My work is a study of riding culture and its associated dress cultures of the post War period. I look at clothing, social history and subcultural groups to develop an understanding of the way young people participated in motorcycling and created identity.
One component of my work involves capturing the memories of individuals who were riding in the 1950s and 1960s.
I rode around the UK, meeting up with people that I’d reached through friends or online. These were informal, relaxed chats where I sat down and chatted with people about what their memories were of their early days of motorcycling. We usually started with a discussion about when they started riding and some family and work background then moved on to bikes, clothing and the social side of riding. Often there was some discussion about what other non-riders or family thought about motorcyclists and what people thought about the risk and danger in riding. Most of us have dropped a bike at some point and we all know someone who’s spent serious time in hospital, or worse, so those issues featured prominently.
Many of the people I met so enjoyed the session and a number of them have been getting in contact after the session with more memories as they surface, sometimes the odd photo they find of them or their bikes, all of which really adds to the research project. The idea was to create an oral history archive with some supporting documents and photos that serves as a record of a variety of motorcyclists’ experiences. The interview recordings were transcribed and analysed to establish common themes, which in turn provided the main themes for the key chapters in my PhD thesis.
The site is called Motorcycle Memories because that’s the core of the work: recording each individual’s own stories, and of course every one is different. That’s what makes it interesting. An unavoidable fact of this work is that it is done with people who are in their 60s and 70s, some of whom are troubled with health issues. Sadly one of my interviewees passed away in early 2014. It was a privilege to capture his story and preserve it, as it was with them all.
Click on CONTACT at the top right of this site and drop me a line on email or call me at any time. I’m always available to discuss any aspect of my work and to talk through any concerns.