When we arrived at the Solano County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton, the sun was just warming up the horizon. Jeff and I were in an unrestored 1964 Dodge pickup with two motorcycles in the back, a 1939 Royal Enfield and a 1946 Velocette GTP. The bikes were to go into the show of British bikes, as part of the 148th Scottish Highland Gathering and Games.
The man at the entrance booth looked at our parking slip and said, “Well, that’s the wrong color paper, but since you look like the real thing, I’ll let you in.”
I don’t know how you can get much realer than us! Still I was mystified about how British bikes fit into these Scottish Games. Kent Bell organized this show as well as Clan Bell tent. And he went on this year’s Velocette Owners’ Club of North America Rally.
Fit seemed to be loosely applied. The Scottish Games has something for everyone, from the traditional competitions, to bagpipes, clan tents, whisky tasting, dancing, sales of everything from soap to kilts, living history, sheep dog trials, birds of prey, men in kilts, Clydesdale horses, rescue dog adoptions, and a British motorcars & motorcycle cavalcade. The motorcycles were between the Morgans and a beautiful Rolls Royce, and across from the Triumphs and MGs.
It’s a good thing this is a two-day event. It would be easy to spend one day shopping and one day watching the competitions. Or one day learning and playing at the Living History camp. Or one day tracing family history and learning about specific clans….
I darted out to check on all the above activities, but the best spot was right with the bikes. We got to hear all sorts of music! Behind us, bagpipers warmed up.
In front of us, was a bandstand where my new favorite band, Albannach, played three times a day.
At quieter times I collected silly comments and learned about the other bikes in the show. The GTP was labeled a “Bad Bike,” which made the little 250 very happy. One person bravely asked, “I always thought BSA stood for Boy Scouts of America, but what do they have to do with motorcycles?”
Next year, I’d like to bring more information about the old bikes. Provenance is a huge part of each bike’s history, and for those who wanted to listen, there were plenty of stories.