Bikes, bikes, bikes (and more bikes) is one way to sum up The Motorcycle Room situated on Thesen Island Knysna. It is like an elaborate display cabinet of Colin Stunden’s private collection of treasured motorbikes, a few restored ones and here and even some ‘borrowed’ bikes.
The aim of the The Motorcycle Room – and the heart behind it – is clear upon arrival. There is a note by Stunden (who used to be a competitive racer): “This room is my happy place. Although I have modern and new bikes here, the main aim of this room is to take old and forgotten bikes that would have been headed for the dump, and save them. Some are restored and some are left just the way they are. Remember that 50 you rode to school on in the wind and the rain? It may be here too. There are many people who collect rare priceless bikes that you and I have never ridden and never will. This is not that place. This place is about memories and old friends that we wish we had never sold. I hope those memories come back to you while you are here. This is a living collection. These bikes get ridden. So if one or two are dirty, it’s because I haven’t had time to wash them yet. If it’s in very bad condition, it’s waiting to be restored. This collection grows by the day. I am forever hunting for the next barn find! So if your old friend is not here, keep coming back, who knows I may just find it. Until then… please enjoy my collection.”
The Motorcycle Room is all about the stories. Whether you are a petrol head, a motorhead, or just a head, it is impossible not to get mesmerised by the nostalgia as Colin tells you about the motorcycles. Some of the bikes are ‘borrowed’; the owner has parked his steed in The Motorcycle Room for a few months and then, when visiting South Africa again, they just wheel off on another adventure. But every bike has a story; be it of historical value, one that has been built-up, a racing memory or a story of road tripping all across Africa.
The main aim of this room is to take old and forgotten bikes that would have been headed for the dump, and save them
There are stories.
Like the story of Copper (who still gets ridden just like the majority of the motorcycles on display).
“Copper was built by Gavin Venter. The challenge was to build something really cool out of something really horrible. Enter the Suzuki GN 250 Delivery Bike. Purchase price: R1500. The bike is dedicated to the barnstormers: WW1 Pilots who did stunts after the war flying planes through barns at high speed. The ignition switch is from one of those planes. This is one of the most prized bikes in the collection and gets ridden often.”
Colin tells tales of fathers coming to The Motorcycle Room with their sons and saying, “when I was your age…”.
Then there is also the story of the older gentlemen who came in, who used to ride together to school back in the day, who got on the bikes and pretended that they’re racing each other.
And the other man who just wanted to see the lights go on again for one last time.
You can find The Motorcycle Room on Thesen Island, Knysna (click here for Facebook Page and map). Entry is R100 for adults and R50 for scholars and pensioners.