Salford Knight goes Mod in Madrid | FEATURE
There are a few things that are great in life, scooters, overseas travel and football. So when I had a chance to join the SC Madrid on their 18th annual rally and it coincided with going to Camp Nou to see my football team, it was a no-brainer.
The rally starts on a Thursday, which coincides with their weekly meeting at Parilla de la Niño, just off Plaza de España, at the bottom of the Gran Via. I have to work in Madrid every January, so I have met up with Santi and SC Madrid guys probably ten times previously. It does help to speak Spanish, but the warm friendly club always tries to speak in English, especially when we have non-Spanish speakers with us.
As we are in Spain, club meets do not start until 9.00 pm, so I got there nice and prompt. Unfortunately, earlier in the day, there was a terrible family matter and Santi could not attend at the last minute. I was warmly welcomed by Carlos (Carlito) who was like a cousin to me all weekend. As normal, the club meeting did not get busy until 10.00 pm, there were loads of beers, “vino verano” (this popular red wine and Fanta lemon, which means summer wine) and “tapas variados” (various picky bits to munch) complimentary from the bar.
As in the UK, it was bitterly cold, so it was a night of metro, taxi and walking. We were asked to leave the bar about 1 am (ish), I think I remember after about 7 cañas (pronounced “can-ya”, which is a glass of draught lager/beer, useful phrase). The prices here, off the Gran Via are 40% cheaper than what you would normally pay. Now the night started.
Mods in Moloko
A short walk to Sound Club Moloko, where there was literally an all-nighter with the music that I love. The scooter scene in Spain can be heavily “moddy”, although Moloko has this theme, they also play Soul, Tamla, Stax and New Wave from the 80s. My type of venue and club. I have been here a couple of times before, they stay open until people stop drinking. We left just around 4 am. My night consisted of too many bottles of Stella, dancing, talking and getting excited about the ride out in Madrid on Friday.
The great thing about this rally is that the scooter scene in Spain is aimed at couples and families, more here than we are in the UK. So, when I return next year, I will have my wife and a few other couples from the Salford Knights SC. Flights are cheap to Madrid and accommodation too at the weekend. You can get reasonable hotels for around €40 a night for two people. Shopping, museums, theatres and everything else that a capital city has to offer, is here on a plate.
Friday, I got up quite late. Carlos called me to see if I wanted to meet for lunch as he had to go back to “el Niño” to drop some shirts off for the rally – I was already up and was ready for hair of the dog. We ordered Cachopo, from Asturias, never had it before. The waiter said to share one, but we got one each. Two layers of steak, one with ham and cheese in the middle and one with five kinds of cheese, then deep fried in breadcrumbs. Absolutely fantastic.
I was flagging now and the rain had started. In my mind was being hungover and riding a Lambretta, through 4-6 lane carriageways in Madrid… what could possibly go wrong? Santi had offered the use of a Lambretta, but as he was not about – Carlos offered me pillion (which sounded comforting) or the use of his trusty Lambretta. We went back to Carlos’ and chilled out for 20 minutes, then suited up. The loan of a waterproof jacket, a helmet and gloves – plus a S3 Li150 with a tuned Jet 200 engine in it. A clutch that I needed two hands to depress and brakes that seemed non-existent for me, but this is his sturdy ride for many Euro Lambrettas.
To be honest, he offered me the Vespa – but that was never going to happen. We set off to meet at a new coffee shop, Edel-Café, owned by a friend of Carlos where we would meet everyone. We were in Spain, so everyone was fashionably late or not going to show. As the blue skies appeared, so did the tint of blue smoke and the smell of two-stroke. The first casualty was Alvaro, who is one of the younger members at 34, his Lambretta heat seized on the way.
It was interesting to see the guys meet and greet each other, probably not seen each other for a few weeks – it was like they were always there. WTF – a couple of beers later (coffee and water for me, as I was nervous of the ride) – we were off. Imagine having a ride out in the UK, the Friday evening before the start of the rally?
I have ridden all over Europe, but never in a city. Rideouts in Wales, Isle of Man, Isle of Wight and Isle of Bute have stunning views – but a ride out through the City Centre was different. Forget all the complexities of the passes and permits that you need, they made it happen. I thoroughly enjoyed the views, the traffic, the huge roundabouts, the buildings, the architecture, wrong side of the road, the taxis drivers and the whole experience. Our route was a tasting at the “Cervezas Mad Brewing” brewery and the original factory of the MotoVespa in Madrid. Due to timings we rode past the MotoVespa factory but were unable to stop.
Friday night was the best night. SC Madrid were hosting a local 60s/mod group called the “Los Magnéticos” in the venue “Trash Can”, a couple of lads from the UK turned up too, which was good for them. Unfortunately, I had to be home, so the rest of the report and photos were detailed from Santi and Carlos…
With a huge local following, the group had 100s attend just to see them, as they’re well known in the Spanish Mod Scene. Saturday a scooter show was followed by the famous ride out. With a lot more people arriving Friday night and Saturday. The ride took place, with the die-hards, riding their scooters in the SNOW, it followed in the afternoon with an aperitif and the gymkhana, those up for it. Then onwards to lunch– typically Spanish, then awards. With the price for the weekend set ay 50€, it meant you can turn up at any stage. There is a lot of food and drinks included, as well as the concerts and all-nighters.
Hasta el año que viene baby
Saturday night was a meet up at 7 pm for the final party, then eventually ending the night in their third all-nighter. Throughout the whole weekend there were lots of surprises and plenty to do. “hasta el año que viene” – can’t wait until next year…
Words and photos, Doug Turner, with help from Santi and Carlos
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