søndag den 22. juli 2007

Friday Nov. 3, Part I - A Decent Old Bike Rally

On my way to the rally, a gas station attendant misunderstands my question about cleaning the bike here. He proceeds to do most of the work himself, and a mere 500 yen later I have a shiny, grease- & grime-less bike to show when I get to the rally site. Which turns out to be about ten times larger than the previous rally.

Lots of the bikes here I know very well, of course, but there are also many new ones, ranging from small WW2-era bicycles with bolt-on engines, upwards past vintage mopeds, Fuji rabbit scooters with and without sidecars, three-cylinder Kawasaki strokers, their smoke mixing it with that from an 80’s Suzuki RG500 square four race replica. Along past an R35 BMW, an early Moto Guzzi Falcone with the external flywheel, a Japanese Yamaguchi (!?), a fairly new Chinese Jawa 250 two-stroke copy, a lot of British classics, and on to an Indian Chief and a bunch of Harleys and their Japanese counterparts, the Rikuos. Guess there’s 2-300 bikes present, in all shapes and conditions, and with all sorts of riders.

Predictably the Nimbus gets more than its fair share of attention, and the usual routine of starting it, posing behind it, and letting people pose on it, is repeated at regular intervals for the next five hours. Right as I park it upon arrival, a guy comes over, and tells that maybe another Nimbus will show up today. Alas, this does not happen, but eventually he introduces me to an old collector, who used to have three of them until a few years ago. Ok, this is getting interesting; “Does he know where they are now?” Well, only the one that was sold to a coffee shop on Kyushu, not far from the museum….! Anyway, we arrange to meet again Monday afternoon, with the first guy to come along as the translator, so I can see his photos of his Nimbuses. Maybe his memory will improve over the weekend.

I take a few hundred pictures, especially of a newly restored Meguro/Kawasaki, which represents the first year of the BSA copies, and of the three Rikuos, two 750 cc bikes and a pre-war 1200. The two smaller Rikous have original extra equipment signal wings, just like older cars had them, manually cable operated from the handlebars. Then it’s time for one last pose with the organizers of the meeting, ‘Old Motorcycle Love Club’, as one of them translates the text from his club sweatshirt. I try to get his organizers’ badge from him, in part because it says ‘stuff’ instead of ‘staff’, and end up with it, as well as with all sorts of gifts, badges and even his sweatshirt. Some Nimbus postcards go the other way, along with the business cards I finally have made. Wish I had more stuff to give.

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