A few weeks ago the boys of Brixton went on a bike trip from London to Wales. Here’s a taste of what they got up to…
I woke up to an array of texts from the masterminds behind the Assembly Show. I was last out the venue Sunday night and probably the earliest to bed after the weekends madness. Something had happened during the night. The threat of incoming rain had scared everyone to abandon the original plans to ride to Brighton. A new plan to ride to Epping Forrest with all the invited was already hatched. Our support vehicle was filled with all the camera gear was quickly redirected to Bristol. It made sense at 7am but would come back to bite us in the butt!
At 10am we all gathered inside the house of vans. All the recently emptied tanks that lined the arches were scarcely refuelled as we prepared to begin our journey. On paper it was a 30 mile ride to Essex at 11am to a 150 year old pub. 4hours and 15 minutes later we arrived.
Fish and chips, steak and kidney pies, toad in the hole, all that English goodness was all there and all enjoyed as everyone giggled at the idea of our ride to Bristol. We knew we should leave but it was so hard to say goodbye especially in such surroundings. By about 5PM it was decided it was time to go. We told ourselves 140 miles ain’t no thing realistically. Couple 1940s knuckleheads, some mid 90s sportsters following our ex resident Bristolian Jon on his Honda, no problems. 7 hours later we were almost there. Fuel stops every 50 miles, London rush hour, snapped sissy bars, sheared throw out bearings, yadda yadda. We arrived at our salvation at about 00:30. We were welcomed into the beautiful home of Ross and Emily. Their offer to have us pop by at 7 to say hey extended to just gone midnight. I was bloody and my bike broken so their invitation to stay there was greatly received. I cracked the bottle of whiskey I bought for such an occasion and we all toasted to our safe arrival.
The following morning I woke up to the sight of Barragan out the window with the guts of his 1947 knucklehead meticulously layed out on the driveway. His late night Instagram post in search of a very specific part was answered and delivered by 8:30am. He still needed something else so a quick trip to wales and back was needed. The rest of us gathered ourselves and we headed out to find someone to weld my broken parts. Luckily we found a old chap just right around the corner who fixes up Morris minors. 20 minutes & £20 later I was sorted and set to go. By the time Chase and Magda made it over, Barragan’s bike was back together and with a few kicks it was running again. Jon the former Bristol resident and birthday bout took lead as we made our way to Wales. A quick stop just before the water to fuel became a 40 minute stop after Jon classically put half a tank a diesel in his bike. He managed to locate a pipe and proceeded to suck out all the offensive liquid and at that moment Jonny Diesel aka Jonny D aka Diesel was born. That was his name for the next 48 hours.
We roared into Wales like a gang of mismatched jackals. The scenery instantly changed as did the mood. The roads became narrower, greener and twisted. Our destination was a pub located in the Wye valley. A suggestion from a friend and that’s all we needed. We ate up winding miles without a hitch only stopping to take in a burnout cathedral as a helicopter flew over. Reality bit us hard as a emergency stop from the modern sharp Honda almost caused a pile up as the Harley’s struggled to slow down. Regardless, we made our destination. The pub sat facing a beautiful mellow river deep in the valley. Locals and tourists gazed on as the group stripped down with their shandys and took it in turns to dive in off a local vessel. All the tiredness and stress from the last week was gone as we floated down stream whilst making plans for a revisit next year.
The sun dried us and another shandy went down whilst we figured out the route to Newport. The legend that is Ray of Zooprano fame had invited us to his home complete with mini ramp, swimming pool and the promise of a BBQ. Our hogs blasted through the valleys as directly as could be as the sun faded fast. We arrived to welcoming hugs, happy faces and fridges full of beers. Time was against us but maximum fun was had. Beer, ramp, swimming pool, beer, BBQ, ramp, fire, beer, whiskey, stories, bigger fire, 8 men in a tent, farts, jokes, sleep!
The morning came too fast and with it came the rain. Ray took care of everyone with teas and coffees and a large selection of biscuits to the delights of our American friends. Rain-suit’s were done on top of layers. Mother nature was not looking favourably on us as we cruised through the backroads to a bridge to bring us back to England. Chase experienced his first roadside cafe bacon roll the size of his head as we warmed up with teas. It was decided we would take a scenic route back so we could admire the beautiful West country. Within the first 10 miles we had lost our support vehicle and the lovely Magda who cleverly was inside it keeping warm and dry. The A4 looked after us as we slowly made our way back into London. Nothing could stop us except for when were about 77 miles out in the historical town of Marlborough. As pesky broken float in Barragan’s carb called for a pit stop and a rebuild. After that it was decided it was time for the M4 and full speed assault into the city.
The last 90 mins were full speed, weaving in and out, slowing for no-one as we made haste to the Great Frog workshop in Clapton. Our arrival was toasted by Reino (owner of Great Frog) and all the crew. We chatted quickly about next year, doing it bigger and better and a ride out for all the builders. I took one last look at all the American bikes that were over for the show and off to the docks tomorrow. I said my goodbyes as the others made plans for dinner and a Brixton party. I was truely knackered and bed seemed like the best idea in the world.
Words by Scott “Horsey” Walker
Photos by Alex Irvine & Magdalena Wosinska