London borough mayor passionate about motorcycles

Published: 19 September 2008

Britain’s youngest borough mayor has a dark secret. He’s mad about motorcycles, and wants to do all he can to encourage people to ride.

Andrew Johnson, 28, is the mayor of Hammersmith and Fulham borough council, but the post offers no executive powers, meaning all he can to do to punt bikes up the agenda is bend the ears of the councillors.

“I’m always keen to promote biking as a means of getting around. I’m definitely for allowing access to bus lanes, but I don’t have the authority to make it policy,” he told MCN.

Johnson has been a keen biker since he was 14, and competes in motocross events in Cumbria and Scotland whenever he has time. “My garage is mostly full of off-road bikes. I’ve got around 7 DOTs, in various states of repair,” he told MCN.

His love of bikes was passed down from his father, and was confirmed when he got a Saturday job at Wulfsport Clothing when he was a boy.

Although he was brought up on a diet of off-roading, Johnson says he has a passion for any classic bike. He recently bought himself a 1962 Velocette Viper 350, and is in the process of getting it ready for the road.

“There are a few jobs to do on it before I can get it taxed and tested, including fitting a new battery and new tyres. I hope to have it on the road by Christmas.” Other work he plans to carry out include tidying up the paint work, and some top-end engine work to make the bike run sweetly.

Johnson’s determination was boosted by a visit to the Ace Café, to see off the Rockers Reunion run to Brighton in mid-September. “The event was great. It really helped to show the positive side of biking, and encouraged me to get on with the job of getting the Velocette on the road.”

Mark Wilsmore, boss of the Ace Café, said he was delighted that Johnson came along to meet with fellow bikers. “He looked like a school prefect,” he joked, referring to Johnson’s get-up of mayoral chains and a pair of jeans. “But seriously, to have the mayor of any London borough come and support us was great.”