Ace Café stalwart Dave Bishop takes his last ride

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The motorcycle community said farewell to Ace Café regular Dave Bishop, 82, last month in a ceremony that mirrored his life; full of humour, anecdotes and bikes galore.

Dave had been a regular at the famous London café since he was a child, first arriving on the back of friend Terry Charles’ motorcycle aged 12 after giving him his pocket money.

It wasn’t long before Dave was riding to the café himself after the purchase of his first motorcycle at 16, as his daughter, Julie Bishop, told MCN.

“My dad was bike mad, he saved every penny he had to buy a bike, on his 16th birthday he literally slept outside John Miller’s shop on Bows Road, in the doorway because he wanted to look at the bike that he was going to buy and be close to it.”

From that point on Dave and bikes were constant bed fellows as he made a living as a despatch rider for the BBC.

He also raced and would take the neighbourhood kids to Brands Hatch to watch, guiding many of them to channel their energies into positive, motorcycle related endeavours.

Julie recalled one such trip: “We would pile into his Thames van to go to watch. He would pack two loafs of jam sandwiches, two bottles of coke, a huge box of wriggles chewing gum.

“All the kids would tuck in it was like the last supper, 12 mouths swigging a bottle of coke and backwash, stuffing our faces with jam, there was no such thing as health and safety, and we had eaten the lot before we had got to Tottenham.

Dave would take the local kids to circuits to watch him race

“When we arrived in the paddock our gang of kids aged seven to 10, would be all over the bikes, the smells, the noise was super exciting.

“Dad would do his nut as we would help ourselves to his toolbox and try to tighten up a few nuts and bolts and nearly get burnt on the engines. It was chaos.

“He often got 1st and second place when he raced but we used to get bored and make our own entertainment chasing horses in an adjoining field.

“Dad had just completed a race coming 1st when over the tannoy a steward said, “well done Dave Bishop and Gary Finlay for coming first, can you now go to the stewards area where your 12 ‘kids’ have been captured by a farmer for terrorising horses”. He was not amused.”

Despite his racing successes, Dave never took life too seriously, always pulling stunts or getting into strange situations completely by chance such as the time he turned up at a registry office to meet a film crew and ended up one of two witnesses to the marriage between crooner Johnnie Ray and Judy Garland.

The DHL coffin stands for Dave Has Left

Julie said: “He said it was the weirdest experience ever and he felt like he was in a dream.”

Even his sending off was filled with humour with condolences sent from across the motorcycle community.

Mark Wilsmore, Managing Director of the Ace Café, speaking to MCN, said: “Well known and loved by many, and with whom it was always such a pleasure to ‘chew the fat’ with over the years.

“I ask that should opportunity arise that you please pass on the condolences of all at the Ace to Dave’s family and friends, he will be so missed.”

And how did Dave decide to take his last ride? In coffin made to look like a DHL package, with two eyes peering out of a letter box.

Why DHL? Dave Has Left, and he will be sorely missed by the motorcycle community.