Rick’s Gentleman’s Express Blog

Motorcycle news and opinion

Archive for June, 2010

The CVMG Paris National Rally/Swap Meet

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I had to think long and hard about whether or not I should even write this. I am a firm believer in what the Canadian Vintage Motorcycle Group (CVMG) stands for, have attended many of the CVMG’s National Rally events, and have been a member for the past couple of years. I joined mainly to receive the newsletter and to have access to “members only” sections of the CVMG site such as the want ads. I am not a member to socialize. I pay my annual dues to help support the cause. I pay the “day visitor” admission to the rally and walk around like all the other tourists.

Here’s what concerns me. It used to be that when I attended the rally on a Sunday morning I knew I would be treated to row upon row upon row of interesting and rare old bikes — some original, some restored — arranged mostly by decade stretching all the way back to the turn of the last century. I could go through a couple of rolls of film just on the bikes on display for judging. Over the last few years, partly because so many participants come from far away, the show has started packing up Sunday morning and the bikes lined up for judging have started to get thinner and thinner.

It appears that the swap meet aspect of the rally (mostly on Saturday) has gradually come to dominate. Now don’t get me wrong. I can happily sift through piles of rusty/greasy bikes parts with the best of them. The problem is, if you do not have a project on the go that needs them, the piles of parts go unsifted.

I was a member of the International Norton Owners Association for many years and enjoyed their newsletter and vendor directory. I attended a couple of the INOA’s Nortona events while at Daytona for bike week and mostly just walked around and took pictures of the bikes. I am not into the social side of clubs so perhaps I am missing out on that part of the CVMG’s national rally.

I don’t think I am alone, however. I talked to a couple of other rally visitors this year that felt the same way and said they wouldn’t be back. I live in Paris, so will continue to attend regardless of how things evolve, but I would like to see a return to the rally being about bikes on display, not parts for sale.

Speaking of bikes on display, helping fill out the ranks of newer bikes lined up Sunday morning this year was one that I felt didn’t really belong: a Honda Rebel. When it comes to classic bikes, I’ve always felt that they have to be very old, very rare, or desirable in some way — speed, style, etc. Sorry, but the humble Rebel is none of these. The effect would be similar if I took our well-preserved 15-year old Pontiac Firefly to a classic car show and lined it up next all the muscle cars and sports cars. Just my opinion…

I have a link a gallery on the main portion of the site with some images from this year’s rally. I’ll add more images as time permits.

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June 27th, 2010 at 10:53 am

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