Bike Shed Festival


Words + PHOTOGRAPHS: Ashley Watson

As I followed the motorway out of London towards the Bike Shed Festival, if I was honest with myself, I wasn’t sure it’d be for me. Motorcycles mean different things to different people. Although I’m sure I’m in the minority, track racing has never really struck a chord - I’ve always felt there’s more to motorcycles than a lap-time. Having said that, I haven’t spent a great deal of time track-side and knew that if anyone was going to change my mind it would be my friends over at the Bike Shed. 

Lydden Hill Race Circuit is a natural amphitheatre, as you ride in on the brow of the hill, the circuit is nestled down to the right. The day was well underway. A flow of bikes were coming and going - some were racers making the way to the start-line, others like me had just arrived. Any preconceived ideas I had were shortlived. I’d imagined the sweet-wrapper race suits and cacophony of gaudy logos that I associate with the Moto GP. This was different, stripped back, there was a simplicity that big race events have lost. No two bikes looked the same.

At the heart of it was the paddock. There were no barriers. Engines started. Spanners turned. The anticipation between the rows was infectious. The day felt alive. If anyone was going to change my mind about track-racing it would be my friends over at the Bike Shed. They did just that. I can’t wait for next year.

Ashley Watson