British Customs honors The Fifty Nine Club as one of the origins of the iconic cafe racer subculture in their Legends Series on the heritage of motorcycling.
LOS ANGELES, CA
APRIL 12, 2016
The legends of motorcycling are fading, and the face of motorcycling is changing as they drift into the past. Motorcycling is losing the grit and personality it once had as the people who created the motorcycle lifestyle become lost to us. This is largely due to a lack of digitization, as the only remaining records of these figures ever having existed or these defining events ever having happened are in forgotten and yellowing archives.
But there is someone trying to keep these mass disappearances from happening. British Customs, a lifestyle brand and designer of aftermarket motorcycle parts, has been seeking out the legends who are still with us, interviewing them, and digitizing their archives. British Customs is publishing all these materials on their blog as they are completed or uploaded to create an authoritative database documenting the heritage of motorcycling. They’re also delving into the remaining legends’ networks to find other figures who should be shared with today’s motorcycle community.
These legends don’t only extend to racers, but cover the personalities, events, locations, designers, tuners, machines, and innovators that collectively created the rich heritage of motorcycling.
British Customs is calling this the Legends Series. The Legends Series is about bringing the past into the present and inspiring riders of all generations by sharing these great stories and accomplishments with them. Riders are also able to get their own piece of history by installing any of the parts British Customs has released that were designed with input from some of the legends, such as the Drag Pipes, Slash Cut TT Exhaust, Pro Builder Series Mule Motorcycles parts, and the Stainless Steel Collection.
This week, British Customs published highly researched and curated content on The Fifty Nine Club, one of the most influential and important motorcycle clubs in the history of motorcycling.
The Fifty Nine Club started in 1959 as a youth club in the East End of London by a local Anglican priest to give under-privileged youth somewhere to go and something to do besides get in trouble. Within three years of its founding, a motorcycle section was created to accommodate for the many young motorcyclists who joined. The majority of riders who joined were the pioneers of the cafe racer scene, and collectively they created the cafe racer image and style of motorcycle. At its height, The Fifty Nine Club boasted 20,000 members internationally, in spite of requiring that members sign up in person at one of the church club houses. The Fifty Nine Club is still an active club, run by Anglican ministers, and is a registered charity whose mission is “to help young motorcyclists.”
The motorcycles the members of The Fifty Nine Club rode on, as did every other racer, stuntman, daredevil, and even the common rider, were all street bikes that had been stripped down and modified for any purpose wanted. In step with this, British Customs published a series of style guides to help riders inspired to transform any Triumph Modern Classic including the iconic Bonneville, Thruxton, Scrambler, and other into a tracker, cafe racer, dirt bike, desert sled, bobber, resto-mod, and other styles.
Each week, British Customs will continue to publish about the iconic figures, events, machines, tuners, locations, and racers who established the motorcycle lifestyle and heritage that riders carry with them today.
Anyone interested in using or viewing the archival images and documents British Customs is digitizing is encouraged to contact them.
About British Customs:
British Customs is a Southern California-based lifestyle brand and designer of aftermarket motorcycle parts. They are known for making the highest quality factory-spec bolt-on parts that only require common tools and minimal technical knowledge to install. With any of their parts upgrades, the average rider can completely customize his or her motorcycle in a weekend.