Wednesday, June 30

Autobooks-Aerobooks is moving

This is the famous store that Jay Leno visits on a weekly basis.... and they've been a supporter and stockist of GKM since day one.

I dropped in when I was in LA, and it was as mind-boggling as its reputation suggests, with books and magazines covering every conceivable motorised subject.

From July 1, they're moving... so if you buy the magazine there, note the new (old) address!

The French Tip

About 60 miles into the journey home, we stopped at some lights and I felt a rhythmic puffing onto my left leg; looking down, my boot was covered in 50wt and my timing hole plug was gone.

We looked for it in vain, and with the Dirty Bobbers crew's help loaded the Panhead into Johnny's van. I was fucked off, to say the least. Brought to a halt by a $2 bolt. As I said to Scarlett, I'd been thinking how great life was and how well the Pan was running just five minutes before the breakdown. Now I was going to miss a great ride in perfect weather with some of the coolest motorcycles in Europe.

Still grumpy, half an hour later we stopped for lunch at McD's and Olivier (our guide, host, '47 Knuck owner and absolutely top bloke) mentioned he'd had the same thing happen on a shovel and had plugged the crankcase hole with a wine cork. I admit, I was dubious.

Tom wasn't though. Smoking a stogie, he wandered off to a nearby restaurant and purloined an old French wine bottle cork. He then cheerfully chopped it in half, whittled it down and plugged it into the crankcase, after we'd tested the clearance we had to the flywheel.

I started the bike, and it held. I was still dubious.

140 miles later, we got back to Olivier's place, cork intact, and the bike running fine (except for a sticking kicker).

Olivier, merci beaucoup. Tom, I love you brother!

Linkert Attacks 2010

Tuesday, June 29

Run to the sun

Just back from Linkert Attacks! in France... stinky, tired and still buzzing after 1300 miles and a great five days' riding, relaxing (and yes, some wrenching).

Our little group comprised Olivier's '47 Knucklehead, my Panhead, Pete's Shovel, Tom's 45, Simo's Indian Scout and Darren's 650 Trophy chopper.

We were joined on the way by two Dutch flatheads, a French couple on a Shovel and Evo Sportster, and two French guys in a '32 Ford. The Triumph didn't make it down (burned out clutch), Simo got a puncture (fixed) and my Pan's crankcase plug blew out on the way back (fixed with the 'French Tip').

More soon. I need a shower.

Wednesday, June 23

"I was lost in France...

... in the fields the birds were singing.
I was lost in France, and the day was just beginning.
As I stood there in the pouring rain, I had a feeling I can't explain..."

Bonnie Tyler, eh? What a great song. And a reminder that we're off to Linkert Attacks early tomorrow... the vintage Harley rally near Bourges, organised by Fred of Pyramid Cycles (issue 11).

Johnny R took these pics on the 2008 run, so it's a taste of what's to come: long sunlit French roads, lots of nice cheese and wine... and hopefully no getting lost in the rain.

Tuesday, June 22

Good to go

While I was visiting Kiyo at Garage Company, he made up a new throttle cable for the Pan and Matt soon had it running again. One of the many joys of the SoCal lifestyle is that all things bike-related are on your doorstep. I've just bought a few basic spares for my ride to Linkert Attacks in France this week... and had to order them from Holland!

Matt's garage is super-cool, and I spent a long time nosying around his treasures (ooer, missus). There will be a feature on his bikes in the mag soon... peppered with some very interesting biking tales from over the years.

Monday, June 21

Local TT legend

Ted lives near me... they're born tough in Yorkshire!

Brizzy Ink

If you're in Queensland, Australia any time soon and are looking to fill in some flesh, look up my mate Simon Watts at Vision Skin in downtown Strathpine. Call his mobile direct on 0422 557057 and you'll get half price ink (AU$80 per hour) as he's still "the world's oldest apprentice". Google him and check out some of his painting and pinstriping... this guy is an artist.

Catch him while he's affordable!

Sunday, June 20

Dave's place

Chopper Dave's shop is as interesting as you'd expect it to be.

Had a good chat about the chopper scene, where it's been and where it's going. You'll be able to read it soon in GKM.

Pretty cool for me to have the opportunity to look round his place: the magazine simply wouldn't exist without his influence.

Saturday, June 19

Born Free's Best Knuck

I've loved Kiyo's Knuckle since the day I first saw a photo of it... and a couple of days after it won 'Best Knucklehead' at Born Free 2, I headed down to Garage Company to do a feature on Kiyo and his machine for GKM.

He's a super nice, relaxed and talented bloke, and after seeing so many photos of his bike it was mind-blowing to soak up all the amazing details in person. After shooting the bike – and the shit – for about half an hour, Kiyo treated me to a doughnut on his Knuck in the middle of the road outside the shop. He kicks it over and rides it like a flamin' dirtbike.


Friday, June 18

Born Free and back

I rode to Born Free with the DicE crew... Matt let me ride his '48/'60 Panhead, and he rode his Shovel chopper. We set off from Glendale and it was a 45 minute run down the freeway to Long Beach. Matt warned me about the rain grooves and I'm glad he did... the back end of the Pan was all over the road and the girls in the DicE van said it looked pretty sketchy from behind. We arrived around 8.30am.

The show was overwhelming. Check all the other Blogs for the details; even the SoCal locals said they'd never seen so many top-notch bikes in one place, and that's good enough for me. I was stuck behind the stand most of the day, but got to meet some great people. Thank you if you stopped to say hello.

We stopped at Alex's for a few beers afterwards, but Matt and I were knackered and rode back home around 9. Then the Pan's throttle cable snapped, I managed to pull in right on the freeway exit without getting killed, and me and the bike rode home on a recovery truck.

A great day!

Thursday, June 17

LA times

Wow, what a trip. A real trip.

Just stepped off the plane back in England and am trying to process the amazing places and things I've seen in the past week while in LA... not to mention the many great people I've finally had the chance to meet.

Matt Davis and his lovely wife Justina were amazing hosts: thank you so much, I feel I've cemented a valuable friendship with you both.

Matt let me ride his Pan while I was staying with him, so I got to actually ride to Born Free which was a blast. The ride back was ... ahem ... an adventure.

But more on all that soon... I need a cup of tea and a nice sit down.

Wednesday, June 9

See you there

Born Free here I come

Off to California very soon, taking my man-flu with me. Apologies in advance Matt!

Got loads of super-cool stuff lined up to do, with lots of great people to catch up with.

If you're lucky enough to be going to the show, please come and say hello... we'll have everything from mags to tees at very special Born Free-only prices, we'll be selling subs, there will be giveaways, and I'll be debuting our GKM white trash headwear ... buy two and get a free banjo lesson! Hayup!

[If you order from the GKM store in the next week, there may be a small processing delay as the elves will be unsupervised...]

Tuesday, June 8

Want issue one? I know where there are some...

I was chatting to my mate Wes the other day, one of the biggest Australian retailers for GKM, and he mentioned he still had some copies of issue 1 left...

As far as I know, these are the only copies of issue 1 on the planet still for sale (we sold out long ago), so if you won't sleep until you've completed your GKM collection, check out Wes's store Drag Strip Racer.

I love it when a p(l)an comes together

My mate Simon Watts in Oz picked up his Pan in the States... he's only just getting into it, but you know it's gonna be a BELTER. Some bikes just sit right from the off...

Monday, June 7

ItalianMotor magazine

Cappuccino machines on railway platforms, Gina Lollobrigida, the world's finest art and sculpture, postcard-perfect landscape and fabulous automotive design with dodgy electrics.

Yes, Italy has much to be proud of, and this magazine celebrates everything sexy on two and four wheels from the big boot in the Med.

Wondering if it's up to much? Well, my brother publishes it. 'Nuff said.

Check it.

Sunday, June 6

Cross of Iron

One of my favourite movies – let alone war movies – and a film that attempted to depict war as it was, with no gloss... and from the German perspective too. Sam Peckinpah directing, James Coburn starring... what more do you need to know? It's on tonight (UK) on ITV4 at 12.05am.