Bikers pay homage to age of honour, speed and Brylcreem: Thousands return to the Ace Cafe, the mecca for motorcyclists in the Fifties and Sixties, which closed 25 years ago. Charles Oulton reports
Monday 05 September 1994
By 1969, however, that innocence had disappeared; drug addicts had taken over, an era was at an end, and the cafe was closed. To mark the closure's 25th anniversary, bikers from around the country (and some from overseas) yesterday put on their leathers again and returned to the scene.
Much has changed. The cafe, an ordinary enough looking building then to the uninitiated but magical to those under its thrall, is now a warehouse piled high with tyres. A bathetic end to one of the most talked about centres of London life at that time.
But the memories remain. As thousands of bikers paid their respects, the talk was of the good old days - the victory over the truckers (who never again dared show their faces at the cafe after dawn); the challenge of racing your bike along the North Circular to the Hanger Lane roundabout and back to the cafe before the record on the jukebox came to an end; the endless games of pinball, the helmets lovingly perched on the shelf, the pies and chips and mugs of tea.
And then there were the sad moments, the numerous deaths of bikers for whom the Hanger Lane challenge proved too much. But then that was part of the lure of the place: it was fraught with danger and irresponsibility, but there was a sense of purpose, and a code of honour too. They remembered how they used to carry blood for the hospitals, how they acted as outriders for lorry drivers who got themselves lost, and how they made sure that the only people they harmed were themselves. If the cafe was open today, the bikers' behaviour would no doubt have been deplored. But it isn't, so there was nothing but applause.
- 1 Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Pro-Russian rebel 'admits to shooting down plane'
- 3 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
Lana Del Rey: 'I have slept with a lot of guys in the industry'
Peaches Geldof cause of death: 'Heroin addict' socialite had taken fatal dose of drug, inquest concludes
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Pro-Russian rebel 'admits to shooting down plane'
Peaches Geldof inquest: Tragic final moments of socialite's life reveal she lied to husband about failed heroin tests
Israel-Gaza conflict: The myth of Hamas’s human shields
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...
£40000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Functional ...