Paying a Visit to the Ace Café
Friday, July 22, 2011
Bombed by the Blitz in WWII. Battleground of the Rockers and Mods. Birthplace of the café racer. The Ace Café has seen a lot of history played out over the years. Motorcycle USA paid a visit last week during a tour with Triumph Motorcycles
Armed with a Speed Triple
we jetted down the M1, exiting onto the North Circular Road to find the non-descript location. Now surrounded by the urban expanses of the London metropolis, in its post-war heyday the Ace Café was a prime hangout for motorcyclists. Youthful racers would flog their rides up to 100 mph (the ton) down the North Circular. Their motorcycles were the fabled café racers of yore. British makes and models, some were scrabbled together hybrids like the famed Triton – a Triumph engine encased in a Norton featherbed frame.
We spotted a Triton on display at the refurbished Ace, the café having been closed in 1969 but reopened in 2001. Our visit included a long chat with the personality behind the current incarnation of the Ace, Managing Director Mark Wilsmore, whose love of the Ace and classic bikes was a driving point behind the establishment’s rebirth. Now once again a popular destination for riders, the Ace hosts events every day of the year – its Friday bike nights often a street-closing block party.
A more in depth look at the Ace Café is on the way, with more info on its history from Wilsmore and even a chat with one of the originals that used to race ton-up on “the Circular”. Stay tuned.
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