Inside the Isle of Man Tour

| 2/15/2017 3:20:00 PM

Isle of Man participants

If there’s one place every vintage bike fan wants to visit, it’s the Isle of Man for the Classic TT and Manx GP. Since 1907, this island in the Irish Sea has been ground zero for motorcycle racing, making it perhaps the most storied place in all of motorcycling. All the greats raced here back in the golden years of GP racing, and in 2016 we finally made the pilgrimage, linking up with tour leader Eligio Arturi of Moto Touring and riding vintage bikes from London across England with 13 Motorcycle Classics readers. It was, to put it mildly, the trip of a lifetime, a bucket list item each and every one of us was thrilled to check off.

We published a full report on our Isle of Man tour in the March/April 2017 issue, and we thought it would be cool to catch up with some of the tour participants to get some feedback from them about why they went, what they expected and what they got. To give you a better idea of the people who rode with us, we asked them to round out the picture with a few details like how old they are, what they do for a living and what they ride today. Vintage bike fans appreciate modern bikes as much as old one, and not surprisingly many of our tour participants ride modern bikes when they tour, keeping their classics ready for special occasions and shows. Although there were a few stalwarts, for many riders, riding yesterday’s bikes in today’s traffic — on the “wrong” side of the road! — was a new experience, which made them love it all the more.

As you’ll read below, the experience was a thrill. It wasn’t always perfect, but it was memorable to the point of motivating some tour participants to write their own stories about their trip to the Isle of Man. Tour participant Mark Scott was so besotted by the experience he penned a full article on the tour — with photos — fully describing his experience. Speaking of Mark, this is an appropriate moment to acknowledge his input in shaping our own tour article referenced below. We weren’t halfway through the Motorcycle Classics Isle of Man Tour when Mark, after successfully conquering some roadside snafu, suggested that any story about our ride simply had to be titled “A recipe for adventure.” Mark hit it the nail on the head, and we followed suit — as did he! If you’ve been on the fence about going, read our story, read Mark’s story and read below what other tour participants said about the experience: You’ll be ready to start packing your bags for the 2017 races!

2016 Motorcycle Classics Isle of Man Tour Riders

Joel Parks
Age: 70
Years riding: 54
Occupation: TV writer/producer (ABC News, Fox, CBS, NBC)
Current bikes: 1966 Triumph Trophy, 1981 BMW R80 G/S, 1974 Moto Guzzi Eldorado, 2000 Suzuki DR650 and 2014 BMW R1200 GSW.

“I signed up to celebrate my 70th birthday. I had few expectations for the trip, other than being able to see great old bikes being ridden as they were intended by like-minded fools like myself!

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