Bike Shed London 2018

Time for a little two-wheel fun at Bike Shed London 2018, held in the wonderful Tobacco Dock. It’s been a while since I last visited this event, so when the chance of snagging a VIP/Press preview ticket came up I jumped at the chance. Turning up early Friday evening I wasn’t expecting such an eager queue of excited people. Pennington Street was awash with low-slung jeans, Redwings and checked shirts. As I waited for the doors to open I chatted with others in the queue. While a selection of riders cruised by on a variety of bikes, giving a taste of what was to welcome us inside.

Friendly, helpful security guards manned the line and the staff on the door welcomed us like old friends. You get the sense that the whole crew running the event what to be there. Their keenness and friendly attitude really stood out. Especially when you think about other events who use grumpy, agency staff.

Waking up the iron staircases into the heart of this old warehouse I was greeted by the smell of quality street food and the visual delight of bikes and other enthusiasts. Tobacco Dock, if you’ve not visited it, is a wonderful, atmospheric venue. It was previously converted for retail use and the many separate areas work. You can’t see everything at once which gives a sense of adventure as you discover the different areas. It’s not a faceless exhibition space with no atmosphere, which is the usual offering here in the UK. Bike Shed London is obviously not a corporate, sponsor-led event, but more of a curated collection of creative thoughts realised through hard work and the love of motorcycles.

Back to the main reason for visiting. As I meandered around the different areas I couldn’t help but take in how much passion there was in the building. From bike builders and owners to tattoo artists, barbers, retailers and artists. There was no hard sell from any of the retailers either. Each person I spoke to was happy to share their story, but they were always conversations, not pitches.

The people I met tonight reignited my interest in both bikes and organised events. I left the event fulfilled and enthused, I’d made new friends and heard many stories. The Bike Shed crew should feel immensely pleased with themselves. Not only was this the best bike show I’ve been to for a long time, but it was also the best event. Here’s to next year, after the crew have had a well-deserved rest.

Bike Shed London main hall
Such an impressive collection of bikes at this years Bike Shed London, best show I’ve been to for quite a while. Such a great atmosphere, well done to the whole @bikeshedmc crew.

Moto Guzzi LeMans Mk2
Death Machines London’s streamlined Moto Guzzi LeMans Mk2 in all it’s naked glory.

Norton bobber
Beautiful Norton ES2 bobber by @cymrocoll looking pretty

Cafe racer tail
Couldn’t have put it better myself.

Mutt motorcycles exhibition stand
Mutt motorcycles had some great rides on their stand.

1996 Moto Guzzi Nevada 750
Ruamachines RUA*8 1996 Moto Guzzi Nevada 750

Honda cafe racer
Never has a 1977 Honda CB125 looked so good as Josh James’ beautifully simple example.

1977 BMW R75/7 bobber
Steve Blacker’s beautiful 1977 BMW R75/7 Bobber was full of clever touches. Such as the tank, it’s not BMW, but can you work out where it’s from?

1977 BMW R75/7 speedo
Details from Steve Blacker’s 1977 BMW R75/7 Bobber would win over any concours judge.

Triumph bobber
Chris Bailey’s wild little 1952 Triumph Thunderbird.

Honda CB450 brat style street racer
Kevin Pearce’s understated 1971 Honda CB450, Brat-Racer cross-over?

ROD Honda CB500
ROD Custom Motorcycles finely detailed ROD007, based on a 1975 Honda CB500.

Honda gold petrol tank
Kuna Customs 1969 Honda CB350K2.

Bolt London accessories
Lots of apparel was on display and available to purchase.

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