Let us start out with a little discussion on respect. First off respect is earned and given. One must earn the privilege of receiving respect for her or his accomplishments, dedication, integrity and stature. More importantly one must never feel their social status is too elite or just be too cool to give respect where due. Respect should never be expected but always be appreciated. In my previous articles I have been talking about everything we need to do to pass on the traditions and promote the future of motorcycling. There are those who have grown and matured in our industry and understand the value of the personal expression, freedom of choice and unique comraderies that motorcycling embraces. More recently the custom culture that combines the lifestyle, art, and function of motorcycling into an experience has attracted a new generation of moto enthusiasts.
One of the intrinsic values of respect is the appreciation of the past. Over the past few years there seems to have been a lack of appreciation for the evolution of our industry. There seems to have been a focus on the erratic growth of the ’90s and the less-than-earned reputations of some so-called master builders. However, as the new rebellious builders developed their styles, they often imitated those of the ’60s and ’70s. This created sort of a rift between the millennials and the old guard. We must appreciate the young for their creativity and appreciation of craftsmanship and of course those who blazed the trails of unsanctioned racing, two-wheel road trips and choppers built with handmade parts have the best stories to pass on and teach us. I am pleased to state as of late this rift is melting away as motorcycle enthusiasts, builders and racers alike have come to realize the importance of us all working together to protect our rights and our future. We must also remember a different type of respect, the respect of our adversaries. There are those who want motorcycles legislated out of existence and would like nothing better than to divide and conquer.
There are many virtuous efforts going on to celebrate the special world of motorcycles. Sugar Bear, designer of numerous custom bikes and of course that famous Sugar Bear long rocker neutral-handling springer, is now putting his efforts into a Chopper Museum. Located out past the Pappy Hoel Campground in Sturgis, Sugar Bear will be hosting presentations and get togethers about the history of the chopper society. He is inviting all to stop by and enjoy a low-key day sharing very cool stories and viewing a lot of unique custom bikes. Another great effort comes from Brittney Olsen of 20th Century Racing and her Spirit of Sturgis Vintage Festival. When you attend these races at the historic Sturgis Half Mile you will see antique board trackers, vintage hand-shift racers and Big Twin go-fast machines of the ’60s. Prepare to step back in time for an exciting day at the races. While we are talking about races we can’t forget Billy Lane’s Sons of Speed board track-style racing. Billy not only organizes these races but also restores engines and complete bikes from the teens for other racers. As many rallies struggle to evolve the Republic of Texas Rally has invested in developing a race track and program, introduced the Kustom Kulture Artisan Bike Show, initiated the new one-day pass and broadened their entertainment offerings.
The revitalization of the Cherokee Blue Ridge Run with the addition of racing and the AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building is sure to be a hit. The Buffalo Chip is leaving nothing out with racing, bike shows and the biggest names on stage ensuring their future. On the custom scene the International Motorcycle Shows feature the Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Shows open to all ages, styles and brands. The Ultimate Builder Shows was one of the first custom shows in the U.S. to recognize the expansion of custom bike building beyond the traditional V-twin market.
Speaking of beyond the traditional V-twin market we really need to pay respect to the lifestyle custom bike shows like Born Free, Mama Tried, Garage Brewed and the Handbuilt Show. They have figured out how to appeal to current motorcycle enthusiasts and a whole new group of potential millennial enthusiasts by creating must-attend social events. I have particularly enjoyed the way Alan and Stefan of Revival Cycles expanded on the Moto GP to create a super event.
We all know society is changing and there is a movement back to the urban lifestyle. One man’s unselfish response to this trend is Brian Schaffran of Skidmark Garage in Cleveland. He has created a community garage not only supporting local builder members but educational programs for the underprivileged. He also has hosted Fuel Cleveland, another great happening. We can’t forget Jason Paul Michaels who not only started the Standard Motorcycle Co. but has worked hard to promote the value of community garages in the current urban environment. How about the paint shows created by Dave and Jody Perewitz? They created another way to appreciate the art of motorcycles that is now being imitated by others.
The list goes on of individuals doing their part to promote and protect the future of motorcycling. I want to take this opportunity to pay respect to those mentioned and all the others that unselfishly work for our benefit. I would also like to pay respect to all those planning to launch new and exciting initiatives for the benefit of motorcycling. I respect all of readers and their efforts no matter how big or small; it all matters.