Old Rockers never die

The clashes of Mods and Rockers that were a part of 1960s society were unfortunately a regular occurrence here in Brighton.  The film Quadrophenia, which now has cult status, famously chronicled some of the events.

Today things are different, and the rockers who flocked to Brighton in the 1960s for a ‘rumble’ have aged – and matured.  But they are still coming to the seaside – these days with a very different agenda.

The famous Ace Cafe, home of rockers old and new, organises a yearly London to Brighton bike ride.  It is a chance for the more mature biker to relieve old memories and visit old haunts – and the proceeds are donated to charity.

We sent our site photographer to catch some of the action.  But there wasn’t any thank goodness.  Just an enormous number of people having a really great time.  Memories!

Comments about this page

  • On the subject of motorcycles, I was never a “rocker”, but I was an all-year-round commuter and long-distance motorcyclist for 32 years. Brighton featured in my first-ever motorcycle adventure, which is notable if only because nothing like it could ever happen in these days when getting started on a bike is fraught with so many bureaucratic obstacles: age limits, ridiculously small engine capacity limitations, compulsory basic training, theory tests and the like.
    As an impecunious vehicle-less 20-year-old student at Bath University in 1969, I was offered a bike by a fellow student whose home was in a village near Dorchester, Dorset. I accepted and travelled down on the back of his machine to pick it up. I had never ridden a motorcycle before in my life, but in those days anyone over 16 could purchase a 250cc model, put L-plates on it and ride it away, having merely obtained a provisional licence and third party insurance. This was exactly what I did. I paid the £20 for his 1959 Norton Jubilee 250, rode it up and down his front drive once to get accustomed to it, and then rode it 160 miles to Brighton to visit my mother in hospital. The journey took me about five hours. On the following day, following a bitterly cold night spent sleeping beside the bike in a field near Hangleton, I rode the 140 miles back to my digs in Bristol. My, I was hardy in those days.
    As a Brightonian I have made many trips since to the old home town, but as far as I can remember I never again made the journey by motorcycle!

    By Len Liechti (20/09/2007)
  • No we don’t but we call ourselves “Bikers” now. I’ve still got my original jacket from 1964, wouldn’t part with it, so many memories. Still biking at 63, we go a bit further afield now, all round Europe. Done the Ace Cafe Reunion a couple of times but I live in Nottingham now. We have a Yamaha 1,000 – a bit faster than those days!

    By Anne Newman (08/04/2012)

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