Last February we had the oportunity of visit London and of course we couldn’t pass over there without visiting The Bike Shed, probably the most popular motorcycles custom culture place in EU, this is what we find there!
Before our trip to London I contact Dutch for asking him if possible to meet and to change some impressions and inmediatly we received an email from him saying that would be a pleasure to meet us, so we stablished the date.
We arrived at London with a delay due to the Wizz Air flight, we reach the Luton Airport at 12:30 and we had our meeting with Dutch at 15:00, taking in account that we needed 2 hours to reach the city center we was in a hurry… and also we got a big cold the last days so we was in a very amazing shape when reaching the city center… luggage with us, tired, sick… we got the Underground to reach the 384 Old Street…. when arriving we find a very cool place full of people, we went in with all our luggage, cold and freaky shape… and a stuff guy asked us where we wanted to take a seat… I told him that we had a meeting with Dutch and apologized for comming with all luggage and that aspect… the guy laughted and inmediatly took our bags, putted them at the stuff office and offered us a hot cofee… by the way… a very good cofee, so in that moment was the best in the world!!
Some minutes after Dutch appeared, Anthony “Dutch” Van Someren is a very pleasant and calm person, he took a seat with us and ask how was our flight, after some minutes he showed very curious about what we do in Romania, he followed the Bandisca activity from time ago and ask us about the new motorcycles custom culture in Romania, after some words we start what we thought would be a short interview that finally took almost an hour.
The Bike Shed is a huge cool place that breaths motorcycle custom culture from every brick of its walls, we asked Dutch about the beginning of all that, he said that everything started with the blog Thebikeshed.cc, that was created by himself, Ross, his wife Vikky and a grou of friends from the North of London passionated of new custom motorcycles tendence, they created the blog around 2011 because they felt that somethig was changing in UK, until then the motorcycle culture in UK was mainly based in the racing bikes, but they observed that slowly the interest for other kind of bikes starts to grow, not really a Harley Davidson but a kind of more relax smooth cool, a new kind of bikes start to appearing, not sport bikes or chopper or bobber, just a new wave of custom motorcycles that starts to take the attention and a few people started to build these kind of bikes by themselves, all the Bike Shed crew worked on their own bikes, not for professional reasons, and lot of people was doing the same…. then they wants to know why and decides to start the blog showing the people builds, but not only for featuring the pictures of the bike, every bike featured at the blog must have an history, and the history is as important as a set of cool pics, on fact thay start the blog talking about their own bikes, and after that they extended to others builts, Dutch created the website and ask other guys to send their bikes and their histories.
After one year something of blogging about new custom bikes they felt the necessity of go one step ahead, the idea growed at the UK Motorcycle Show, where they observed a very boring scenario, all brands with their stock bikes, and a lot of boring and cheap gear everywhere, then they start to cook the idea of a dedicated show where people could see cool new custom bikes and find these cool gear and equipment that matched their dreams, and that’s the way as the annual Bike Shed Motorcycle Show starts, after the first show clear appears the necessity of a dedicated space and then they opened The Bike Shed Motorcycle Club as we know today, nowadays just at management level are involved 16 people and a lot of permanent workers.
After all that time writting about custom builts we asked Dutch if he didn’t feel that the scenario is reching the maxim level and the new custom starts to be overbooking, he said that is true that we see daily a lot of builts, more of them very similar and the scene starts to seems boring but that is not completly true, eveyday we can find impressive creations, one of the things Ducht don’t like at all is the angry obsession of some people that become grumpy when somebody do somethig like them, that is not bad, is nothing wrong in following the others style, because these others on fact are publishing their builds and from that moment on those builds are… public.
The advice of Dutch for new builders is one very good, keep your identity, is nothing wrong in learning from others or doing things like others but you need to find that point of identity that will make your builts yours. And on the other side, built with quality, is not enought a good shape, the bike needs to runs smooth and fine, so pay attention to everithing, mechanics, electrics… everithing for the bike running fine, the custom scenario unfortunately is plenty of bikes that looks so cool but don’t run properly.
The Bike Shed Motorcycle Club is a huge space and a huge investment, we asked Dutch what is their target, cleary they said that the target is to do it works, because that is their job, they put everything on that project and it must works… so they try daily to do the Club working offering the best to the motorcycling comunity.
Our conclusion is that The Bike Shed is a business build with a lot of passion, a place where you will feel so good and where you can share experience with other riders that share the same passion and culture, a place where you can also see very cool custom motorcycles and where you can find first quality gear and equipment available… paradise? maybe… what we notice there was a lot of passion for motorcycling and new custom in every brick, in every corner… and also a place for enjoying a really good food!!!
If you visit London you can’t leave without visiting these guys!!
Text by Bandisca
Photo credit: Mihaela Lopez Photography
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