We love riding, and of course each journey is more about the ride than the destination. But it’s also great to have a waypoint or a place to aim for (maybe getting lost accidentally on purpose on the way there..?). So here are five awesome destinations in and around North London, rooted in motorcycle culture and history.
- Ace Café London
Location: Ace Corner, North Circular Road, London NW10 7UD
The Ace is arguably the spiritual home of British and perhaps world motorcycling. Established as a 24 hour transport café in 1938, it has retained a legendary status since. The post war period saw the phenomenon of “the teenager”, the boom of the British motorcycle industry and the arrival of the Ton Up Boys, young people in leather jackets who loved motorbikes and listened to rock’n’roll. These days the Ace Café hosts classic car and motorbike events all year round, the food is cheap and the portions plentiful. Stop there for lunch or ride to one of the Ace’s famous Friday night bike nights to mingle with fellow motorcycle enthusiasts in an historic setting!
- London Motorcycle Museum
Location: Ravenor Farm, 29 Oldfield Lane South, Greenford, UB6 9LB
London’s only motorcycle museum, it’s a place to see a great collection of some 170 classic and historic machines spanning around 120 years of motorcycling history, including the legendary and terrifying Vincent Black Shadow! Run entirely by volunteers, the museum is open on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays from 10.30am until 4pm and is an ideal place to learn about the evolution of the motorcycles we ride today.
- Epping Forest “Bikers’” Tea Hut
Location: Nr High Beech, Epping Forest, IG10 4HR
Also known as Bert’s or Min’s Tea Hut, it was set up in the 1930s to cater for the crowds attending meetings at the now long defunct Epping Forest Speedway. It’s been in the same family for 85 years and over the many decades has been a friendly and welcoming meeting place for bikers young and old. On a sunny Sunday lunchtime there are usually over a hundred bikes there, many of them interesting and unique. A cup of tea costs 80p and the ride through the forest to get there is lovely.
- Site of JA Prestwich factory: the birthplace of the V Twin engine
Location: 1a Lansdowne Road, London N17 0LL
Tottenham is not known by many as the cradle of British Motorcycling, but it’s true! The iconic V Twin engine was invented by John Alfred Prestwich at 1a Lansdowne Road in 1901, two whole years before Harley Davidson Motorcycles were even set up over in the USA. JA Prestwich motorcycles went on to make a huge contribution to the Allied victory in World War One by ensuring that the British Army had the most effective battlefield communications in the form of heroic motorcycle despatch riders on JA Prestwich Tottenham built motorbikes. Now an NHS building, the legendary premises is marked with a green plaque.
- Zenith Motorcycles
Location: Rainbow Works, 21 Markfield Rd, London N15 4RG
Just down the road from the birthplace of the iconic V twin engine is another place whose location you need to have saved in your GPS: Zenith Motorcycles. As well as being the cleanest and friendliest motorbike mechanics’ and dealership for miles around, it’s also the only one in the country owned and run by a woman, who happens to be the granddaughter of one of the engineers who worked at JA Prestwich (see above) many years ago. With such a rich motorcycling heritage, Zenith caters for the whole spectrum of motorcycling needs, from classic to custom via scooters, sports bikes, and everything in between. Pop by for a cup of tea, a friendly chat about local motorcycling history and the best value prices on gear, maintenance and custom work!