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21st June 2006


RC at the Paris, Ontario Bike Show

In a bid to win the 'furthest travelled' award, Robert Flapjack Taylor journeyed 3800 miles or so from the UK to Canada and then went to a bike show. Of course, he immediately fell over a clutch of RC readers...

Contrary to what you may all believe or even know for fact, my navigational skills are not what they should be. So it came to pass that the Paris, Ontario bike show was upon us. With the SUV [Is that one of those Eastern European two strokes? RM] fuelled up, the SatNav programmed, the magazines loaded, off I set for what should be a straight forward journey to Paris, a mere 170 clicks.

Wrong. SatNav takes me the wrong way then tells me to do a bl**dy U-turn in the middle of the freeway. By this time I'm muttering loud and telling the thing to shut up. Does it listen to me? No.

'You have made a wrong turn please turn round.'

'Turn round' mutters I, 'how? In the middle of an eight lane freeway!'

SatNav is now taking flying lessons and disappears somewhere into the darkest recesses of the SUV. Now where's the map? More to the point - where's the traffic jam when you want one to assess the map?! OK we'll go by instinct and the inboard compass. South'ish and make it snappy, I say to myself, full of confidence by this time.

I trundle down the 400 freeway and know somewhere I have to get onto the 401, Bingo! I spot it, but not in time, I'm now on the 407 Toll road. Yikes says I as the dollars clock up and no exit in sight… Panic over, exit ahead, and I find myself on the 403 heading toward Mississauga. The traffic by this time is light, so a frantic battle to open huge map on passenger seat ensues.

Huge sigh of relief as map falls open on the right spot. I see Toronto, I see Niagara. But do I see Paris? No, it's so blooming small and I don't have my reading glasses with me so on I trundle blindly, in the desperate hope that it will suddenly jump out in front of me.

A further hour and a half passes before I spot the sign. Paris 6km. Phew. Now I suddenly become aware that all the water I had been sipping on route also wanted to make a hasty retreat, and I find myself doing a form of tango on the seat to try and easy the pain whilst keeping an eye out for signs to the show.

After what seems an age I finally spot the sign to the fairground, my destination! I make a quick right turn into the grounds to be met but three very polite ladies who inform me that entry into the show is free. Now that's a novelty! I can park up where ever I choose. So in I go and make a quick dash to the washroom, vertical tango executed in no time at all, I exit feeling relaxed and relieved. At last -- onto the show.

First impressions were that the site was spread over several fields with a horse track in the middle, and autojumble stalls were erected in a fairly orderly fashion around the periphery and in a circle round the middle field.

My first job now is to locate Chris Ness, a neighbour of mine who had gone down the day before and would be camping for the three days of the event. Chris was nowhere to be found but his bike, well that was another matter. It stood majestically under a tarp, his pride and joy, a 1937 bronze-head Rudge Ulster.

Is that a Bridgestone behind the Rudge?

And next to that was his daily hack…

BSA gets in the way of Dax Honda.

So with this in mind I decide to move the SUV up to the area where Chris and his crew are pitched and set to with my 'Big Issue' version of the RC Roadshow. (Is this our first Canadian Roadshow? We think so!) It may well have been several months since I last did this with gusto but now there was no holding me back.

Aaaargh; I'm blinded....

So now armed with magazines and RC calling cards I set to on the Canadian people and enlighten them to the virtues of taking out a subscription with RC whilst at the same time taking in all the wonderful sights that behold me. Never before have I seen so many Indians of all ages and prices.

Yellow Indian. Not red, then.
Red Indian. Not yellow.
Random Indian Stuff on eBay.co.uk

But as I make my way round, calling 'Big Issue of RC, come and get your Big Issue of RC', I spot firstly a large pile of empty Sporran bottle followed by a group of well oiled hardened bikers sat round talking bikes. The first of them to rise to greet me is no other than Brad Babcock - already an RC magazine subscriber!

Brad wonders who the strange man in the hat is...

So after a good old chat about RC and bikes I set off yet again on my one-man mission to spread the word. After seven hours in the hot sun, it dawns on me that I only had a few magazines left -- so now time to take in the rest of the show and to photograph some of the fine machines for sale.

Note ploughing attachment.

Now this (below) was a full military trim bike whose owner informs me was given to his wife -- only to find that she hated it! She would only ride it if it underwent serious surgery and a new paint job, so he obliged.

Pink. PINK!

Other bikes that also needed to find new homes were scattered around in various guises, and included this lovely 1928 Triumph, with a price of $9000 or nearest offer.

Bloke on the right would give the shirt off his back to have this Triumph.

Mr and Mrs Partridge. Rest of Partridge Family not shown.Very tempted with the Triumph but find out a friend had just put an offer in to buy it so fingers crossed for him. Whilst all this is going on I'm now introduced to another fellow biker. He spots the RC shirt and cap and says; 'how's Frank and Rowena?' Taken back, I say you -- know them?! 'Very well' he says, and asks me to send his regards to the what have now become world famous celebrities in their own right! He introduces himself as Mike Partridge, a local classic bike dealer of some renown.

I've now drooled over so many nice machines that I decide it's time to make tracks for home, knowing that with the best will in the world I would get lost… not once, not twice but probably many times before I'm able to put my feet up and relax.

I packed up and off I set in a northerly direction for Barrie, Ontario waving a fond farewell to the many new friends that I had made during the day, knowing that the homeward bound journey would also be fraught with problems. Four hours later I arrive home, totally shattered, but happy in the knowledge that I had made the trip.


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