by Gary Charpentier
Read McQueen, Get A Virtual Ride at Isle of Mann
For the first in my series of website reviews, I chose one which is near and dear to my heart. This site caters to the old British Bike fan, the Rocker or Cafe Racer. While they run it as a business, caferacer.com has many articles, photo galleries, and stories which will keep the vintage bike fan entertained for hours at no charge. My favorite is a reprint of an old article from a 1966 issue of Popular Science magazine, in which actor and desert racer Steve McQueen test rides various dirtbikes, or scramblers as they were known back then. Reading that really gives you a sense of how much things have changed in the last 30-odd years. Photo galleries include things like “Bikes and Birds”, which shows the 60s version of what we call Bikes and Babes in the 90s. They left a lot more to the imagination back then…
There is another gallery called “Ride the Isle of Man”, which is an interactive feature that displays a map of the famous TT course, with red circles around various locations along the route. When you click on a circle, you get to see a black and white photo of a rider’s perspective of that section of the track, circa 1960-something. If you do them in order, you can get a feel for what things looked like back in the glory days of TT racing. Looking at the condition and narrowness of the roads there, I find it incredible that some racers were turning laps at average speeds around 100 mph!
This is not a site that will interest the modern “crotch-rocket” jockey, as there isn’t a single wheelie or burnout photo to be found. No “naked chicks” either, Beavis. But for the motorcycle history buff, there is a wealth of reading and images in store. Speaking of store, they have an on-line catalog and will soon install a “shopping cart” for convenient electronic shopping. The Links section is extensive, and can direct you to an endless chain of web-surfing opportunities. Give them a click at: http://www.caferacer.com