Welcome to the Vincent Owners Club Chicago Section Web Thing.

This New Blog style page is our "official" site. We still have an old site at http://chicagovoc.com which will remain until our subscription lapses but will not be updated. Hopefully we will start to update this site more regularly and the blog style will allow any section members who wish to post articles pictures etc. The hope is that we can keep the site more current ..and interesting!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Friday, January 10, 2014

2014 Massacre Information

That time has rolled around again and the Chicago Section is pleased to announce that we will be holding the St. Vincent Day's Massacre (to give it it's full title) at Morrie's Place in Ringwood, Illinois. Thanks to Ed Zender the owner of  Morrie's Place for agreeing to host us once again. Here below are some details.


Morrie's Place, 5410 Austin Court, Ringwood, Illinois 60072.  tel. 815.653.7000


Saturday March 1st. 2014 from about 4.00 p.m. on


Go to the Morrie's Place site at www.morriesplacecycle.com  and go to "contact" on the home page for a map. BTW while your'e at the site take a tour of it. Lots of good motorcycle stuff.

This year we are pleased to know that Francois Grosset and his wife will be guests at the Massacre. They are excited to come over from France for the event. As you may know Francois has long been a very active Vincnet owner in France and also makes and sells the electric start kit for the Vincent..

As ever we will be providing food in the form a hot buffet around 5.30- 6.00 p.m. Bring your own drinks. Cost will be around $15-20 per head for the meal with kids under 12 years old free.

The section would be grateful for any donations that you can make toward defraying the cost of travel and accommodations for Francois and his wife. Just contact Glenn Shriver, Neil Donovan or myself at the event. Thanks.

Glenn Shriver will be holding his annual pre massacre "soiree" on Friday 28th at his house, 3121 N. Spaulding Ave, Chicago 60618.  Contact him for any further detail on 773.478.8612

I will post any further details as they arise.

We hope as many as possible can make it and look forward to seeing you.

Friday, November 27, 2009

2010 St. Vincent Day Massacre

The 2010 massacre (34th) will be held:
  1. Where? Urschel's Friendly Enfield Emporium on Goose Island in Chicago, IL.
  2. When? Saturday 30th January.2010
  3. Time? Early afternoon till the last person leaves (earlier and earlier as we get older and older!).
  4. Directions? See map below.

A practice session for the Massacre will be held on Friday 29th of January at the honorable S.O.'s house starting around sixish in the evening. You can contact Glenn Shriver by e-mail (glennshriver@sbcglobal.net) for more details. Some limited accommodation is usually available from locals for any out of towners. Again Glenn can give you details and phone numbers.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Grimeca 4LS brake fitted to a Vincent

Herve Hamon in France designed and made his own "kit " to allow him to fit a Gremica 4LS front brake to the standard Girdraulics on his red Rapide.

Here is a copy of the plans if you wish to make one

Friday, December 26, 2008

About the Chicago Vincent Owners Section

First a little history of the section’s formation as told in a great yarn by the S.O. Glenn Shriver…

When we graduated from the University of Illinois in 1967 (having taken 7 years to complete a 5-year course in architectural design), the Army recruiting officers were breathing down our neck, dying to send us to Viet Nam. We decided it would be a good idea to leave the country temporarily and submitted our application for a year of post-graduate study at the Architectural Association School of Architecture, Bedford Square, London, England – the oldest school of Architecture in Great Britain. Much to our surprise, we were accepted! We were the only Yank in the post-graduate class. [Later we learned that the only reason we were accepted over several other applicants was that when asked for a photo to include with the application, the only one we had was without a necktie. Thinking that would never do for such a prestigious institution, we cleverly drew a rep’. striped tie onto the black & white phone with red & blue pens!] What a lovely, terrific time what was, with very little real study – more like a year’s long series of lectures. In the old British colonial manner of thinking (“The Tropical School”) consisted of some 30 students from 27 different countries who got together and discussed indigenous architectural types and climate. After wending my way home to no. 94 Hemingford Road, Islington, one evening after a long ride on one of London’s red, double-decker buses, we complained to our French landlady. Her boyfriend offered to lend us his ‘old motor bike’. We were given the impression that it was some kind of scooter. The next drizzly Saturday morning, we drove in his ex-post office van to his father’s house at Primrose Hill. It was lying on its side in the back garden with weeds growing up through the cylinder’s fins. As we tried picking it up, the saddle came off in our hands. But we got it upright and wheeled it through the house and into the street on its totally perished and flat tires. We had never had much interest in motorbikes in Urbana, IL, as we had no money and our junker bicycle got us everywhere we needed to go just fine. But something else was required in the metropolis that was London. We spent a couple of weeks disassembling, cleaning, and reassembling the various components in our bedroom, all without the proper books or tools. As the work progressed, we learned that we had been lent a 1949 Norton 490cc cast iron Model 7 with ‘garden gate’ rear suspension. This was the first of the Norton parallel twins. The grandfather of the ‘Featherbed’ models with ‘Road holder’ forks. To shorten the story somewhat, we eventually got the thing running and rode it to school and to work, and on short journeys around southern England the rest of that year (1967-68). The following summer, our school chum, Charlie Wickham on his 5-speed Royal Enfield Continental GT250, and we on the Norton rode through France to the Mediterranean Sea and back, visiting friends. The Norton was always fairly ‘iffy’ – absolutely no lights, a clutch that would stay in adjustment for a day, and a totally useless front brake – but we managed to get where we needed to go – usually.

And we were definitely bitten by the motorcycling bug.

But unfortunately, when we reapplied for a 2nd year of ‘study’, our Uncle Sam had different plans and we ended up spending the next 2 years in the US Army’s Corps of Engineers – 365 days of which were spent in Viet Nam replacing a 2nd LT. who had just been “fragged”. It was during this period that we bought a 1946 1,200 cc Indian Chief (engine, frame, wheels, tanks and little else for the princely sum of $250. We rode it in this condition – after purchasing a saddle, floorboards, generic fenders, an exhaust system and other essentials. It was a flawless starter with excellent automotive lights.

Upon completion of my ‘service’, we returned to England in the spring of 1971. We met up with good old Charlie Wickerbasket again. During the first week, we were perusing ‘Exchange & Mart’ – a weekly Brit. Want ads paper – for a motorcycle. We had narrowed the search down to either a Vincent or a Velo. Charlie opined that a Vincent would be too much for us. Ha! It was a ‘small bike’ compared to the Chief. There were 3 Vins on offer that week in the southern half of Britain: a much too expensive Shadow in London, a Shadow way up North, and an “immac.” Rapide in Wimbledon for £250. (Of course the pound was more like or over $3 then. We phoned the seller in Wimbledon and he said he had already had one ‘time waster’ who brought his wife and she spent the whole time berating her poor husband. We were invited to come look at the Rapide the following day at noon.

The ‘immac.’ Rapide had sat outside its entire life. It had also been burdened with a sidecar its entire life – until the seller took it off and sold it. F10AB/1/6153 was hardly ‘immaculate’, but it ran like the proverbial scalded cat. The seller had planned to chopperize it (de rigueur for the period) but decided to buy an ex-WWII Harley 750cc side valve to chop instead. We told the seller (a dead-ringer for Ogri) that if he would give us a lift to the bank in Berkley Square, we would give him £225 – cash. Bob was our Uncle. We were treated to quite a hair raising, peg sparking, thrilling thrash across town to our bank, whereupon Mr. Seller soon had more money in his ‘maulers’ than he had ever seen before in his life. And we had an old, beat up, and very clapped out, 1951 Series ‘C’ Vincent Rapide that we couldn’t even start. To better cement Anglo-American relations, he gave us a ride back home to Hemingford Road and he returned to Wimbledon via the Tube one very happy bloke. We, on the other hand, began to have near terminal pangs of buyer’s remorse, as we had spent our entire life’s savings on this 20-year old rust bucket that we couldn’t even start! What have we done?!?!

We spiffed it up a wee bit and rode it as every day transport for the next 15 months that we were in England. We discovered that there was a VOC and started attending Section Nights of the North London Section at ‘The Vine’, Highgate Road, Kentish Town, London NW5 every Monday night. [That would make another whole story in itself, but this is the ‘short version’.] We rode the bike to work at an architect’s office in a back alley at 57d Jamestown Road, Camden Town and each Monday to a construction job site meeting at Minster Lovell west of Woodstock in Oxfordshire. (It rained every Monday that year.)

As the British govt. was not issuing work permits at that time, (“too many good British lads out of work,”), we had to leave the country every 3-months and re-enter the country to get our passports re-stamped. We used this as the perfect excuse for weeklong trips to France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, etc. But eventually HMS Customs got wise to us. It was obvious that we were not independently wealthy. We must be working, and said, like the Raven, “never more.” We were unwanted. So we packed our bags, and took one last very memorable trip to Ireland via Wales, etc., and came back home.

The Miller lights were habitually ‘unserviceable’ on the Vincent. Before leaving, we bought a ‘new’ rebuilt dynamo at Deeprose Bros. in south London, but a proper regulator was not to be had for love nor money. As soon as we got settled in Chicago, I started looking around for a Miller regulator. (As scarce then as they are now.) At that time, the VOC – which we had joined back in ‘The Smoke’ – published an annual Members’ Address Book. We looked up and were pleasantly surprised to see some 7 fellow enthusiasts in the Chicago area. We started phoning around and soon found that they a.) did not know each other, b.) had never gotten together, and c.) weren’t very helpful. Having just come from the UK where the Vincent owners were pretty close – for reasons of survival – we thought this ‘Chicago Situation’ was just not on. Towards the end of 1973, we sent a postcard to each of the listed members suggesting we get together at our basement apartment in the heart of Lincoln Park the following Sunday afternoon, to natter about motorcycles in general and Vincents in particular. Lo and behold, we believe six of the seven attended, and had a relatively good time. The seventh – Neil Donovan – had washed his bike and it wouldn’t start. A couple of other non-Vincent owners also attended who were enthusiastic – or sympathetic towards Vins.

At that first get together, it was decided that we would a.) approach the VOC in England for Section-ship, and b.) promise that we would not get overly ‘clubby’. This we believe we have achieved.

At that time we thought we had every last Vincent and owner in the area pegged. But over the years they kept coming out of the woodwork to the point that we now number some 3 dozen enthusiastic souls. We were subsequently accepted into the Club with open arms. Our first Section Review appeared in MPH301 – February 1974. In MPF302, then Overseas Rep, Ed Garbett welcomed us warmly into the Club.

And that was how it all got started.

…followed by just a little “philosophy” and our activities…

The Chicago section is first and foremost an affiliate of the worldwide Vincent-HRD Owner’s Club based in the U.K. Much of the enjoyment of section membership lies in the friendship, communication and common interests shared with other sections and their members the world over.

Locally we like to consider ourselves as an open and inclusive section. We are happy and pleased to share rides, ideas, time and entertainment with the larger Chicago area motorcycling fraternity, particularly those with an interest in older motorcycles, As our S.O. states above we try not to be too “clubby”. With the almost prohibitive cost of purchasing a Vincent these days it’s hard enough to attract new younger members and we are keen to make ourselves as open and available as possible to anyone who is lucky enough to get to own one.

We are of course into all things Vincent-HRD but, wherever and whenever possible, riding Vincents is our main aim, providing of course we can keep them running! We hold several local rallies during the riding season. The “B” ride is perhaps the best known and run every year in April in honor of the launching of the Series B Vincent just after the Second World War. Some section members also host informal local rallies during the summer usually culminating in food and beverage at a member’s house or local pub.

We have a section night every Wednesday night (location currently under review) for general chitchat and update. However our largest social event, held over a weekend early in the year, is the St. Vincent Day “massacre”, It starts on a Friday evening with a party at the S.O.s house followed by breakfast Saturday morning and culminating with an informal dinner and entertainment on Saturday evening. We are lucky enough to have many outside members of other sections join us for this “do” and we like to get a dignitary (club official) from the VOC in the U.K. to join us whenever possible.

The Chicago section issues and mails out worldwide a newsletter called “STOP!” two or three times a year. It includes not only news and information on the Section’s activities but also an entertaining potpourri of the technical, anecdotal, arcane and humorous along with photos in glorious black and white! Articles and tidbits are submitted by VOC members from all over the world. Well worth the modest subscription of just $18 for six issues.

When we remember (which we generally do) we hold an AGM to discuss and plan activities and events as well as elect (more often reaffirm) the section officers. They are as follows:

Section Organizer: Glenn Shriver
Secretary/Treasurer: Neil Donovan
MPH correspondent: Paul Holdsworth
Membership Secretary: Joe Block
STOP! Editor: Glenn Shriver
STOP photo caption Editor: Rick Schunk
Web Page Editor: Tim Holcroft

2009 St. Vincent's Day Massacre

The annual Massacre is set for Saturday 31 January 2009.

Location is Urchel's Friendly Enfield Emporium at the Goose Island Garage.

Time is more or less mid afternoon onwards. Details on food etc. to follow.

For those in town on Friday evening, 30th Jan. there will be a "Massacre Practice" at the SO's house.

Also on Saturday morning we will have a Massacre breakfast at a location to be announced.