It was more like a village fair for Cape Town's two-wheeled community than a conventional motorcycle show.
The 2012 Cape Town Bike Show, held on Sunday in the deep south suburb of Kommetjie, boasted only one dealer stand - an eye-popping display of Harley-Davidson, Victory and custom machinery by Viper Lounge - and two club stands (one of classic motocross bikes and the other supporting Wheels Motorcycle Club's annual safety campaign), but there were stalls galore, offering food, biker jewellery, rider training, magnetic stick-on artwork for bikes and cars, even custom-made cruiser bicycles.
And, of course, a live band pumping out 1980s rock 'n roll music Yet some of the most interesting machinery was ridden in by spectators and casually parked among the sports-bikes, muscle-bikes and Harleys - dozens of Harleys - out front.
OUTRAGEOUSLY ART DECO
A walk through the parking area yielded such gems as a Honda Rune - an outrageously art-deco, 350kg blingmachine with a tweaked 1832cc Goldwing engine that was (briefly) built at the Honda plant in Maryville, Ohio in 2004, mostly for the US market. Biking legend has it they sold for $26 995 (R200 000) - but cost Honda $100 000 (R750 000) each to make!
Then there was a full dress Harley-Davidson tourer, beautifully airbrushed to resemble a Second World War USAF aircraft, complete with rivets, serial numbers, bullet holes and warning signs saying “No Step” - and, mounted on the primary drive casing, a belt-driven supercharger feeding a pressurised intake chamber on the right via an intercooler mounted in front of the engine.
FULLY FURNISHED HOME ON WHEELS
The bikes ranged from state-of-the-art sports machines, to spidery off-roaders, fully-furnished homes on wheels and, in the shade of its own tent, a BMW R100 GS that had been ridden all the way from its home in Canada.
Hundreds of riders strolled between the bikes, checked out the stalls or sat in the shade with a long cold one and a slice of pizza or a “boerie roll”, listening to the music, yet it seemed that everybody knew everybody - I even met, for the first time, the owner of the Yamaha YZ400 that broke my foot on Christmas Eve, 1999!
The show, which is planned as an annual event, was held on the campus of the Living Hope ministry in Kommetjie, and all proceeds went to fund its Living Way empowerment programme, primarily in the nearby Masiphumelele and Ocean View townships, providing opportunities for people to work their way out of grinding poverty, teaching life skills and entrepreneurship.