Ratbike Rally was AWESOME!

Hello people,

Even if it ain’t your thing, I have to highly recommend the annual ratbike rally organised by ratbike.org. Went up to Nottinghamshire yesterday afternoon and spent a lovely couple of hours up there.

When I arrived, they were just handing out the (obviously matt-black) trophies to the winners in the various show categories… Awards were handed out for best ratbike, best ratfighter, best rat-bike engineering, longest distance travelled to the meeting, and the like.

The distance winner (and also the ratbike engineering winner) was a bloke from Germany who had come 700 miles just to be there. He was riding an old Honda CX750 with a distinct 3-tone cammo paint job and metal petrol cans (cut lengthwise and reconnected with hinges on one side, and latches on the other) as panniers. Absolutely incredible.

Speaking of Germans, I also had a long chat with the fella from Foerdermaschine.de, who rides a bike called the “Kanalratte” (sewer rat) which won the bit about Best Decorated Bike because he had all sorts of skulls, actual dead animal carcasses, and various other outrageous bits attached to his bike. (How HM Customs let him in the country like that is anyone’s guess.) Lovely bloke though – as was everyone I met at this meeting. The bikes where all rich in individuality, as were their slightly eccentric owners. You really have to see an event like this at least once. It’s much, much smaller than, let’s say, a Sunday at the Ace, much more familiar atmosphere as this is quite a small (but growing) scene.

Next year I’ll be camping there for sure, so I can also enjoy the bands and a few dozen beers with the other Ratbikers. Came home late last night with a few nice souvenirs (such as a warning sticker that says “DO NOT WASH THIS VEHICLE”, a patch that says “Just say No to Chrome”, and the obligatory t-shirt (8 pounds). Since I wasn’t camping, nor staying for the bands, they didn’t even charge me at the gate for just a few hours milling around and chatting with people, and at 2 tanks of petrol and a few motorway services coffees, it was an incredibly cheap weekend to boot.

If you are the least bit curious about this part of biking sub-culture, I highly recommend going next year. (Don’t bring a shiny bike though, these fellas are known to spray-paint everything matt-black when they get drunk enough.) There is also another ratbike event in Holland in July called “Hardly Rideables” – I’ll probably go to that so let me know if you’d like to come along.

So long, I would have taken some pictures but I have no camera at the moment (and left the camera phone home to boot), but you can no doubt soon see some photos from the event and various category winners etc. at ratbike.org.


  • Stefan

“There are two types of pedestrians: the quick and the dead”