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The Story of THE BIKER CALENDAR

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The idea struck me a while ago, that a Calendar which featured Bikers from various Motorcycle Clubs across the UK similar to 'The Calendar Girls' would be:

a: A good idea

b: Funny

c: Interesting to produce

When THE BIKER GUIDE web-site was born in early 2009, it was decided that part of the plan for the first year of trading would be to produce THE BIKER CALENDAR, with a charity donation from each one sold given to NABD. The hunt then began to source all sorts of information and groups to be involved.

Contrary to popular belief this process takes over six months to prepare, work on and produce. Here follows the story...

Initial preparations

We asked our focus group if they think it is a good idea, which consisted of best mates, mother and husband. Answers included 'How funny', 'Yeah baby', 'Can I be in it', 'Very creative' and a comment from the Victor Meldrew Biker, which we put down to the time of the month (and shall not repeat). So going with the majority we began.

Contact various printers from local businesses to web-based to a company who was recommended, to request prices and samples of A3, A4 and A5 size. On receiving the samples we then sourced envelopes that fitted said Calendar and then hot footed it to the Post Office to price the cost of postage to the UK, Europe and beyond. The decision is made to go with A4 size for the ease of delivery, that the Calendar will arrive unfolded (Hey, it could be in the post for weeks going to the USA, Canada and Singapore), the image would look good on an A4 size and also the cost of p&p for this size would be an acceptable add on.

Bikers who want to get naked

The calendar would feature Bikers from around the UK,with volunteers virtually naked and carefully posed with their bikes, to avoid any embarrassment or envy and artfully taken in black and white. The main ethos whilst producing the Calendar would be: 'Its all about the comedy value'.

We needed eleven clubs, some random Bikers, plus front cover ladies and through thebikerguide.co.uk, e-shots, the wonderful facebook and good old word of mouth we began to ask for Motorcycle Clubs who would like to be involved.

We quickly began to receive e-mails from people who wanted to be involved and then we had to co-ordinate where they were based, when they were available and where the photograph could be taken i.e.: in a place we would not all get arrested.

From April of 2009 until mid August we travelled to visit various Biker Clubs and Rallies across the UK, to take photographs including The Royal British Legion Riders Branch, Northern Harley Club, FELP, The Wrecking Crew, Unwanted MCC, Royal Oak Rejects and Salutation MCC. We also managed to get some budding 'David Bailey wannabes' to take some pictures from areas we could not get to, which included NABD members in the South, Bristol & Avon Roadrunners MCC and Jesters MCC.

On attending the photo shoot for the RBLRB in the Midlands, where all the men had misread the brief where it stated 'Virtually undressed' and on asking how we prepared for the shoot, on saying "We set the shoot by placing the Motorcycles in a formation and then you get undressed down to your underwear and then get into place", I was met by blank looks,and a bit of mumblings until one brave chap said "We thought we had to be naked love, so we have nothing on underneath". On keeping my composure and always the professional, my eyes were averted throughout from the 'dangly bits' and no comments were made. Afterwards when the photograph was taken and we enjoyed a much deserved drink, I was asking where everyone had come from to take part, with a few people coming from the South of England. I innocently (and now infamously) said "I hear that the RBLR are bigger down South than up North"!

During these months we did receive more applications than we actually produced, where some people got giddy and put their club forward to be included, without checking that all were prepared to strip! Sadly a few had to withdraw their offer or simply went awol, so as you can imagine some times it was like wading through mud as we filled the schedule for the Calendar months with clubs, deleted clubs, added a club, deleted a club and so on...

Find a graphic designer who can touch up the bums of Bikers

So how do you ask a graphic designer to do the job in hand - well it went something like this:

"We are to produce a Calendar featuring Bikers in various state of undress, imagine The Calendar Girls meets Wild Hogs, where we need the image changed into black & white, colour added to certain parts, some items of clothing removed, some 'Baby Bikers' hidden, some airbrushing, some heads changed (naughty Bikers not looking at the camera) - Oh and four ladies cut from separate images on a blue screen type photograph and put on an open road holding up cards for the year."

Surprisingly we received many people wanting to take the job, (maybe they wanted the challenge) so we ploughed through the fifty responses to see what work they had done previously, if anything was similar to what we wanted, how creative they were, asked for a few samples, until we finally we found our guy.

Transform the photographs into works of art

Of course it would have been easier to just produce a Calendar with colour or just black and white photographs, as they were taken, with people looking elsewhere, lots of private parts hanging out and no added extra, however that would have been easy, boring and not really what the ethos of THE BIKER GUIDE is about. In fact, we wanted each image and the Calendar as a whole, to be individual for each club, for each photograph to show the personality of those included and ultimately for the Calendar to flow from the cover until December 2010 to produce a piece of Biker memorabilia and something people would want to hang on their walls for 12 months!

The images would be sent through to the graphic designer with instructions such as "Take off bra from lady on the left", "Put sticker over ladies right boob", "Cut man and bike out of picture, turn around and place on road", "Take head off man on the right from image 1 and place on image 2 where they are looking away" and my personnel favorite "Check if anything is showing underneath all the men's hands".

What a crazy idea

We realised that THE BIKER CALENDAR would not appeal to everyone's taste, although we knew that those involved loved the idea and with many Bikers having a wicked sense of humour (How many wear fancy dress at rallies?) we hoped to sell enough to make a healthy donation to NABD.

A donation of £321 was given to Rick Hulse at this years You've Been Nabded, at Astel Park, Chelford on May 8th, from sales of THE BIKER CALENDAR 2010. In accepting the cheque Rick said that "When people start up in business they have a lot of things on their minds and goals they have in place. In the first year of business for THE BIKER GUIDE, they have donated this cheque, as NABD is important to them".

Sharon from THE BIKER GUIDEtalked about how she had a crazy idea a long time ago to produce a Calendar in the style of the Calendar Girls, with Bikers... although she was glad the calendar was not 'Scratch and Sniff'! During this speech she thanked all those involved, everyone who bought the calendar and also thanked Rick and NABD for supporting the idea and for never saying it was a crazy idea.

THE BIKER CALENDAR 2011

For the 2011 edition, we asked all those who wanted to be involved to fill in a simple on-line form so we could gain some extra information, such as how many wanted to be included, what the mix of male and female would be, where clubs were based, if images could be supplied and when, so that we could organise the production schedule to run more smoothly. However we experienced once again a few clubs who withdrew the offer or simply disappeared when we put into place a brief which included how naked people had to be!

As always at THE BIKER GUIDE we listen to our visitors who asked for more nakedness and more ladies and for the 2011 edition we have also injected more humour and many interesting touches.

All in all, 102 Bikers in various forms of undress have taken part for the 2011 edition, tastefully taken, artfully produced with lots of humorous touches and colourful highlights and features Motorcycle events for the 2011 season.

Those who dared to bare include members of NABD, RBLRB, 4 Fs MCC, Southport Original Cruisers, But Why? Wrecking Crew, Knights of the Shire MOC, Westhoughton MCC, Jesters MCC and The A59ers RC

In association with THE BIKER GUIDE web-site the calendar is already selling like pints at a Biker Rally, with a limited print run.

£1 of every Calendar sold is being donated to NABD.

See here:

THE BIKER GUIDE

The web-site is aimed at anyone with an interest in Motorcycles and the Biker scene. Including information on Rallies, Shows, Clubs, News, Biker Pubs, Clothing, Biker Friendly Accommodation, Camping, Custom & Parts, Services for Events, Touring and much, much more, all on one regular updated and user friendly site.

The web-site was launched in January of 2009 and has already gained a loyal audience and has quickly become a favourite with many 'Bikers'.

Article produced by Sharon Rollisson-Slaughter on behalf of THE BIKER GUIDE

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