This is the web site of
The Freedom Riders MCC
of Hayes and Ruislip, West London.
Oafeways Collection <<<<<Read this- such a laugh
Just a friend of the club
I lived in the heyday of the club in Stroud, Gloucestershire
I now live in Twickenham
Married with 2 kids ( we're still deciding about
the .4 )
Bike I would be remembered for
I wouldn't. I didn't own a motorcycle at that time. I rode a 1938 Hercules push bike with one gear and a foot lever for the brakes
I rode around on a Honda 90 for a time at the end of the 1980's, which I
guess might qualify me for the 'Steve Jones' category of 'Bikes too
embarrassing to be mentioned'. However, for my money, the 90 was not a bad
bike to ride around in London - didn't have to worry too much about it
being smashed or stolen and difficult to push it much further than 60mph
in London traffic in any case. ( I did however achieve a staggering 87mph
on Dashwood Hill on one occasion ).
It was the best bike for maintenance & getting around and the worst bike to be seen on.
Still ride a push bike ( 21 gears - hand brakes fitted as standard !!!) Hard to say why, force of habit I guess.
My memories of the club
Chiefly I remember the club's annual holiday in Devon - A bizarre collection
of people in a bizarre setting. I think I went to all those between 1980 &
84. I particularly remember the annual village fete held at South Allington,
usually frequented by old ladies from the local W.I. and a large contingent of
club members, typically wearing full leathers, cut downs and mirror shades -
It was the kind of culture clash that I think all village fetes should aspire
I remember rough cider being fantastically cheap to buy in the Cricket but
always being sick after more than 3 pints. It seemed unfair at the time, but
then no-one seemed to mind much how many times I was sick so long as it wasn't
The various tepees and home-made tent arrangements preferred by my brother have left an indelible memory ( on mind & body ). I remember listening to Paul & Beavers' 'Crap Tapes', smoking dope & drinking yet more cider to the accompaniment of George Formby and the rising tones of Adolph Hitler. I wouldn't say my early teens were that unusual but they certainly featured some weird moments, thanks to the club!
The people I remember are: Cyril, who had kind of made the whole thing possible by standing up for the club ( great business move if nothing else ) and was always good enough to bring out a cup of tea in the morning if you kipped on the beach. Paul & Beaver for reasons just mentioned + Paul's infamous consumption of Big soup. Polly & Gail - Polly always had the best gear and Gail, probably was always the best dressed, Gervais for his Skippy impersonations, Blob, Morris & Mick Benner & The Brothers Pissed - all of who I remember as great people who would never let you down in a crisis or at least would see the funny side of it.
Mandy, who by all accounts had lived a fairly wild life but always looked really well on it ( still does! ) Stephan Organ, Little Pete and Malcolm - who rode a white Harley. 'Eel' who Andy was at school with and a bloke from Ireland who I only knew as Con and who had Elvis written in studs across his jacket except that it actually read Flvis because one of the studs had come off.
Brain on the unicycle
Other more peripheral characters were: 'Onion Head' aka Brian Less, who for
some reason always brought a unicycle and had the piss taken out of him right
royally for doing so. Someone named Hayden, who performed a striptease outside
the cricket for his 21st and favoured the quarry at the far end of Beesands as
a place to camp. ( Hmmm interesting! ) There was a couple named Mike & Jan,
who I think used to ride down with a side car. Also a guy from New Zealand
called Don who would invariably turn up in a camper van + a number of
associate members from Wales who always seemed to bring loads of potatoes with
them. ( You can buy potatoes in Devon, can't you ? )
All in all the term club always seemed inadequate to describe such a diverse
collision of people. Personally I will always have a particular affection for
South Devon as a place where normal life was suspended for a few weeks every
year to be replaced by outrageous behaviour and amazing starlit summer nights.
One of my abiding memories is returning from my first encounter with the club in 1980, I was about 15. My parents picked me up from the station and I told them I'd had a nice holiday. I remember going for a piss when I got home and peeing pure alcohol into the toilet bowl - I'm amazed I can still remember so much.
Summary of my life to date
Left Art school in 1986.
Worked as a designer for rock & roll tours until 1993 for the likes of such people as Judas Priest, Scorpions, Robert Plant, The Who, Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson.
Quit that to design stage plays in the theatre, eventually creating designs for the National Theatre and the RSC.
( Did a lot of building & decorating in between times when I couldn't get design work ) Did that until 2004.
I now teach design at a local school.
My hobbies today are
I like making things. ( I'm learning to weld aluminium at the moment - hoping to knock out a bike frame or two ).
I like to travel, especially if invited to work outside the U.K.
I did a fair bit of lighting design before I started teaching and still find time to go and do the odd bit of freelance.
At my funeral please arrange to have the following played
believe it was Dr. John who cut the track 'Shut Up & Be Grateful' - though I
think I might try and burn my own 'For Christ's Sake Cheer Up' to be played
upon my exit.
'A Whiter Shade of Pale' always goes down well with the grans & gramps and for that added touch of poignancy how about Lou Reed's 'Transformer'