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Psychomania. Sheffield Sideburn Magazine Launch – 8th August 2013- Words by Jules Watts. Photos by Ruth Dillon
On our way over to Donington Park for the Lansdowne Cup Classic Racing we popped over to Sheffield for Sideburns latest launch party.
Sideburn have been very busy guys of late what with Dirtquake II and all so come the release of the latest sideburn issue they were understandably tempted to forego the usual launch event. Thankfully Richard Baybutt, Johnny Wilco et al stepped in to organise a fitting day’s distractions. Based in Sheffield they are blessed with some of the country’s best biking roads so a big ride out was inevitable. It being a weekday, turn-out was expected to be a bit low however it soon became apparent outside the Mud Crab Café that we were going to be a formidable group, enough to attract the attention of the old bill and a couple of traffic wardens, who knew better than to make a scene.
And what an eclectic bunch we and are machines were. Conspicuous amongst our number were the souped up C90’s, plenty of choppers, Dirtquake veterans amongst them, monkeybikes and all manner of street-trackers and customised oddities and it was refreshing to see no shortage of female riders in the throng. Leading the rabble was Richard Baybutt on his futurist 80’s looking ‘skidoo’ maxi-scooter. I had a go on it and whilst it wasn’t the epiphany Richard had promised it sure put a smile on my face. Ruth Dillon enjoyed the ride from the unique perspective of being sat backwards on my Gran Canyon, I’m starting to wonder if anyone’s ever gonna sit on my bike like a normal pillion.
We were a large enough group that we started stopping traffic at junctions till all had passed evoking mixed reactions from this country’s occasionally robotic drivers, most were equanimitable about it, a few were frankly obtuse cocks, c’est la vie.
We were soon out into the barely-habited Peak District and the roads were largely ours alone. A few adventurous souls on the lighter machines were invariably seeking out some dirt to get their rear tyres squirreling and one intrepid rider launched his bike down a steep rocky path only to come face to face with another coming the other way, much to our amusement.
On one particularly rural stretch, a trio of youngsters with a small trials bike were treated to the sight of the leader of our pack wheelieing over the brow of a hill (not the Maxi-scooter) followed by the rest of our motley crew, a tall tale for school the next day.
We enjoyed some gourmet coffee courtesy of ‘Motore Café’ at a stop in the afternoon made with a proper espresso machine mounted in a Piaggio Ape. While we savoured the coffee the usual suspects tested their mettle against the old road that used to serve the pass, now in such a state of disrepair that there are big drops where the road has stepped.
A couple of bikes succumbed to the terrain and the abuse during the day. Some dodgy tarmac swallowed a BMW’s sidestand, Maxwell’s C90 (125-150?) engine threw the toys out of the pram and Dirtquake chopper-racer Mike Johnson hit a pothole at speed when he was catching up after stopping to help someone out, front rim didn’t fair too well, luckily he didn’t live far away and had another bike in the garage, he then took an off-road shortcut to catch us up, respect.
A glorious evening sun bathed us in glory as we thundered into Sheffield and the Mud Crab to enjoy Sideburn’s 7inch vinyl hospitality. Maxwell had created some desirable prizes for categories such as longest distance travelled by bike, won by photographer Sam Christmas who was shockingly the only one to have ridden up from London. Best bike was won by Mike Hill for his quixotic Rotax Dirt-bobber. Best Jacket went to young Max who looked damn cool in Dave Aldana’s teenage leathers.
It was a proper good lark in all, reminiscent of Wheels & Waves, let’s hope Richard, Wilco et al organise another just for the hell of it, we’ll be there with bells on, cheers guys.