Welcome to my blog

This is it! I've given up work -retired from the rat race and am about to start on a 10 year adventure, doing all those things I've been meaning to do but never had the time to do them. I've offloaded my responsibilities and it is now my time. So follow my adventures and see whether I actually manage anything!



Thursday, 23 February 2017

Ace Cafe


Out walking last week, a closure of the tow path on the Grand Union Canal meant I had to divert through an industrial estate which brought me out onto the very busy North Circular Road. A bit fed up as I couldn't find a way back to the tow path I came across a cafe. Perfect timing for a sit down and cup of tea. I expected this to be the usual transport cafe or 'greasy spoon' as we call them. I couldn't have been further from the truth. It turned out to be a very well known motorcycle venue which had started life  in 1938 as a roadside cafe for the new North Circular Road.



 After the war with the increase in traffic, the cafe really took off. Being open 24 hours it attracted young motorcyclists. It was also the age of Rock 'n' Roll which originally was not being played on radio stations so the only place it could be heard was at fairgrounds or from jukeboxes at transport cafes.










It was in this environment that the 'Ton -Up-Boys' appeared on the scene. Their goal seemed to be to achieve 100mph on their bikes without killing themselves. It was here that the  legends of record racing were born. Using the jukebox they would  'Drop the coin into the slot' and race to a given place and back before the record finished!




There were many articles in the press about the cafe and its attraction to the trouble makers of the day. It was a place where 'decent people didn't go'. With the opening of the M1 motorway and Scatchwood service station the cafe began to lose custom and eventually closed in 1969. The ground floor of the building became a tyre sales and fitting shop with the first floor taken over by a delivery company.


It reopened on the original site in 1997. It is still a cafe but you could not describe it as a 'Greasy spoon'.  Freshly cooked large meals filled the menu.  There were only a few bikers there when I visited but that was a mid week lunch time. The place was full with a variety of people from office workers to tradesmen. I think I was the only walker there judging by the astonished looks on the faces of the couple of men I was chatting to. They couldn't believe that you could get to the cafe without a vehicle!


The cafe is a meeting place still for bikers, music events as well as a stopping off place when travelling on the North Circular Road. You will be pleased to know I did eventually find my way back onto the tow path to continue my walk back into London.

17 comments:

  1. Detours sometimes provide you with such lovely alternatives, you might not want to do the normal route next time!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sounds like you're getting in shape for your big trek. Never been to a biker tea room or a biker bar for that matter.

    ReplyDelete
  3. So please tell me you did not know about this place when you lived in London, even I have & I live way out in the sticks. Think is I can't make out if you were a Mod or a Rocker. Me I was a Mod with a Lambretta GT200.

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a nice surprise to find such a place. Thanks for sharing it with your readers. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wonderful things along the way, if you we open our eyes.

    ReplyDelete
  6. A bunch of riders from India will be heading there later this year!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh my gosh, what a nice surprise.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hello, the cafe is nice find. I am glad you found your way back to the towpath. Enjoy your day and the weekend ahead!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm glad you found your way back after the interesting detour. The north circular is not a walkers route ;)

    ReplyDelete
  10. The building itself is a bit different. I quite like it. Isn't it so good when you accidently happen across a place that you really like.

    ReplyDelete
  11. What a great place to discover!

    ReplyDelete
  12. That's a really unique cafe with an interesting history.

    ReplyDelete
  13. What a surprise ! and how interesting !

    ReplyDelete
  14. What a fun find. Detours are annoying but sometimes they lead to surprises that make them worthwhile. Did you get any offers for a ride???

    ReplyDelete
  15. We use the term 'greasy spoon' here too. And this one here obviously is NOT. (I've been in a few ... sometimes when traveling you do what you have to do).
    Fascinating history about R&R not being played on radio -- I had no idea. And the motorcycle speedsters ... what a fun fact.

    The term I wasn't familiar with was 'transport cafe' but I'm assuming it means what we could call a 'truck stop' -- a place along the roadway for commercial travelers and truckers but open to everybody.

    ReplyDelete

Thank-you for reading my blog. I would love to read your comments.