I think I had a kinda 'Buck Rogers' thing going on back then.....
D

Sideburn Magazine said...

Low Buck & No Fuck me thinks.
BP

Dr-Ogo said...

No shit BP, if I'm riding the 'Spacy' it follows I was 'Hands Solo', mixing my Sci fi psycho sexual metaphors and whatnot...
D

Stephen Evans said...

Nice write up . I still dj on scooter rallies and drink with the former members of calverton hornets.

ems said...

I'm a former member of the Calverton hornets miss the good old days

ems said...

I'm a former member of the Calverton hornets miss the good old days