Some things change and others don’t
Years ago taking your motorbike to the seaside was a little bit like a declaration of war. Where there were bikes, there were also motor-scooters. Mods and Rockers fought many a happy battle on the sea-front in the sixties and seventies. Policemen earned their overtime pocket-money by trying to keep bikers and their machines out of the town. Today Police, carnival stewards, shopkeepers and holidaymakers welcome them with open arms!
Last Saturday over 600 Harley Davidson Motorcycles rode in to Sheringham for what has now become an annual rally. Far from disapproving, the Carnival organisers made sure the Mayor David Gooch and the Town Crier Andrew Cunningham Brown were on hand to welcome the visitors and their bikes by the clock tower at 12 noon.
Not surprisingly the cavalcade was a bit late arriving. With hundreds on the move at once it must have been not much more than a steady plod along that coast road from Wells. But it was the noise, that beating throbbing sound which only a Harley Davidson can make that alerted the spectators and assured them things were about to happen. Around 12.30pm Station road suddenly filled with motorbikes, their owners and well-wishers.
With so many arriving at the same time getting the bikes parked was a major issue for the organisers. Harley Davidson motorcycles are heavy bulky items and they take a great deal of manoeuvring to get them parked neatly. After some delay that was completed.
Suddenly Sheringham was full of men and women in leathers.
Time to get the camera out again Robin.
Now that in itself was interesting. In the old days you wouldn’t have produced a camera anywhere near those lads and lassies. Our lot last Saturday were only too willing to pose and be photographed. “Shouldn’t you guys look ominous and threatening”
I asked as they beamed and smiled for me. To be fair one or two did their best but then dissolved into helpless fits of the giggles and coughing when their mates feigned fear and panic. So much for classic pictures, maybe I should stick to photographing the machines.
Years ago bikers drank gallons of beer (just before the fighting began) this lot last Saturday simply queued, in an orderly fashion outside the fish and chip shop, drinking Vimto and Coke. I only saw three of them with bottles of beer and even when the bottles were empty they went in search of a rubbish bin instead of lobbing them at passers-by. Not like the good old days.
All the motorcyclists had to be back on the road by 3pm and most of them in twos and threes left town – I would say quietly – but you can never leave anywhere quietly on a Harley. I pitch my camera and myself on a bend in the road where I could take a few last surreptitious shots of bikers on the move – as they used to be. What happened? They all waved of course as they passed. Agro just isn’t what it used to be.