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The Comeback of the ChiTown Cafe Racer

Chicago’s Cafe Racer Clubs

“Cafe Racer” may seem like an odd term but it’s a well known term in Chicago. There is a hugely thriving Cafe Racer industry throughout the streets of Chicago, IL and it doesn’t seem to be dying down any time soon.

From posts on forums looking for Cafe Racer enthusiasts to theater performances, the cafe racer culture is all around and everywhere you look.

What is a “Cafe Racer”?

Typically, a Cafe Racer has been known as a type of motorcycle, the term is also used to describe a certain type of motorcyclists. The term started in the 1960’s in the UK from the Ton-up boys, a counterculture group. You could also find these guys in Italy, Germany and an abundance of other European countries. Cafe Racer’s were motorcycles that were used for short trips from one coffee bar to another.

The name “Ton-up boys” was derived from the fact that they would have a specific goal to drive along a certain route and try to return back to the cafe before a song would finish on a jukebox. The goal for the motorcyclist would be to reach at least 100 miles per hour which was referred to as “the ton,” hence the name “Ton-up boys”.

What Would Cafe Racers Be Like Today?

Cafe Racers are very much still alive, but now with the police diligently patrolling the safest streets, riders are somewhat restricted when it comes to full speed proficiency runs.

The most common comparable group of people would be bar hoppers. Since the Cafe Racers traveled from cafe bar to cafe bar on their journeys, bar hoppers do the exact same thing.

On a Friday or Saturday night, generally there will be at least one group of friends that will frequent several bars on a single strip, whether for discounted drinks or better music. Bar hoppers are very frequent in big cities, quite possibly as large as Cafe Racers are in Chicago.

Cafe Racer Clubs/Groups in Chicago

If you are one of the people who are interested in the Cafe Racer culture, there are plenty of clubs and people who are interested in the same things as you are! There are several showings of Cafe Racer culture films shown in various locations, there are also forums where you can speak with other Cafe Racer fanatics. The website CafeRacer.net is the perfect place to start your networking. On CafeRacer.net you can find out when Cafe Racer meets are happening and you can even obtain a few valuable friends if you are an avid poster. Either way, there are an abundance of places to get your name around and to meet other people.

Cafe Racers were a huge part of the Rockabilly culture in the UK when the culture was in its prime.

Over the years, fanatics of both the culture and the motorcycles themselves have been keeping it alive and trying to relive the same things that were done in the 1960’s. Chicago is known to be one of the most famous cities to participate in the Cafe Race/Ton-up Boys culture and the nightlife is even more alive than ever before…


Insuring your collectible or vintage motorcycle

As for insurance for your collectible motorcycle? You should be able to get Agreed Value coverage on a classic 1959 BSA Gold Star Catalina valued at $15,000 for somewhere around $25 a month, and that gives you the whole shooting match of coverage.

You can spend a lot less, but if you plan to ride the bikes in your collection, the above pricing is a reasonable approximation of what you can expect to pay.


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