Tuesday, October 26, 2010


It seemed an excellent opportunity: the confluence of the Men's File crew, a sunny day in Paris, and a million dollars' worth of Brough SuperiorsNick Clements had brought two models (Spirit of Britain's Simon Delaney and friend) along for atmosphere at the Ralph Lauren/Men's File party the night prior, so we had gents in period dress, motorcycles, and a picturesque spot on the Seine, on the quai under Pont Sully, relatively free of perambulators and bicyclists, and nearly devoid of modern vehicles, having in one direction only the river, the 1800s buildings of Paris, and a series of river barges which a few hardy souls call home.

Along for the ride were some of the RL crew, dressed in their daily Double RL gear, which happened to fit perfectly with the theme of the intended layout for Men's FileNick Clements had only planned for a few shots at 9am, but with near perfect conditions and a sudden swell of available men willing to be photographed, it took until noon to begin pushing Broughs into vans, and visiting bikers to roar away.

The revelry from the previous night didn't show on the assembled crew, but your intrepid scribe was certainly feeling the 3am curtain drop, and missed his 9am call to arms...by a couple of hours.  Thankfully the demands of Web-intended 300kb photography are few, and my cheap/trusty/amazing little Sony camera did the job with alacrity.

The bikes assembled included 'Basil' Brough (about whom more later), a JTOR-engined machine built in the 1980s as a sidecar racer (hence the 18" wheels and fat tires), the 'Pendine' SS101J, the TE Lawrence replica, and a 1926 SS100 built around an original engine, which Mark Upham has recently re-purchased from a genial Belgian...it seems Mark has attachment issues with 'Hundreds'.  Well, who wouldn't?

And, as occasional 'test rider' for Brough Superior (an unpaid position, but certainly well compensated), it was an excellent time to test the 'Pendine' over cobblestones and through the assembled throng, between dog walkers and old gents with canes.  Nobody seemed bothered, the police didn't show, and it was good to stretch the legs of the mighty animal.  She handles fine over cobbles, but will work much better on the open stretches and vertiginous banking of a proper 1920s racetrack.  How I would love to pull that throttle lever all the way to the 'bar, and keep it there, and really stretch the legs of this incredibly beautiful beast.  Stay tuned.