Taking a break from the monthly deadline panic and pressures, I decided to pop along to my local autojumble for a wander around and a look, with some spare change rattling in my pocket should a bargain appear.
I’m lucky in that, where I’m currently living, there are a decent number of autojumbles within easy reach, with an hour and a half travelling giving me the opportunity to attend an autojumble nigh on every other weekend during the summer.
That’s not always been the case, of course, and previously I have had to commit to a three-hour journey to get to a decent-sized autojumble, with even the smallest event being in excess of an hour and a half away.
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But I’d still go and have a look, even if it was just as an excuse to get out and about. Indeed, the very first time I got my hands on a copy of Old Bike Mart, nigh on 30 years ago, was at a ‘jumble over an hour away, and the excuse (if ever one was needed) to go to that was simply because it was located in the Pavilion Gardens in Buxton, at the end of some fantastic riding roads through the beautiful Peak District.
But the one that I used for a ‘screen break’ is just 10 minutes down the lanes. It’s not an especially large autojumble, and it’s not bike specific, but as mentioned, it is local and it is free to get in!
While I’ve made a comment in my wafflings and witterings in a previous issue of OBM that autojumbles have, in my eyes, been making something of a comeback of late, I have had some feedback from a few readers whose view is rather different.
They’re stating that autojumbles have changed, and that the only place to get rare classic bike parts nowadays is via the internet, as autojumbles are just a version of a Saturday market, selling all manner of wares, and little in the way of classic car and bike parts.
There’s no doubt that the 21st century autojumble is a different beast to those operational back in the Eighties, but then what hasn’t changed in the last 40 years?
The comments that I’ve heard have, as a generalisation, being directed at the fact that the stuff for sale gives a mishmash of local market and WI fundraiser – being a mix of loaves, toilet rolls, LED lights, smoked meats and cheeses, disinfectant by the bucketload, and jam and honey…
But then, maybe ‘jumbles wouldn’t be doable without the cash injection brought by those folk selling market stall type produce? So why not support those folk who are supporting the things that we like? Nothing better than returning to your better half with a peace offering of fresh-baked goods and a jar or two of locally made jam or honey, is there?
My pocket of cash wasn’t troubled by my Sunday morning escape from the keyboard, despite being tempted by LED strip lights (you can never have too many lights in the garage), various workshop consumables and a number of old bike mags.
And aside from the “market merchandise”, there was a fair selection of old stuff too – including one chap who had a surfeit of BSA C15 right-hand-side engine covers, but nothing else at all relating to the little Beezers – but the rest was a real mix of Brit parts, BMW and Harley spares and half-complete Chinese commuters that had probably had a harder life than a Victorian chimney sweep.
And were dirtier. It was a different kind of autojumble to, say, Stafford or ’Normous Newark, yet just as fascinating, but for different reasons.
While this time I didn’t actually bump into any friends (yes, I have some), there were a number of faces that I recognised and a handful of interesting classic bikes to look at, as well as some very nice cars including a neighbour’s Jensen Interceptor and a deeply desirable Hillman Imp (I’m not a car fan, but one that I would actually keep is a rally-prepped Imp), and it was clear that many people were treating the autojumble in the same way as I was – as a sociable interlude on a busy Sunday.
Coincidentally, just a couple of days later, having started this editorial but needing another break to get some further inspiration, I once more added to my social activities by taking a trip into my local town for the annual bike night.
There were a decent number of classics in attendance – several ubiquitous Bonnies, a Trident, a couple of smaller-capacity BSA singles and the inevitable Bantam or two, plus a Greeves trailie and a glut of Yamaha two-stroke twins and Fizzies – and they were all, without fail, getting more attention than the modern bikes in attendance.
This, of course, was no great surprise, as we all know that classic machinery has a magnetism that attracts bystanders like nothing else, but it did get me wondering.
These folk who have spent thousands on pounds on brand new bikes, who take an occasional ride out to a local bike meet, only to seek out old machinery that they once had, or yearned after as a younger rider, are stood lusting and reminiscing. Why didn’t they just buy a classic bike instead of the new one?…
Sat back in front of my laptop, I’m now wondering if there is a connection between the two? Are the folks at the autojumble who are going for a social (and maybe to buy some pies, an electrical fitting or two and some young tomato plants) the same people who’re lusting after a classic in the local bike night, having ridden there on their new, 12 grand cruiser or tourer?
And, if so, how do we convince them to join in with actual classic bike ownership?
Enjoy the issue,
DaveEnjoy more Old Bike Mart reading in the monthly paper. Click here to subscribe.