Events: Profiles

The Bonneville surprise

Going Dutch at The Bike Shed

Founder's shock at new Triumph range

FTR Bio:, 'Dutch' van Someren

First ride: At 15 on a Suzuki PE250. i opened it up and it flipped me. My mates laughed themselves hoarse.

Best thing about riding: Smooth transitions and the camaraderie

Vision for the future: For the mainstream bike press to stop being nerdy and talk more about the people and lifestyle.

Exposed brickwork, leather sofas that beg you to relax and lose yourself in the aroma of quality coffee… this is a motorcycling hangout for the 21st century.

The new Bike Shed, tucked beneath four railway arches in London’s burgeoning Shoreditch, is proving a game-changer not only for riders but also those who fancy a cappuccino or a haircut.

An industrial grill kitchen and lacquered floors – apart from a small section where World Superbike Champion Carl Fogarty staged an impromptu burn-out at Triumph’s recent Bonneville launch – add to the retro-modern vibe.

A menu featuring New York steak and eggs, huevos rancheros and French crepes and a limited edition clothing ‘store’ says much about the place and how it belongs in this little corner of London.

Dutch van Someren, the man who founded the venture which launched in October when it showcased the best of 43 customisers from around the world, told FTR: “I was confident people would love the venue. We’ve designed it so anyone can come along and get something out of it, get a quick bite or proper restaurant food. It’s dedicated to motorcycle culture, lifestyle and it’s great for a meet or just for a coffee.”

But despite its obvious appeal, the entrepreneur admits he expected to be disappointed at the venue’s first major event, the VIP Bonneville. Reborn party.

“If I’m honest I expected to be disappointed because changing and reinventing a product as iconic as the Bonneville was never going to be easy and was always going to be risk. I wanted the product Triumph were unveiling to be as good as our venue,” he said.

“Often when manufacturers say they are doing something completely new and ground-breaking, you’re left feeling a little flat when you finally see it. Triumph haven’t let us down. They have done an absolutely superb job.”

When I saw them I have to admit I was thrilled and surprised. They look like part of an evolution. There is nothing false about them.

'Dutch' van Someren

The new bikes, a Street Twin, Bonneville T120 and Bonneville T120 black, Thruxton and sportier Thruxton R, have been four years of research, design and engineering in the making – and Dutch reckons it’s been worth the wait.

He said: “When I saw them I have to admit I was thrilled and surprised. They look like part of an evolution. There is nothing false about them – they are utterly true and authentic to the Bonneville tradition.

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“Triumph have looked back at their roots and where they came from, listened to their customers and created a vintage bike for the modern rider.”

The Bike Shed founder added: “I love the way the technology is understated and doesn’t distract from the classic look of the bike… they’ve done a great job and I hope visitors to Bike Shed think we have too.”

As for Foggy’s burn-out, which you can watch here, Dutch was not best pleased.

He said: “It was a shame he did it in Arch 3 because that’s an even space we hire for photoshoots and film out so a big black scar on the floor with the lacquer taken off down to the bare concrete isn’t a great feature.

“We may clear coat it in the short term but I suspect we’ll need to fix it sometime.”

And the Bike Shed boss extended a tongue-in-cheek invitation to the I’m a Celebrity Star: “If he could come back and do a fresh one in the bar we’ll keep it… we do have a new rule though – only world champions are allowed to do burn-outs on the premises.”