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Post 318: BMF Show .....

I’d been invited to the BMF Show at the East of England Showground. I’ve been to the BMF shows before; Peterborough, Kelso and Kent. I hadn’t been impressed by any of them and I’d vowed never to attend another. However, the invitation to Peterborough included a ‘Free-Pass’. I like anything with the word ‘Free’ attached to it, it’s my kind of price.

Friday night was 'Speedway' night. The last time that I watched speedway was back in Vladivostok, July 2008, a lifetime ago. The East Midlands lacked the glamour and vodka of Eastern Russia, but it was still fun.

I was helping out on The Riders Digest stand, which is actually a small tent. The once "Free" magazine is now a "For Sale Only" publication and the intention was to try and increase the number of subscribers. The monthly A5 magazine, hailed as "the best writing on the streets", is also available in all good newsagents. You’d think that publishing a magazine and getting it onto the shelves of WH Smiths would be quite a simple process. Print the magazines and employ a professional distributor. "Simple" yes, "Free’"no. I’ve seen how much "Grease" it takes to get your magazine onto the retailers shelves and it makes the Duchess of York look like exceptionally good value for money. It’s actually cheaper to write, publish, distribute and then give the magazine away "Free" than it is to try and sell it through major retailers. It also doesn’t help when your "Professional Distributor" goes down the financial toilet and takes a large chunk of your money with it … mai pen rai

So, while the major manufacturers adorned their pitches with shiny new bikes, The Riders Digest employed the services of The Rat Bike Club. They were "Free". Horses for courses.

Of course, the "Rat Bikes" on display had all been lovingly "Ratted" by their owners and therefore I‘m not sure if they really qualify as "Rats". My favourite "Rat" was the white Honda CBR 600. A genuine "Rat", unloved and right royally abused by it’s owner. Unfortunately it’s abusive owner is none other than Roger Tuscon, editor of The Riders Digest but to be fair, he has used it as a Despatch Bike for the past few years.

So, the BMF Show. Expensive coffee, expensive new bikes and cheap waterproof clothing that probably wont be waterproof for long. I wasn’t particularly impressed. In fact, the most interesting exhibit at the show was actually in the camping ground, right next to my tent. A Honda Pan European with a quite stylish "Uni-Go" trailer. It’s the first one that I’ve seen on the road, and I like it. What does it feel like to tow a trailer on the arse-end of a bike? I think I need to find out ….. mai pen rai

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