help_outline Skip to main content

News / Stories

VMCC Loaner Bikes

Keith Kizer | Published on 4/10/2022

VMCC_road
On a cool foggy morning I’m winding through a narrow country lane seemingly void of traffic. It’s just me and the motorcycle connecting as one as I navigate through the miles of hedgerow and stone walls lining this entertaining B road. Ahead, I see a farm lorry approaching of me in the right lane, apply a little back brake with my left foot, then downshift with my right foot and throttle past the flatbed’s protruding stack of hay bales. 

Envisioning the above scenario gets a little confusing unless you understand where I’m riding, one of the greatest places on Earth to be aboard a motorcycle, the small towns and well-maintained byways of Her Majesty’s United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. As the world is opening back up post-pandemic, have you dreamed of riding vintage or antique motorcycles in England? I know I have, but the logistics and expense of shipping a motorcycle to London is a bit daunting. Thanks to our friends at the Vintage Motor Cycle Club, based outside of Birmingham, though, there’s a simpler solution. 

The VMCC owns about a dozen motorcycles which are maintained, licensed and insured for use by active members in good standing. Through a growing cooperation between our two clubs, the VMCC would like to offer reciprocal use of these machines to AMCA members interested in attending one of their many popular club events. 

Some roads, like this one in Lake District National Park, are less
than well-maintained but worth it for the scenery.  Photo by Chris Cope

Besides pastimes, the two clubs have a lot in common. The AMCA soon will observe our 70th anniversary, while the VMCC celebrated their 75th last year. Amazingly, as small as the UK is—about the size of Minnesota and Iowa combined—they have more than 13,000 members, just a bit more than our 12,000. 

If you have ever looked into what’s going on in vintage British motorcycling, maybe you have heard of the Banbury Run or the Festival of 1000 bikes. Lesser known to us Yanks but popular among local club chapters (“sections” in the UK), maybe you’d prefer the Winkley, Easy Does It, the Tiddler/Low Powered, the Pedal and Pop or the Cobweb Runs. How about the Noggin & Natter, Mike’s Tiddlers Trot, the Malvern Festival of Transportation, the Cheddar Weekend or maybe the Welsh Wandering? For a full list of events, visit vmcc.net/shows. From this page you can navigate to Events/Section Runs & Events.

The UK is a motorcycle-friendly culture where toll roads are often free or discounted for two-wheelers. In most cities, motorcyclists are allowed to use bus lanes. Many parking lots and garages offer free spaces for motorcycles. The roots of British motorcycling run deep. This is home to Triumph, Norton, Vincent, Brough Superior, BSA, Royal Enfield, Velocette, Ariel and many more. From AJS to Zenith, dating back to the late 1800s, the Brits have been turning out motorcycles.

British roads can be very narrow. Sometimes a
motorcycle is your only option. Photo by Chris Cope

Have I piqued your interest yet? How about riding the motorcycle pictured on the left. VMCC’s 1926 AJS, or maybe something a little more modern, the one on the right is their 1963 BSA 500cc twin? 

For members with an above-average skillset, possibly the motorbike on the left, a 1922 P&M 500cc single with sidecar is for you?

If you are looking for a head-turner and a sample of Bits 'n Bobs, you could try the two-stroke 1920 Reed Scott to your right. Reminiscent of a moped with a 4-gallon gas jug anchored just beneath your man parts. 

Feeling like a Cannonballer? Well, to your left, a Butcher's hook 1925 Triumph single may be just the ticket.

If you’re not ready to learn the intricacies of old British bikes, the stable also includes the 1989 Yamaha FJ1200 on your right complete with aftermarket saddlebags and trunk.

For the ultra modern experience, you might like this dishy red rocket to your left, a 2021 Fantic Caballero Scramble.

Or to your right, equally as red but quite less Ace, and a 2000 Honda CG125.

On the reciprocal side of this equation, we would like to hear from American AMCA members willing to open their homes and/or loan the use of a motorcycle, new or old, to VMCC members who are traveling to the U.S. for one of our national meets, road runs or chapter events.

The VMCC and the AMCA are working on a pair of private-group Facebook pages to connect interested parties. All participants must be current, paid-up VMCC or AMCA members to access the pages.

Would you be willing to help? If so, write to me at Kizer@AntiqueMotorcycle.org simply saying, I’m interested in working with VMCC. We will keep you informed as we finalize plans.

It you fancy yourself a world traveler and are willing to monitor one of these Facebook pages, we would love to hear from you. Until then, pip pip.


This story is the web version of the story featured in the May/June issue of The Antique Motorcycle in Keith Kizer's Ignition Switch column. Some photos, as noted were by photographer, Chris Cope, from a story entitled "Riding Motorcycles in Britain," he wrote on Motorcycle.com in 2016.


©2020 THE ANTIQUE MOTORCYCLE CLUB OF AMERICA, INC.
P.O. Box 663, HUNTSVILLE, AL 35804