Biker Bred

  • Photography and Text   Bex Day

Last weekend I visited the MCN Biker Festival to document the men and women attending the event. From the Wall of Death to the stunt man riding over a ten-foot van, the festival had an energy that I hadn’t encountered elsewhere.

People of all ages had come to either hang out, buy new motorcycle gear, promote their club, or even to buy a new motorcycle; all with fascinating stories to tell about where their bikes had taken them and the adventures they had been on prior to the festival.

At the Wall of Death we met Danny and Luke whose job it is to perform in the act. As I began to shoot Danny’s portrait he asked: “Shall I take my top off?”, and revealed an impressive set of tattoos underneath. When asked what his motorbike means to him he admits: “Everything really. Every day I go for a ride”.
Twenty-nine-year old Luke was born into the Wall of Death business, his family having owned the notoriously dangerous act since the 1920s: “I’ve had a few scraps on the wall through cold and new tyres, but my worst crash was back in 2004 at Weeting Rally when human error and a rather beautiful lady caught my attention making me hit the safety cable. The wire did its job and I fell flat to the floor, with my Honda planting itself on top of me!”
We discussed the stereotyping he has encountered throughout his career and as part of the Indian Rider’s Club, to which he remarked: “At the end of the day they’re just regular guys and girls who are fathers, daughters, and who enjoy a passion for motorcycles.”

Erica (above right) has been riding for fifteen years and married to her husband, Gerald, for forty-four. We spoke about living life in the moment, being present, and not allowing yourself to focus too much on the past. “That’s why I ride”, she confessed, “it allows me to stay focused and enjoy life.”

Bat (above right) who was wearing two hats on his head, told me he only comes down to London to visit the fetish clubs. He’s a hoarder, with over ten bikes to his name, a few of which are hanging from his ceiling as he doesn’t have enough space on the floor for them all. Besides riding bikes, he works as a tree surgeon. He hates technology and admits he has come close to throwing his computer out of the window many times, though when I asked if he had actually thrown the computer out the window he said he optioned for softer things like pillows.

Tink is a local representative for The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) and is married to Dave, the National Vice Chair at the same organisation. Dave currently owns a 2015 Kawasaki Z1000sx ABS Tourer and a 2014 Kawasaki VN900 Custom among others, and told me he has too many bikes to list. Tink and Dave got married at a MAG bike rally in Yorkshire, when Dave admits he learnt the hard way “it’s not a good idea to have your stag do the night before your wedding at a rally”.

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