The Bike Shed Festival 2019
Tony Walters Photography

The Bike Shed Festival: Good [FoS] for two Wheels?

The Bike Shed crew are dreamers. When Anthony ‘Dutch’ Van Someren starting writing his blog back in 2009, he was just sharing his thoughts around the disillusionment he felt with the motorcycle industry at that point in time.


Dutch’s head had been turned by the ‘new wave’ custom scene, and he was hungry to dig deeper and share it with his mates, and ultimately the world. By 2012 the blog had pulled together a circle of friends, who decided to form the Bike Shed Motorcycle Club to put on a custom show.

May 2013 saw The Bike Shed move from a virtual club to a tangible real-life event.

The Bike Shed Show & Venue

Three-thousand people descended on Shoreditch for that first Show, and 5000 to its follow up later that year. Following the success of that show the founders began discussing a permanent BSMC ‘venue’, and by 2015 four converted railway arches boasting 12,000 sq. ft. flung open their doors to the public.

The Bike Shed Show 2019 People

The shows kept getting bigger and even included a little foray into France with two weekends in Paris. By 2018 The Bike Shed Show at Tobacco Dock saw over 20,000 visitors wander wide-eyed through its doors.

The Bike Shed Festival

The shows were great successes, but were also relatively static and what’s the one thing people love more than looking at bikes? Riding bikes of course! So, 2018 saw the BSMC host the Café Racer Cup at the picturesque Kent circuit of Lydden Hill. The sun shone and the punters lapped it up (pun intended). The “we can do anything” attitude of the crew quickly led to a decision to turn that event into a full-blown motorcycle weekend, and The Bike Shed Festival was born.

The “we can do anything” attitude of the crew quickly led to a decision to turn that event into a full-blown motorcycle weekend, and The Bike Shed Festival was born.

The first weekend in October 2109 sadly didn’t bring the same weather as the previous year. However, although a little chilly, Saturday was dry. The track, food stalls and retail areas buzzed with a mixture of chat, laughter, and excitement while riders prepared themselves and their machines for the action both on the track and on the dirt.

The Bike Shed Festival 2019 | Malle Trails

The Bike Shed Fest’ – Six Race Classes

Six different race classes battled it out on the tarmac on day one, with a further three classes competing in both the ‘Dash’ and the ‘Cross’, in the ‘Malle Trials’ arena.

The Bike Shed Festival 2019 MCM_7663

I can’t imagine that Lydden Hill has ever seen such an eclectic mix of machines take to the circuit on one single weekend, and it didn’t matter if you were an experienced racer or a complete novice, there was room for everyone.

Monkey Bike with Sidecar

The circuit was ringing with exhaust noise, tyre squeals and audible yelps all day long.

As we have come to expect from the Bike Shed, the level of food and drink on offer was amazing, with no floppy, soggy burgers or meat of dubious origin here!

Equally, away from the action on the track, there was a plethora of traders and manufacturers keeping people occupied whilst at the same time lightening their bank accounts.

Sunday Racing at the Bike Shed Festival

Sadly, the weather forecast for Sunday was looking very grim indeed, with most people fearing the worst. However, despite an uncomfortable night for the campers and a rather damp daybreak, the apocalyptic deluge never appeared, the track

dried-up and a full programme of racing took place. Five more categories took to the black stuff and the same dirt monkeys went again, but this time with slightly more challenging conditions under their rubber. Without question, everybody had a blast.

Dutch, Vikki and the crew have aspirations to make the Bike Shed Festival “the Goodwood of motorcycles”, which is indeed a very lofty perch to aim for. But, given their record of making dreams become a reality, I wouldn’t bet against it.

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