Wednesday, March 31

Issue 14 on sale now

Come and geddit.

Click on the cover, right, to order a copy or renew your sub.

Your favourite retailer will have theirs soon; if there's a shop near you that you think should carry the magazine, why not let us know?

Nutty Rebel

25 years ago, hand tattoos were a big taboo on a kid. And that's why Jock had them.

I spent a lot of time with Jock on the rockabilly scene in London over a couple of years in the 80s, and consequently had more run-ins with the law than at any other time in my life. He came down to the big smoke from the Highlands of Scotland when he was 16 and his first stop off the train was George Bone the tattooist. Second stop was Rock On records in Camden Town.

In those days, flash was limited to badly drawn lion's heads or 'Saint' stick men. Jock had another tattoo on his forearm that was a tribute to the rockabilly singer Andy Starr's lyrics "Rockin' rock, rollin' stone", but George misunderstood Jock's thick accent and tattooed "rollin storm".

Jock lived in a council flat in Borough, south London, which was venue to regular house parties where all his meagre possessions would be stolen and his furniture reduced to kindling. It didn't seem to faze him.

We were walking up Camden high road after an afternoon's heavy drinking at Dingwall's one Saturday, and as he lurched into the road he was hit head on by a van coming over the little hump-backed bridge by the lock. He lay in the road for about a minute, motionless, then wobbled to his feet and refused any treatment for the massive gash on his head. We got on the tube, bandaged him up that night and went out to Silks in Shepherds Bush.

He was a gentle soul who read a lot. I hope he survived.

Tuesday, March 30

Scott Craig – from the GK archives

A decade ago, when the GK website was starting to celebrate a world of traditionally-styled customs, you just didn't see this kind of bike in chopper magazines. Back then, we hadn't gorged ourselves on pinstriping and metalflake, and it all seemed old-new fresh and beautifully simple.

Can't remember what year Scott sent us these photos – maybe 2002? – but the bikes blew me away then, and the 'Trumpster' is still referenced by chopper lovers today. This what Scott said at the time:

"Hello Guy. You have my Triumph metalflaked chopper featured in your bike section.
Here are two more we just finished here at Chopperville Custom Styled Cycles located in southern California. The gold bike was built for Steve Wertheimer, owner of the world famous
Continental Club in Austin Texas.

It's a 1969 sportster frame, highly modified to accept a 1962 pre-unit Triumph engine and trans; we've been calling it the Trumpster. The other is owned by a guy named Vic Buchanan and it's a 57 panhead engine and frame.
Hope you enjoy – oh and by the way, I've never met you but am a huge fan of your website. Bill Mize in Iowa turned me onto it a couple of years ago. Thanks, Scott Craig."

Monday, March 29

Issue 14 out this week

Another cover for GKM's go-to photographer Mark Kawakami. And who's that guy on the Panhead? Looks familiar... did I see him in Tesco's over the weekend? Hmm.

This issue is PACKED with bike features from the USA, Japan, the UK, Australia, France and Italy... as well as a glorious Model A and extensive photo coverage from the Yokohama custom show by Freaky Rico.

It will be shipping to your favourite retailers and subscribers this week, and will be available to buy through us soon.

Sunday, March 28

Bikes are in the family

My brother Adam contributes to GKM and has been a bike journo for years. Here's the latest addition to our extended family, his daughter Greta, getting the feel for my bro's Guzzi S3.

She will soon be holding tools and helping with rebuilds: she has no choice.

Friday, March 26

Thai prawns and noodles, Chicken Tikka, two pints of John Smith's

You mean Pete drove you all the way down to Bromsgrove to drop your Panhead off at Boneshaker Choppers, you chewed the fat with Benny, Bobby and Zippy for two hours, checked out all the cool builds there, and all you came back with is one photo of your lunch?

Well, yeah. It was a 2-for-1. And the food was delicious!

(Turns out Bobby took a few shots of our visit. Check 'em out on his Blog Shovelheads... Mmmmm!)

Wednesday, March 24

At my desk, 8am

Cup of milky Earl Grey. Fiddle. Faddle. Check emails. Print out labels for orders. Format some photos. Look at unpaid bills. Look up the printer's opening hours. Go for a shit. Phone in the parcel collection. Flick through some magazines. Open the 'Issue 14' layouts. Look at the unpaid bills again. Look at the mess. Think about Jeff Wright. Let's try that random photo thing he does on COC. Another five minutes wasted. He thought I was a dick, I could tell.

Tuesday, March 23

Cyprus's only shovel

It's hard enough staying true to your love for old custom Harleys when you're not surrounded by friends into the same thing, but spare a thought for Costas in Cyprus, who keeps the faith by riding not just the only custom shovel on the island... but the only shovel!

I dig it... it reminds me of that hardcore NY style bike we used to see so often in Iron Horse's glory days, with nice Grecian-styled paint! Costas has been a good friend of the magazine since we started, and he does some beautifully intricate casting work. Check out Rockin' Swallow.

Vibes goodness for April

Monday, March 22

Bobby, Benny, Ali and the Ironhead

Here's another neat and nifty lil' chop out of Benny Thomas's workshop, and you can look forward to a better view of Ali's Ironhead soon in GKM.

Here it's being presented like a thoroughbred racehorse by Bob, who is wearing possibly one of the coolest t-shirts I've ever seen.

Check out Benny's Blog for more shop projects... and if you want the 'Bobby look', you can buy GKM t-shirts here.

Sunday, March 21

I'm counting down the months...

until the Mooneyes show in Yokohama in December. We've got four pages of Freaky Rico's coverage of the most recent show in the new issue, out soon...

Saturday, March 20

Good times, bad times...

... you know I've had my share.

It's been a busy week for my postman.

After months of anticipation and a brutal anal rape by HM Customs & Excise, I finally received my tanks from Irish Rich yesterday.

He's done a beautiful job, and they are truly objects of desire. Only problem is that they're going to need a lot more work before they'll actually fit, and I've already got more money into them than I can bear thinking about. The petcock bung fouls the top motor mount, and the right hand tank just sits on top of the front rocker cover and will need some serious alteration to get it to work, and some notching at the back to clear the rear cylinder. The problems of having parts modified remotely, and with no actual bike to work from, I suppose.

Yesterday I was in a black mood, and was ready to relieve the tanks myself with a ball peen hammer, but luckily walked away from the shed and took a breather.

Today I feel more philosophical, and am too far down the track to go with another option, so they will have to be made to work. There are other rays of sunshine; I think my old Dunlop WM3 can be pressed into service in place of the ill-fated V-Twin rim (I tried lacing the V-Twin rim again yesterday and it just don't work); and to cheer me up Craig from Front St Cycle sent me some goodies (my boy stole the badge) and Jeff Baer (of Knucklebuster Blog fame) sent me a very cool shirt, based on one of my favourite vintage bike shots (see post below). Thanks fellas!