Picking up Chris and the visiting The Ace Cafe

Trip Start Jan 31, 2011
Trip End Jul 10, 2011

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday 20th May2011 – we arrived at Heathrow at 8.00 am ready to pick up Chris. We first met Chris when we went school teaching in Warren in 1975 as a young married couple. Chris was also a school teacher and has stayed a close friend ever since (ps – he is the only person we know who owns a Rolls Royce!). Chris also shipped his bike with Get Routed, the same bike shipping company that we used to ship the P-D into Turkey. Chris rides a classic 1985 Suzuki RG500, the same type of bike ridden by the late Barry SHEENE to win back to back World 500cc Championships in 1975-76. It's a real talking point. Just in case Chris failed to recognize the bearded Greg, we made up a name board with Chris’s name on it to hold up when he came through the arrival gate.

After meeting Chris we picked up our hire car and then drove 3 hours to the Imorex shipping depot at Felixstowe to collect Chris’s Suzuki RG500.

With the Suzuki firmly in his grasp and reconnecting the battery, we returned to London in the hire car with Chris following on his bike.

Destination – the Ace Café!     

The Ace Café is an iconic location for bikers worldwide.

It is the home of the British Biker and has a history that includes 'The Rockers’ and the ‘Ton Up Boys’. The Rockers were bikers of the 1950/60’s that were synonomous with rock and roll music, leather jackets, greased, duck tailed style haircuts and of course loud motor bikes. Their clashes with ‘The Mods’ of the 1960’s are legendary. The Mods or Moderns, dressed in designer suits, wore long but stylish hair, had pointy toed shoes, rode scooters and listened to popular or ‘pop’ music. Easy to see why any self respecting Rocker wouldn’t get on with a Mod!

The Ton Up Boys are famous for racing between cafes on bikes especially modified – hence the term ‘café racer’ style of bike. To be a Ton Up Boy you had to reach the legendary 100 miles per hour or ‘the ton’. Sounds easy? The catch was you had to play a record on the café juke box, jump on your bike, ride out and back to a given point far enough away that you had to reach the ton, then get back to the café – all before the record stopped playing – usually within 3 minutes. So, to become a Ton Up Boy required a healthy dose of good bike handling skill and some might say a rather large dose of stupidity! 

We had pre-arranged to meet Mike and Jo HANNAN at The Ace Café. Mike and Jo live on the Gold Coast in Queensland and are avid bikers.

In 2007-08 Mike and Jo took a year off and rode their BMW GS1150, called ‘The Elephant’ (Mike says it has a wide arse like an elephant's) from Europe to North Africa, Russia, Siberia into Mongolia and then to Vladivostock and South Korea. Mike has written a book of their travels called ‘The Elephants Tale’ – an excellent read of two people meeting and overcoming challenges to reach their goals. We will meet up with Mike and Jo again on the Isle of Man in a few weeks for the TT races.

Being a Friday, there was a big roll up at The Ace Café,

so much that the car/bike park was filled to over flowing and late comers were sent over the road to park their bikes on the footpath.

The large crowd was ‘entertained’ by two professional stunt riders doing mono’s, wheelies and burnouts on the street in front of the café. Probably highly illegal but fun to watch anyway.

The pros were supplemented by three young goofs riding scooters and proudly displaying their L plates who did wheelies up and down the street. We guessed they didn’t want to hold onto their L’s for too long! 

Every self respecting biker should put The Ace Café on their bucket list. We did and we’ll be back for more!

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Christopher on

After days at Bangkok airport (kept inside in transit) and then 4 enjoyable days in Dubai it was great to meet up again and collect the bike must say a large capacity highly tuned 2 stroke isnt exactly made for hours in clogged stop start London traffic but still part fo an unique experience we will share as another adventure in our entwined lives

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