Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mods vs. Rockers event sounds cool

British motorcycles are just way cooler than Japanese or American motorcycles. In the case of the Royal Enfield (designed in Britain, built today in India), that obviously doesn't have anything to do with speed, cost or even reliability.

Maybe the reason is that there is just something cool about England.

Royal Enfield motorcycles naturally appeal to Anglophiles (Anglophile: n. a person who greatly admires England or anything English). Americans have been used to admiring things English since the Beatles, at least.

Still, it amazes me that Anglophiles will gather here in Fort Lauderdale, Florida Saturday, for a "Mods vs. Rockers" event. They'll meet at 9 a.m. at the local Vespa shop at Northeast 26th Street and U.S. 1, then, at 10 a.m., ride through the local beach communities. There's a bike show starting at 2 p.m. at Cinema Paradiso, 503 SE 6th St., and the day concludes there with a screening of the movie Quadrophenia.

The event is typically American: the ride is a poker run, with prizes, and there are trophies and a "people's choice" award in the judged bike show. Participants are encouraged to recreate the look of the rockers (leather and motorcycles) and mods (scooters and Pierre Cardin).

The event's web site helpfully includes a link to a BBC site offering an explanation of who the Mods and Rockers were, and how they famously clashed at British seaside resorts in the early 1960s.

I am old enough to remember seeing television coverage of those riots. Young people will fight about anything, the BBC explains, and the driving energy of new money, new mobility and new music must have supplied the enthusiasm.

The music of the British Invasion and the Who hit the beaches in the U.S. shortly afterward. It was wonderful music, but I don't remember that it was accompanied by too much interest in Italian scooters or rioting.

British motorcycles, though, I do remember sighting. And they were cool.

If you'd like to attend the event, here is a note on parking from organizer Louise Dutton: "If folks are trailering their bikes to the poker run they can park in the Coral Ridge shopping plaza, which is about a half mile north at Oakland Park Boulevard and U.S. 1. Folks only trailering to the bike show will have to unload their bikes and find parking elsewhere. There are a lot of paid parking meters in the area and a garage down the street. The cinema said they could accommodate one or two trailers but that's all."


  1. "Are you a mod or a rocker?"
    To quote Ringo: "I'm a mocker."

  2. "A better time to be a teenager will almost certainly never occur." Thanks, BBC, for totally undermining my youth!

    But really, this is a great post. Like Anna, I'm probably a mocker, too. Blasco genes.


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