“And The Wind-Up..” By: Mike Seate

For a series just working its way through its second year, I’m often amazed to find the wide and disparate range of people who dig Café Racer TV. I’ve had little old grandmas approach me in my neighborhood grocery store to gush about how much their sons and grandsons enjoy the show and I always appreciate the unexpected surprise when some guy in a suit and tie rushes over to my motorcycle in a parking lot to tell me that he’s planning on building one just like it- only faster, of course- because he’s seen café racers whizzing across his TV screen every week. OK, there is a downside to becoming more recognizable to the public-at-large; if one more person mistakes me for professional stunt rider Jason Britton – who happens to be a good six inches shorter than and a decade younger than, myself- I’ll burst a blood vessel. That said, one of the cooler and most memorable experiences to occur during the current season’s shooting schedule happened last spring down in Florida where we had a chance to check out a Philadelphia Phillies pre-season game and meet some of the players. I used to frequent a pub near my Pittsburgh home that catered to members of the Pittsburgh Pirates who played nearby and the players often stepped outside to se me off, asking endless questions about my custom café racer. So it was no surprise to see how many of the Phillies were Café Racer fans. We got a blast out of talking clip-ons, rearsets and ton-up tales with the team’s manager Charlie Manuel who told us he never misses an episode, while some of the team’s top talent, including ace pitcher Roy Halladay got a chance to sit aboard the custom Harley-Norton hybrid special built by Alan Bernard of Florida’s Santiago Choppers. After filling in members of the team on the Norley’s impressive performance specs, we tossed some sports analogies at the players, explaining that the 1200cc Norley could travel about 50% faster than Halladay’s 90 MPH fastball. While shooting the breeze with several team members including Cole Hamels, groups of Phillies fans drifted over to check out the motorcycle and it was a gas to overhear them guessing what sort of machine it was.

What was a shocker came later when several players learned that the motorcycle – which appears in tonight’s episode of Café Racer TV – would be auctioned off to support the Curing Kid’s Cancer charity. Several pulled us aside and explained how much they’d like to add a custom café racer to their toy collections, but they did so out of earshot of team manager Charlie Manuel as Major League Baseball forbids its players from riding motorcycles while contracted to play. One player, who shall remain nameless, told us that he already owned several high-performance sportbikes and a few cars capable of approaching the double-ton mark, but if the men in the team office found out, the bikes would have to go. “I plan to build me one of these the week after I retire,” we were told more than once, a statement that provided a rare insight into the world of professional sports. Sure, it must be great to throw a 90 MPH pitch and make tens of millions, but me? I’d rather have my motorcycles, risks and all.

– Mike Seate

Cafe Racer TV Featured Builder of The Week – Greg “Doc’s Chops” Hageman

For those of you who’ve seen Cafe Racer TV or better yet, met Greg “Doc’s Chops” Hageman in person, you can attest to the relaxed demeanor he has. Who are we kidding, he’s practically sedate. That is, until you see him opening the throttle of one of his many custom build XS650’s, CX500’s or Virago’s. It’s at that point that you realize you’re dealing with a Wolf in Sheeps clothing…just like his bikes.

Greg has built a myriad of bikes over his ten-year as a full fledged motorcycle mechanic.  Some of his more recent bikes have been seen on our series in Season 1 and upcoming on Season 2.  You’ll notice that Greg has a knack for finding the most god-awful bike around and turning it into something almost  to good to be true.  Here’s an example of just that in his recent CX500 build:

photo by: Erick Runyon, www.choppershotz.com

In the midst of building his Virago, the lastest creation to roll out of Doc’s Chops, Greg also managed to get his new website online which details his previous builds as well as current projects. If you have a minute, check it out, it’s worth a gander! http://docschops.net/

And for those of you who would like to see one of Greg’s custom Cafe creations up close you can check him out at the Barber Vintage Festival in the Cafe Racer Paddock.  He’ll be there with the guys from Dime City Cycles, Loaded Gun Customs and Fuller Hotrods along with a TON of other awesome Cafe bikes. We hope to see you there!

Barber Vintage Festival, The Cafe Racer Paddock & Season 1 DVD Sales

Unless you’ve been living under a pile of old engine parts for the last month you know The 7th Annual Barber Vintage Festival is coming up right around the corner, October 7th, 8th and 9th to be exact! You should also already know (if not, consider this your being informed) that Cafe Racer TV will be onsite live in a fantastic paddock joined by the good folks from The Ace Cafe North America (yes, it’s coming!), DOTHETON.com the largest online community for Cafe Racers and our boys from the South, Dime City Cycles in what we hope to be the biggest hit of the year at Barbers.

If you have a Cafe Racer now’s your chance to show it off at the largest vintage bike festival in the US of A. Just email jason@dimecitycycles.com for details on how to register and you’ll get your crack at over $1,500.00 worth of awesome SWAG donated by some of our fantastic sponsors listed above. Here’s just a few of the items we’ll be giving away:

3 Bell Custom 500 Helmets with Vintage Face Shields
Loaded Gun Cafe Racer Rearsets w/ Universal Linkage Kit
3 Pair of Vitesse Moto Riding Boots
A custom Leather Jacket by Woulfe Leathers
Clubman Bars from Lossa Engineering
….and a TON more!

Entry is simple, just contact Jason @ Dime City and pay your 10$ for entry. And for all of you who have been asking, yes, you will be able to take your bike out of the show for the parade lap on Saturday.

And for all of you who’ve been patient…we finally have DVD sets of Season 1 of Cafe Racer TV which will be available for purchase at Barber. So come join us and share in the iconic tradition that is Cafe Racer and help us make this one of the best events Barber has ever put on! What else could you possibly need to motivate you?

The move to Velocity is complete!

Alright folks, we know we gave some of your a heart attack last night when you went to Discovery HD Theater (Velocity) and couldn’t find your Cafe Racer. No no, we promise you this wasn’t some cruel joke. We simply moved to the new airtime schedule of Thursday nights at 8PM EST and neglected to hit the “Go Live” button on this BLOG post.

So sorry! Take a look at the episode airtime’s below for the remaining episodes of season 2 of Cafe Racer!

Episode 09  –  09/22/11  – 8-9PM EST
Episode 10  –  09/29/11  – 8-9PM EST
Episode 11  –  10/06/11  – 8-9PM EST
Episode 12  –  10/13/11  – 8-9PM EST
Episode 13  –  10/20/11  – 8-9PM EST
Episode 14  –  10/27/11  – 8-9PM EST
Episode 15  –  11/03/11  – 8-9PM EST
Episode 16  –  11/10/11  – 8-9PM EST

For a closer look at Velocity and all the great programming it provides why not take a minute and stop by their newly launched and fantastic website: http://blogs.discovery.com/velocity/2011/09/introducing-velocity.html

Cafe Racer Season 2 “Lost and found” by: Mike Seate

I’ve frequently commented in this space about how often the CRTV crew hears some of the best stories about the café racer heyday from veteran rockers long after the taping has finished for the day. Maybe it’s the glare of TV spotlamps or perhaps it’s regular riders forgetting some of their best stories when the cameras are rolling, but it’s usually when we’re relaxing in some small, cozy British pub, hours after the shoot has concluded, when the genuinely jaw-dropping tales start to emerge. In the interest of recalling some of these conversations not captured on tape, I’ve started keeping a diary during our frequent overseas travels, and I find myself paging through the entries every so often for a good laugh.

One of my favorite stories came from Steve Paulson, a grizzled old Rocker who, today, lives in the South English seaside town of Southend On Sea. The annual Southend Shakedown run reaches this destination point each April, and that’s when we met Steve, smoking hand-rolled ciggies and leaning on his vintage café racer. He explained that, in the 1960s when mods and rockers made boxing arenas out of tidy Victorian vacation towns like Southend, two distinct differences were apparent. “There weren’t many birds (girls) around, and what of them we saw was usually with some bloke who would take a swing at anybody who looked at his bird.”

“Second, the Rockers all was together as mates, but you had to keep an eye on your motor if you had a really mint bike, because they could and did get nicked,” he explained.

Steve went on to explain that, while hanging out at the Cellar coffee bar and café in what was then his hometown of Windsor, a few days before the annual Southend run, his prized AJS 7R café racer was stolen while he was inside playing pinball. The 7R was one of the fabled, and very fast British racing singles produced in the 1950s and for a young man like Steve to own one was a feat only achieved by working long hours and borrowing as much money from friends and relatives as possible, he explained.

Though most of the rockers in the Cellar knew each other quite well and had ridden and raised hell on the rods between London and Windsor for months, Steve says there was always “a few dodgy characters about” who everyone suspected of being thieves of one sort or another.

Word quickly spread to be on the look-out for the stolen AJS and by the time the weekend arrived, Steve had arranged to ride pillion down from Windsor to Southend to keep and eye peeled for the missing motorbike. All the blokes were ready to find the bike and do whoever nicked it in the first place,” Steve explained. “While we was passing a café on the way down, we spots the AJS parked up outside. It was painted a very distinct red and white and I knew the moment I saw her. I start yelling like a madman when I spot her, so we all pull in, and off come our belts and the chains we used to secure the bikes, ready for a dust-up. But then I remember that I still had me key on a chain around me neck, so I just slips it into the ignition, kicks here over, gentle-like and off we go. I never did find out who nicked my AJ, but the bastard had a nice, long walk home.”

– Mike Seate