Everybody wants cool stuff to happen in their town, but it rarely does. Us lot that ride bikes and are involved with our particular sector of motorcycling travel nationwide for events, race meetings and parties. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve driven the 300-odd miles from Tynemouth to London for a party, exhibition, show, gig or whatever else. I think it’s in our DNA.
I saw that Deus had produced a new short film; Death Rides A Horse. It seemed to be about a gang of pals in an old car and on trail bikes riding across the border from California to Baja to ride bikes and surf. Bikes and surf. If I’m not riding or thinking about bikes, I’m surfing, or thinking about surfing. Sally [Tom's partner] has started hosting ‘Yonder Surf Cinema’ nights in Tynemouth, she started with the 1987 classic North Shore. We decided to combine the two together, try to widen the audience and collide our worlds to see what would happen. I contacted Deus and the local stockist to see if they would be willing to help to pull it all together.
If you want cool stuff to happen in your town, sometimes you just have to make it happen, despite it being a headache and a source of stress. It’s always worth it.
If you have never been to Tynemouth, it’s a large village (or small town) in the north-east of England. It’s where the river Tyne meets the North Sea about ten miles east of Newcastle. It’s packed full of history and grand old buildings. It has two beautiful beaches, one nestled under the cliffs in the shadow of the ancient priory. It’s known for its surf community and it has a nice, laidback vibe and loads of independent businesses. Come Friday and Saturday night it gets a bit rowdy. It’s a night out food and drink destination.
Tucked into the far corner of the village, on a headland separate from the rest of Tynemouth is the TVLB (Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade), founded and built in 1864 as one of the first volunteer run life brigades in the world. The brigade is still very active and a very important part of Tynemouth’s culture; they handle the on shore rescue and cliff access, working with the coastguard and the RNLI. The Watch House Museum is an amazing building; a treasure trove of naval and rescue history. It’s the perfect place to hold a party; but it’s not something they let people do all the time. Dave Bell was generous enough to allow us to host the event in the museum.
I had it in my head that that it would be great to try to pull together some of the motorcycle community in the North East, maybe to test the waters to see if there is possibility to do more stuff like this, or maybe just for the novelty of riding with folks from home; that rarely happens for me. I asked Leah Tokelove if she wanted to join us, to bring her Indian up and come for the ride and hang out. She pointed out that it was the weekend of the DTRA Redcar round just 45 minutes down the coast. Perfect. Tickets went on sale and sold out in a couple of days. Names I knew popped up on my screen as the orders rolled in alongside new names I’d never heard of. I'm confident there is a cool scene up here.
We met at Union Clothing in Newcastle; Union is a great little independent store run by great guys. They sell Deus alongside a load of other great brands. There were maybe 15 bikes all in parked on the cobbles of High Bridge. We had tourers, supermotos, road bikes, choppers, enduros and scramblers. The ride left the city, led by Grant Titmus on his new Triumph and Leah on her Indian Scout Sixty and we headed East towards the A19. We took the dual carriageway one junction North and started to weave our way East towards the coast. There is a couple of miles of (nearly) twisty, nice country road called the Beehive Road that heads to the coast. It was at this point I caught a wiff of two stroke as Simon Allen joined us on his Vespa-on-steroids from the Beehive Pub car-park for the rest of the ride. We stopped at St Mary’s lighthouse for a quick break and then started to head South towards Tynemouth. This is when the rain hit; of course, its midsummer in England.
We weaved our way down the coast turning heads at the sheer variety of bikes in the group. We were a rag-tag bunch. I was on a Honda CRF250 behind Chris Hatton and Sami Graystone for most of the ride, watching them handshift in unison on their choppers. We rode past the Spanish City in Whitley Bay, subject of the excellent Dire Straits song Tunnel of Love. It looked so pretty... We passed through Cullercoats and along the beach to Tynemouth where we dropped down onto the Spanish Battery, home of the TVLB.
Anarchy Brewery had set up while we were out, dishing out tasty pints of their Ryan Roadkill collab beers - Flat Out IPA and Speed Demon Lager. The tunes started to roll out and the crowd arrived. For an hour or so, it was like being in a very cool bar you wished existed every weekend - good music, great beer, nice people and loads of cool stuff on the walls to look at.
The films provided the focal point of the night, we played a short DTRA film, minew and Sally's Santiago to San Francisco and a beautiful female longboard surf film from Mexico and then the main feature - Death Rides A Horse. It was maybe 50% surf, 50% motorcycles, a good mix in my eyes. I think the bike folk enjoyed surfing and the surf folk enjoyed the riding. There is no inherent link between the two, besides freedom and Bruce Brown.
Raffle tickets were sold by Union, money was raised for the TVLB charity (they’ll have pocketed £450 from the night - not bad) and Ryan awarded Simon with the best bike of the night, despite it being a scooter. There was merch from local lad Survivor Customs on sale, as well as DTRA and Yonder merch. I think and hope a good time was had by all.
Thanks to everyone who supported it, bought a ticket and turned up. Some people made their long drive even longer for it before racing on Saturday so thanks for that, I hope it was worth it.
Thanks to Union, Deus, Anarchy Brewery and the DTRA for helping to make it happen. See you next year?