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THE NOISE CLUB -The Trip Out, UK

In the blue corner: the healthy rumble of the vintage internal combustion engine, exhaling through shorty pipes, if only you could hear them. In the red corner: the infernal wind noise (Arai certainly doesn’t mean “aero” in Japanese) courtesy of Autobahn speeds. It's the umpteenth round, and the referee decides to call time for a much needed gas stop.

Going to the Trip Out? No problem, if you live in London or Manchester.

The place where the Shovel

lives is a bit farther out, and the first 650 kilometers suck, to put it mildly. Starting off in pitch black darkness (to have some reasonable time reserve should anything go wrong with the barely broken in Shovelhead), droning across dark German forests, with wild boar crossing the road, is actually quite nice though. Traffic is still nonexistent, and the world ist there for you alone. Apart from the noise.

Listening to a barely broken in engine rumbling along under you can be rather distracting. What’s that odd hum behind all that wind noise. When did that come on? Now it’s gone. Oh well. 

Roll onto the ferry, the cavernous belly echoing with the staccato of the idling V-Twin, tie down the Shovelhead with chunky straps (aah, no noise!) and make for the bar for another breakfast, before the white cliffs of Dover heave into sight.

Two gas stops and almost 900 kilometers

of asphalt later, the last of which over deserted English country lanes, where the Harley’s sound, as God and the Milwaukee Gentlemen intended it to be was thoroughly appreciated, we finally roll onto the grounds of the Trip Out. After getting one of the coveted stickers for the show field, we drop anchor in the bike camping section amid all kinds of very British rigid Pans, Knuckles and Shovels, a lot of reworked Sportys and an equal number of Japanese customs, and set up the tent on soft grass, just right for a tired rider from far away.

Here comes the noise again.

The bands start to play when

evening comes, and the noise level picks up again. Good that the bar is right in the back of the big tent, selling welcome rehydrating fluids to reset your eardrums after the long hours on the road. Pink Cigar offers good straightforward Brit noise, while we're still looking for some parts of our brain, lost somewhere between Belgium and London.

After a few well deserved pints we go to bed, right beside the now cooled down Shovel and a few vintage Guzzis a few feet away. Before we drift off to sleep, we hear The Embrooks scream away in the distance. Fade to black.

Good morning, Vratta-vratt.

Getting to the TripOut is like coming home into a world as it should be: Smiling riders on ancient Harleys with sky high upsweep pipes cross your way, kids on skateboards trying to jump over parked choppers, ancient vans rumbling from left to right as you wander over to the tea bar, standing in line for a much needed calory refill. The sun shines from a cloud blown sky, dudes stumble to the showers, which sometimes even do work. The Brit way of customizing is at a high point here: tasteful to radical mods, rigid frames, period correct custom parts, all lovingly assembled for some serious daily-riding capabilities. These bikes want to be ridden.

There’s a strangely empty field cordoned off in the middle of the grassy plaza, and lo and behold, here comes Andy with a mic. Soon he has dudes pushing their bikes into the kickstart arena, ‘cos that’s what ist is. At the go, those same dudes come galloping in, jump on the starter cranks of their waiting machinery and try to start the venerable internal combustion process. Luke from Holland is the first who can fire up his Shovelhead, which is obviously set up right. KER CHOOMPHA PRAT vratt vratta vroom go his twin cylinders, blue smoke puffs out of his amazing upsweeps. A whole load of upsweeps round here, methinks, looks like they get the tubing cheap :)

Right, before the next round of bands starts to tear up the night, some refreshments are in order. A pint of very agreeable bitter in hand, we stroll around the place in the balmy evening, around the awesome bikes in the show field, along the vendors’s booths, and chat with the girl who went across the US alone on a bike. She even wrote a book about it. In the booth next door Andy’s Knuckle gets the lettering treatment, by the awesome Mr. Nefarious.

After another evening of pretty far out Brit rock music, the world famous Meyer Dancers and a few more beers, it’s a short night until it’s time again to break camp. We load up, have some last look round the awaking camp, and off the old Shovel rolls, for another 12 rounds of fighting da noise.