Thursday, April 28, 2011

Gathering of the Nortons

Last year I promised my dad I would take him to Washington State Park for the "Gathering of the Nortons" and then something came up and we missed the show. This time I made sure we didn't miss it.
The 18th Gathering of the Nortons was held at Washington Crossing Historic Park April 17 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.  I decided to go with the family instead of riding my bike.  The five of us got on the cage at 9am and headed to the Brass Ring Cafe in Hopewell for breakfast, my brother, on his bike, meeting us there.  I didn't take any pictures but next time I go there I will take pictures as the place is a big hangout place with the bikers on Sunday mornings.  After breakfast we headed straight to the park arriving a few minutes later to see the place packed with Nortons, Triumphs, Vincents, BSA's,  Royal Enfield's and a plethora of Japanese motorcycles.

My dad had a BSA before he got married and all my life I have heard great stories of his rides with friends.  He talks about how great the bikes were back then and how most were single cylinder with the occasional dual cylinders. His BSA was a single and he was all happy when we saw this beautiful BSA.

My dad at 76 is in great shape and remembers all the adventures and road trips he did with his buddies.  BSA's, Norton's and Triumphs all screaming down the road with open pipes he recalls.   Sometimes I think they had more fun with these much simpler bikes than we do today with full fairings, panniers, electric starters, fuel injection, ABS, GPS, satellite radio, IPod and all kinds of technology that detract from enjoying the sounds and scenery of the ride.

Obviously, there were quite a few Nortons at the event, some still in original form, others converted to Cafe Racers.

A Cafe Racer Royal Enfield and a beautiful Triumph Bonneville

A Suzuki RG500 Walter Wolf 2-stroke spewing out blue smoke as all 2-strokes do and a Honda NS400R.  Unfortunately they were surrounded by bikers and I couldn't take a good picture.

Next we see this Triumph contraption, I think it's a custom bike and only the engine is from Triumph

There were quite a few Japanese bikes at the event, 2, 3 and 4 cylinders, 2 and 4-stroke engines.  Some of the nicer examples on display.

As the bikers started leaving, I took a walk to the edge of the main road and took a few pictures as they accelerated out the park, engines screaming and revving to the red line.  The first three pictures will shock my international readers as Pennsylvania has a no helmet needed law if you are over 21 and have operated a motorcycle for at least 2 years.

A Triumph Daytona 955 and a Honda CBX

This beautiful automobile rolls by, not sure what it is but it was well maintained and sounded nice.

Some old timers enjoying the day and the ride, white beard flowing in the wind.

The beautiful Norton John Player Special, air cooled, four stroke, parallel twin cylinder, push rod 2 valves per cylinder.

It was time to go home, but first we walked to the edge of the Delaware River were I managed to convince my beautiful daughter to pose for me.  In the background is one of the bridges crossing into New Jersey and close by is a replica of one of George Washington's boats used to cross the river on December 25, 1776 during the American Revolutionary War.  It was the first move in a planned surprise attack organized by George Washington against the Hessian forces in Trenton, New Jersey.  Wikipedia


  1. George:

    that old car is most likely, a Buick, around 1950 or 1949

    I also like old machinery, but would never be able to keep it running

    Riding the Wet Coast

  2. Nice set of pictures. Droolworthy bikes. My favourites are the Norton Commando 750 Cafe with the Union Jack on the tank, and that black Triumph. Thanks for sharing.

  3. SOme stunning bikes there, just beautiful. I still dont get why people dont wear helmets, to me it is just common sense.

  4. Bob:
    I can work on my own stuff, I will be posting something about a project I just started soon ;-)
    Yea, the car was beautiful.

    Yea, all droolworthy for sure, even the old 3 cylinder, 2-stroke, smoke spewing machines ;-)
    I also love the Norton Commando but you need lots of $$ to get a decent one :-(

    You cross from NJ to Pennsylvania and 50% of the riders are going around in t-shirts, jeans and no helmet, it's crazy :-0

  5. Always fun to look at the old bikes, and you have to great ones there! I think there is a show here locally coming up. Last year it was pouring rain. I hope this year we can get some sunshine for the show.

  6. Kari
    It's always fun to go to these events, I love old bikes, old cars, old anything :-)

  7. Looks like a great event, George! Excellent photos, as usual. I really like those BSA's and Triumphs. Those were the good days!

  8. Mike:
    Thank you. I love seeing old cars and bikes being taken care of. Some of the bikes were in pristine condition.