MCN Motorcycle Show at Excel Centre London

Two years running I have been to this show, after a gap of 2 or 3 years. Its a minor highlight in a tedious winter month. Even quite early on the Friday it was heaving with people. The demographic is clear: the great majority of attenders are middle aged men. I’d say there is 5 – 10% women. And a few families with small kids who climb all over the bikes. There are always a small number of the injured, either with their wrists in a brace or with crutches or in wheelchairs. Every year I wonder what the stories are behind these more serious injuries.

The bikes, of course are beautiful and shiny and great fun to swing a leg over.

Legendary light weight British adventure bike

But mostly they are there to admire. Some, like the BMW R1200GS Adventure (huge already) up on a plinth higher than all the other Beamers.


Or there is the chrome Norton in a glass case.
Norton at MCN motorcycle show

There is always masses of stuff you can buy. I never know whether there are really any bargains to be had but the market creates lots of excitement.

My journey there is always fun too. From Bankside I took the Thames Clipper untitled-1.jpg up to the O2 then caught the Emirates air line untitled-5.jpg

untitled-6.jpg over the Thames with its stunning view and commentary about the history of invention and the Lea Valley.

Westerham – the countryside at last

Passing a roadside sign that tells us that we have just entered Kent coincides with a vista of rolling hills opening out on each side of the road. At last. Going south or south south east out of Southwark is tedious. Lowpoints are the Lewisham one way and the Catford gyratory systems, but by Bromley things are looking more pleasant – and definitely by trusty Biggin Hill Airport with its WWII history you have to say we are in the country. Westerham is a pretty village or small town, just beyond the M25 though with nowhere obvious to park up as I rode through. Neither did I stop at Chartwell family home of Winston Churchill, closed when I visited. But the roads are lovely to ride through, though not empty.


I was on the road for 3 and 1/4 hours, covering only 60 miles at an average speed of 18mph and a maximum of 38mph.