Monday, September 9, 2013

Isle of Vashon TT

Today was the Isle of Vashon TT. Years of Flathead Rob's raving about this event has made it one of the things I looked forward to most when I made the decision to move up here. Unfortunately Rob had a Cossack's performance scheduling problem so I ended up going solo.

After I pulled into the ferry line the first bike to pull up behind me was this 1937 Gnome Rhone. The owner was super cool. This is the point at which I first thought "Wow, this whole thing could be pretty cool.

Ever wondered what a ferry filled with more motorcycles than cars would look like? Well here you go.
 Alright, now here's what I actually saw that caught my eye. These bikes were only the ones I had the forethought to take pictures of. There were a lot more I missed. Photography is rarely the the first thing on my mind at events like this.

2 Strokes!
More 2 strokes
Colorado Norton Works Commando
1955 Triumph Thunderbird
Original paint Speed Twin
Ducati PaulSmart1000LE
Steam Punk Beemer?
Steam Punk Beemer
Ah, Emma found a friend
1926 Henderson Four

I begged my friend Tom to start this PNWMOM Henderson. When it started the guy standing next to me made the perfect comment, "It's the Great Waldo Pepper!" It's crazy how much it sounds like a WWI airplane.

So what did I think? It's really cool but ultimately I was slightly disappointed. I've always thought the VME's "Secret Brotherhood" approach results in way more negative publicity than they are capable of undoing the rest of the year. More times than I could count I've mentioned that I am going to a VME meeting or something and the person I was talking to has responded with "Screw them and their secret bullshit." I understand the reasoning but ultimately it's still not working. There were 10 modern bikes for every interesting older bike. Hell, some of those new bikes had VME stickers on them. The secrecy has limited the attendance but it doesn't appear to influence the ratio of new to old bikes in the least. Granted, Backfire Moto doesn't have the space constraints that Isle of Vashon does but by sheer organic happenstance Backfire Moto has a much better interesting bike ratio. I think all the folks that made it to Isle of Vashon had a good time but I suspect there is a significant portion of the Puget Sound vintage bike community that either don't know about it or flatly refuse to go. It's a tough problem but it's also a huge shame. It's a very cool event.

I like the VME a lot and genuinely respect what it must take to keep a club running for 30+ years. Still, I think there are aspects of the club that desperately need to evolve. I also hear comments from club members from time-to-time that seem to suggest "I'm pretty tired of doing this." I'm not sure what else I can do except try to help out.

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