Published In The January 2014 Issue Of Cycle Source
Article & Photos By: Darren McKeag
This year marked the second annual Trip Out held in Bedfordshire, England and hosted by one of my good brothers, Andy Porter and his amazing wife Anna. Now, if any of you know me at all, you know I’m down for a good party – anywhere! So when the opportunity came about to attend this great event, I knew I had to make the best of it, considering it was across the pond. This would be my second trip back to England and I thought, why not make a once-in-alifetime journey out of it. So, I invited my father along — the man responsible for my two-wheeled addiction — added 3 more weeks to the schedule, two more countries (Scotland and Ireland), some bikes, beer and damn good brothers. Before you knew it, we had us a real royal trip lined up.
It took me a few beers, a couple of dinners and an ‘I’ll buy your ticket,’ to convince the old man to go, but once I started explaining my plan, he was onboard. Keep in mind that I didn’t tell him we were camping for three nights at the motorbike event until we were 35,000 ft over the Atlantic. I encouraged him to relax, enjoy his in-flight meal, take an eight hour nap and we’d talk about this in Amsterdam.
We flew into Manchester, England where my friend Simon picked us up at the airport. Simon works at the HD dealership in Stoke-on-Trent and immediately had a day full of motorbike stops lined up for us. Neither one of us had slept much on the flight, as we were both pretty excited. Once in England, we went to check out Simon’s daily routine which included the HD shop, the local Triumph shop and Vintique Cycles. Vintique is owned and operated by Sean: a damn solid brother. Sean is responsible for a lot of the custom motorbike scene in his area and has a really rad shop where he builds bikes; his amazing girl Amy sells merchandise and motorbike accessories. The Triumph shop was especially grand for the old man, as his first two or three bikes in the ‘60s were Triumphs, and this shop had some oldies on the floor. Pops was like a kid in a candy store.
By the time we had put our luggage down at Simon’s flat, and sat our asses on the couch, neither pops nor I kept our eyes open for another ten minutes. Our trip had finally caught up with us. The next few days would prove to be very exciting. Our mission was to gather as many camping supplies as possible for the event, drink some delicious local beers, see England and its castles, look at motorbikes, and drink more beer. We had a good 9 days before we had to be at the Trip Out, so our days were set and we had many pubs and castles to hit. I can honestly say that I did my best to lower the supply of beer in England — singlehandedly. Dad and I managed to cover a lot of ground while in England, prior to the event. We jumped the train and traveled far and wide; I showed him some of my favorite castles and pubs.The Thursday before the Trip Out came upon us quickly and my local mates had their bikes packed and support vehicles ready. We met a few other riders at a gas stop down the motorway before making are way to Bone Shaker Choppers, which is owned by Benny and was on the way. It was at Bone Shakers that all of our group met, had a few laughs and headed out. It took us about 2 to 3 hours to make it to the event grounds and our early arrival provided us with some really good camping spot choices. Sean and I were quick to pick out some close spots for our booths where we would sell merch, art and motorbike parts. The tent Dad and I bought was a very cheap, two man display model. I figured we were going to destroy it by event’s end, so it was cheap and expendable. The tent proved to be very compact and leaked a bit if you touched the inside of it, but we made the best of what we had. I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Dad and I hadn‘t camped together since I was a kid, so things were obviously a bit different. Our campsite was up, our booths were ready and it was time to get into some English brew with the locals and the brothers I hadn’t seen in a few years. Thursday evening was one of the best nights spent by the fire, drinking, talking motorbikes and laughing. It was a real treat to be back amongst these people and I had several more of these nights ahead. I recall at one moment that evening, looking up into the star filled night, imagining this English sky filled with Spitfire war planes racing across the countryside in the late ‘40s with their Rolls Royce V-12 engines screaming alongside one-another. What a sight that would have been.
As Friday rolled upon us and the sun rose over the English countryside, we gathered some damn good breakfast and made our way around the event grounds to see what was up. Andy and his wife Anna were extremely busy pointing everyone in all sorts of directions and the area was beginning to fill up. You could hear the bikes rolling in, along with occasional hot rods and gassers ripping through the campground. It was such a good feeling, looking out over the rolling hills of this great English landscape and watching people continually roll in. I have never seen so many vintage Harley motorbikes and classic American hotrods in another country. It truly was an amazing site. It was really cool to see the classic British bikes as well, most of them stock, with riders wearing vintage apparel; so very cool.
If you’re not too familiar with The Trip Out, jump online and give it a view. With the classic and vintage motorbikes and hotrods, to the Go-Go girls parading around, dancing to the twangy, surf punk music, it truly takes you back to the ‘50s and ‘60s. This event draws people from all over Europe. There was a main tent for the show bikes, a main tent for the bands, bar and dancers and all the vendor tents scattered around. The event offered pinstriping, art, motorbike parts, complete motorbikes for sale, accessories and apparel. If you needed it, chances are it was there. This year Andy and his crew were giving away an Ironhead Sporty that he and a few brothers had re-built from the ground up. It was a real beauty with a ‘60s rake and paintjob.
Both Friday and Saturday were beautiful English days. We had a bit of rain during one night of sleeping, but it was nothing that kept pops and I from having a good time. The crowd was very good for the event and from what I gathered, everyone did pretty well on sales. Sean sold lots of parts and accessories and I sold several art prints and books. It was a real good turnout for traveling so far with all of my art. Sunday was a typical end of event day. You usually have some people splitting out in the morning and throughout the day. Sunday afternoon was host to all the awards and the drawing for the Sporty. I was glad to see that there was still a good crowd by the time it was all over and everyone was able to give Andy, Anna and their crew big props and mad cheers for their efforts. As we made our way back to our booths, we scrambled to tear them down as a proper English storm was coming, and fast. We managed to get everything loaded up into Sean’s van as he jumped on his Shovel and blasted out of there. Amy, Dad and I followed him in the van. We made our way back towards Stokeon-Trent, the weather cleared up and we were able to get settled in for a good night’s rest in some very comfortable beds.
That Monday evening, Sean and Amy hosted my dad and I for one of the most proper English home meals I have ever had. We all got to chill at their pad, visit, do some tattooing and reflect on the weekend’s events. I can’t thank you enough for that brother and the other help you gave us. That evening, Dad and I said our goodbyes and we split out on the train early Tuesday morning for Liverpool. We were due to catch a ferry to Belfast, Ireland that evening. The rest of this once-in-a-lifetime trip was beyond what words can describe. I will say this: for the first time in my 46 years on this earth, while in England, Scotland and Ireland, for the first time ever, I found my dad and I enjoying a cold beer and talking as men about things we have never discussed and always wanted to. It was amazing! Thanks for joining me dad; I love you man!