Getting more people to come to a museum must sometimes seem like a tricky affair, but the National Motorcycle Museum does it brilliantly.
They let you in, for one day only, for free!
This one-day event gets bigger and better every year.
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The museum, one of the finest and most important collections of British motorcycles in the world, is almost a sideline, with biking celebrities taking centre stage.
Racers like John McGuinness, Charlie Williams and John Cooper were there to amuse us on stage this year, as well as sign books and pose for photos, while Allen Millyard was on hand to talk about his creations and TV presenters Henry Cole and Sam Lovegrove entertained on stage with their latest show, ‘Shed and Buried’ live. Oh, the pull of television…
James Robinson, editor of our sister title The Classic Motorcycle and myself had a full day talking to visitors on our stand; it’s great to get feedback as without it we just have to guess what people want! The pull of old bikes is huge and varied and several we spoke to didn’t even have licences. There’s some years left in our old hobby yet.
Back in the museum many people were so struck with how many immaculate bikes are there on display, that they plan to come back in the future when it’s quieter and they can spend more time taking the collection in.
I managed to be able to make some more sense of my Norton parts, after seeing several models next to each other. It is so important when restoring a British bike to be able to come to a museum and see a standard example up close.
The weather was rubbish, but it didn’t stop people. Plenty of bikes turned up, as two-wheels could park for free, though their money-saving grins were somewhat damp!
The whole event was so busy the only issue was finding somewhere for everyone to park. It wouldn’t surprise me if it’s a two-day event next year.
View more images in the December 2019 issue of Classic Bike Guide – on sale now!