Well we went to Kickback and it was great! Okay, Lewis couldn’t make it unfortunately because he was sunning himself in the Philippines but he was definitely there in spirit. He kept texting me for updates when he should have been drinking from a coconut or something.
Being my first show, the whole thing was a learning experience and I was a bit nervous about being in the right place and not doing something stupid. As it turned out everyone was really friendly and helpful and I really enjoyed it. It was great to meet Lorne who organises the event and he soon had me pointed towards a space to set up in the freestyle category. A stack of pallets was provided for display plinths so I carefully choose a matching pair (these things matter) and carried them to my spot.
The bike was all wrapped up in blankets on the trailer to keep it clean and protected so it took me a while to unstrap. Having to do that is definitely a pain and it all tends to start coming apart after a long journey. I think boxing over the trailer or even getting a van would be a good move for the future, it’ll save a lot of hassle and worry. As I was unloading, a few other builders came to say hi and have a nose around at what I’d done. It’s nice to have that kind of atmosphere of people being interested in each others work and it was good to hear positive feedback on the bike.
With our bike set up on it’s plinth and some business cards left in easy reach of visitors I set off round the show hall to have a look at the other bikes that had arrived. About two thirds were in by that point so there were plenty of interesting machines to look at and quite a few people to talk to. That’s definitely the hard bit when you don’t know anyone!
Just as I was finishing a complete circuit round the hall I saw another builder wheeling in a gorgeous looking little board racer. This turned out to be Gary Dance from Rolling Art Motorcycles and in fact the bike that would win the freestyle category 1st prize, the RAM Racer. This was my personal favourite bike from the show and I think well deserved the win. I got talking to Gary about the bike and he told me it had actually been built from scrap found around their workshop. He was also very interested in what we’re doing and keen to see more builders joining the industry.
My wife Kath and friends Steve and Kat came with me to the show when it opened on the Saturday and we had a great time looking round all the interesting bikes and the few stalls that were there. I was really surprised by how busy the hall was when we arrived, in fact it was pretty packed. I kept sneaking a look over to see who was looking round our bike!
On Sunday morning I decided that while I was in Coventry I should pay a visit to the Transport Museum so spent a couple of hours wandering around there. They’ve got some really weird and wonderful push bikes and motorcycles and a couple of previous land speed record breaking cars including the current record holder Thrust SSC.
I returned to Stoneleigh Park late-ish on the Sunday when all the builders were starting to gather for the awards ceremony and then packing away. This was a good time to talk to people because they were all there at the same time, the drop off on Friday had been a lot more spread out. There was a bit of nervous excitement in the air, I think everyone was trying to play it cool but secretly hoping to win something in their category, I know I was anyway. Sadly this time nothing for us but freestyle was a particularly broad category and I was happy to get some interest and good comments along the way. We’re definitely the new kids on the block.
After all the awards had been given out, and all the winners had their photos taken looking awkward next to the lycra clad promotional girls, there was a mad rush to clear everything away and get home. Watching everyone heading for their bikes and then out the doors was like the start of a 24 hour le mans. I was lucky to avoid the rain for my lengthy blanket wrapping procedure but unfortunately most of the way home it was pouring down and the nasty salty water did find it’s way in under things a bit. It was a bit of a soggy mess when I finally got home to unwrap it in the dark.
Kickback was a great event for my first show and I’ll definitely be back again. Hopefully next time it will be bigger and better than ever with more great bikes and interesting people with interesting ideas!