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The Craven Collection & Parking Tickets for Bikes

The Craven CollectionThis is another blog for the bikers out there.

A couple of Sunday’s ago I had a fantastic ride out to view the Craven Collection but before talking about the Craven Collection the journey to it is worthy of mention.

The friend that I went with had plotted a route that took us to Stokesley and then up to Helmsley in the North York moors before descending to the Vale of York and to our destination in Stockton on Forest on the outskirts of York.

It was a fantastic morning with blue skies and sunshine though a little chilly to start with.

Once we had cleared the urban sprawl of Teeside and were on the road to Helmsley the scenery is wonderful and the road a very popular one with bikers. It was one of those mornings when everything came together, great weather, beautiful scenery and a fantastic road.

We arrived in Helmsley for breakfast and found something that I have never come across before. In the market place in the centre of the town it was made very clear that parking charges applied to motorcycles as well as cars!

We dutifully paid the parking fee and stuck the tickets on our bikes. When we returned from an excellent breakfast in a café on the main square the ticket on my friend’s bike had disappeared. The lawyer in me wondered how this would pan out if there was an attempt by the council to levy a parking fine. How can a biker comply with the “pay and display” regime and be sure that the ticket will stay there?

Clearly Helmsley is popular  with bikers but perhaps the Council should be content that they come and spend money in the town rather than trying to squeeze a parking charge out of them which I have not seen happen anywhere else.

Anyway, enough of parking charges and on with the journey. The sun had started to warm up and by the time we left Helmsley the temperature was perfect for another great ride to Stockton on Forest.

So what is the Craven Collection? It is a private motorcycle museum being Mr Craven’s collection of around 270 motorbikes and the most amazing array of memorabilia.

The collection is housed in a very large “shed” behind the owner’s house. We had no idea what to expect and were not prepared for what can only be described as an Aladdin’s cave of old motorcycles and motorcycle “stuff”.

The bikes are mainly British but there a few Japanese and European bikes with a couple of Harley’s. The bikes range from the 1920’s to almost the present day and in terms of condition everything from concourse to well used. The fact that the bikes are not all pristine museum type exhibits adds to the charm of the whole collection.

The most difficult thing to describe is the memorabilia around the actual bikes. There is a breath taking array of “stuff” everything from advertising potters, displays of spare parts, period clothing and much much more.

For anyone who has the slightest interest in older motorcycles I would recommend a visit to the Craven Collection. There is so much there crammed into this excellent museum that it is easy to miss things while you are going round. We did not know what to expect but it exceeded even our most optimistic expectations.

The collection is only open on the first Sunday of each month during the season so Sunday the 5th October is the last time it will be open this year. It costs the princely sum of £4 to get in!

There is a web site so why not have a look and get some idea of what is on offer but bear in mind that the website does not do justice to the collection.

I will be going back at the next available opportunity as I’m sure there will be lots of things I missed on my last visit!

Ian Wanstall

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