Article & Photos By: Mikey Revolt
Originally Published In The April 2016 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
May 9th, 2015 in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, the heart of the rust belt, laid the backdrop for the very first ever Fuel Cleveland. Organized and created by Tyler Malinky (Lowbrow Customs) Jesse Basset (The Gasbox) and myself, Mikey Revolt (Forever The Chaos Life). We wanted to create a show in the Midwest that truly highlighted the artistic side of motorcycles and focused on the culture and lifestyle that surrounds it. The whole show had a laid-back atmosphere and everyone enjoyed hanging around all day long as they talked about motorcycles, art, photography and family. It was really great to see parents teaching their young ones about the bikes and art. This was a real highlight of the show in my eyes. We tried to invite a wide variety of bikes to showcase and highlight.
The bikes were from the Midwest and O East Coast and included rare exotic bikes, to innovative builds, to the rad choppers we all love. The bikes themselves are moving pieces of art and they have a rich history, not only as a machine, but as representatives of the builder who created and/or restored the bike. Bikes get overlooked so many times as just a machine or an engine. We wanted to highlight the true creativity that is involved when it comes to making a custom bike. Some of my favorite bikes that were in the show were Jeremy Cupp’s Ducati/ Buell Blast/Triumph hybrid and Jason Sheets pantry find Knuckle head. With over 30 bikes inside and hundreds outside, the show had motorcycles of every kind for every type of enthusiast. It was truly a great sight to see so many people ripping around town on their bikes and packs of motorcycles parked at some of my favorite restaurants and bars.
During the show I kept hearing how cool the radiator stands were. They were a lucky last minute idea that really just made sense. Cliff, the guy that owned the warehouse happened to pick up a few hundred of these radiators from a school that was being rebuilt. The day before set up He said, “I knew these would come in handy one day, you should put bikes on top of them.” Moving a couple hundred radiators with a dolly is never fun but in the end it sure made the bikes in the show stand out and gave off the rust belt feeling we were looking for. I think we will always hear stories about those damn radiators. Photography captures a moment in time and there are so many amazing photographers in the motorcycle world. We wanted to highlight the culture, passion, and beautiful imagery they all seem to capture so well. Not only was the work of the artists hanging on fences throughout the warehouse, but the artists themselves were walking around and taking photos of each other’s work throughout the day. I’ve been to so many art shows where they only have one or two pieces per artist especially if there is a collective group of artists showcasing and none of the artist are even at the show.
I said, “f#@k that,” let’s have 10 or more amazing pieces from each artist and really showcase the current motorcycle culture along with having everyone present to represent their work. I really feel there was a great response from the crowds to this part of the show. We also wanted to highlight some of the painters in the industry from our surrounding areas. What better way to showcase their skills during the show than to have them paint up some bitchin helmets. Biltwell Inc. was kind enough to donate some Gringo helmets for the artists to paint. There was no intended theme to what the artists could paint but I will say there were plenty of flames on a lot of those helmets. Josh Scott painted one of my favorites. It was a rendition of an Evel Knievel helmet worn in 1975 when he made a jump (and failed) at Wembley Stadium in the UK. He crashed pretty hard. Instead of the Evel iconic lettering, Josh changed it to Fuel which was pretty darn cool. We can’t thank them enough and it really was a standout section of the show.
For me personally Fuel Cleveland is a ton of hard work, dedication, and planning but in the end the reward is worth everything to me. Seeing the builders and artists shine, showcasing their work to new audiences and bringing motorcycle life and culture to Cleveland for an entire weekend makes it all worth it. I want to thank everyone that has supported this show from the beginning. A big thank you to my partners in this Tyler and Jesse. Without your motivation and help this show wouldn’t be possible. Thank you to all the builders and artists that committed to the shows! Last but not least thank you to Kat, Kris, Jessica, Long Hair, Gorby, Tim, Gorgeous Greg, Jim, Tony, and anyone else that has helped with planning and set up. I’m truly grateful and honored to have so many amazing friends and family supporting this dream and I promise we will continue to make this show the best it can be each and every year. This year Fuel Cleveland is going to be held on May 28, 2016 and we are completely dedicated to making it bigger and better than last year’s show. We have a new venue that is a surprise and we will be announcing the location soon. Also, we are planning on showcasing double the amount of bikes. There will be a whole new batch of photographers along with a new way to display their work. The invited painters are going to be painting Lowbrow Customs Frisco Sportster tanks this year, which I’m excited to see. Make sure to check fuelcleveland. com for all of the latest news and the invited list for the 2016 show. You can also check out our site for more photos and a mini documentary covering last year’s show.