Article By: Jason Hallman
Originally Published In The October-November 2020 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
When the Corona Virus broke, I had to promise myself that I wouldn’t get worked up. I instantly knew that this summer would be extraordinarily different f r o m 2019. No matter what the near future held, we all returned home from Daytona Bike Week with a different outlook on 2020 than we went into that week with. From the moment that we landed in Daytona that first Sunday, talk of Coronavirus was being uttered at what could almost be regarded as only a “whisper.” As the days passed and the week plodded along, the talk of the day went from an undertone to an allout discussion (read: debate) about the truth of the matter and what was going to happen. I kept telling myself one thing; “you can’t catch Corona if you only drink Jack & Cokes!” LOL All kidding aside, no one knew what to expect. About halfway through the week, my pal, who was visiting from England for the week, got food poisoning in our hotel room. It was my first “corona scare,” and luckily (for me, not him), it was the oysters. I had one or two of them too, so I spent a few hours “concerned,” but I never got sick, so I guess all was well.
Bike Week 2020 was a smash! All of the requisite people and events were in place to make 2020 an exceptional event. Once the week moved along, though, there was more and more talk of the virus and what probable outcomes there would be going forward. By Friday evening, most all of the events had been canceled. On Main Street, vendors started closing up shop, and the mayor announced that on Saturday, bike week 2020 would be no more. Some folks save up all year to attend Bike Week in the great state of Florida (and it really is a great place) while others simply want away from the snow and the cold weather. If you are in the industry, Daytona is the first event of the new year and feels more like a reunion than anything else. It is a chance to see what your friends have accomplished since Sturgis, give hugs, and share a drink and a laugh. Instagram keeps us all on the same wavelength, but breaking bread is what makes us family. We have some of the best events in this industry. People know this, and that is why they come from all over the world to attend them. My Dutch friend, Hans, and his beautiful wife, Maryane, come each year from the Netherlands. The editor of Kopteri and the folks from Wild come from Europe. Heavy Duty comes all the way from “Down Under” to report back what they all see in the states. Not to mention, locals like Bill Dodge, Warren Lane, and Eric from FNA cycles and myself from Florida all attend. Not just because it is close but because it is a tradition.
This event and others like it are important. We all went home with an Indian Larry question mark looming in our heads, not knowing what the next three to six months would hold. What would our summer look like? Will product be able to ship? What does “essential” actually mean? Can we go to Sturgis? What is “social distancing”? To be honest, I do not like the “new norm,” but like it or not, we are all somehow getting through it, and most of us fantastically I might add. Paul Wideman is innovating new products almost daily. Jeff G Holt is proceeding with as many innovative events as he can think up. Chris and Heather Callen are working as hard (or harder than they ever have) to make some moves to bring our Cycle Source family into the digital age. Xavier Muriel is moving into his first commercial location. Billy Lane has moved into his new facility, and Sons of Speed promises to keep us on the edge of our seats.
Warren Lane is holding it down in Miami, showing everyone how it gets done. Bill Dodge is keeping his head down and fastidiously making magic happen in his workshop. John Jessup is leading the charge of the new era of Pro Street muscle bikes that look as good as they run. Somewhere, Tom Edison and Kurt Peterson are making FXR’s faster and handle better while Anthony Keeling is back to building frames. Jesse James is working 25 hours a day building motorcycles, cars, producing (and starring in) the reboot of Monster Garage for Discovery Channel. Boosted Brad is busy painting motorcycles and producing new parts too. Jace Hudson is still hating on dudes with trailers, but he is producing one of the best podcasts on the interwebs. Bobby Seeger is still posting pictures of ice cream, beards, and half-naked selfies. At the same time, Shovelhead Austin is steady filling Instagram with a history lesson on the NYC chopper scene since the late 1960s. Ain’t life great!?
My point is that the big old world we live in keeps turning. Every day is a new opportunity for a better day than the last. Every new customer has the potential to turn into a new friend. I had never ever heard of the Flu pandemic of 1918 until this year. I hate wearing a mask (and I complain about it all the time). Still, when I wanted to attend a memorial for one of my best friend’s brother, I put the mask on and flew to Texas because friends and family are more important than my shitty opinion of something no one can control. I am mostly happy, and my days are filled with mostly positive things. I have read a few more books than usual and even spent some extra time with the family. This will pass, and we will be able to hang out without standing 6-feet apart sooner than we all think. So in the meantime, support your local chopper shop and smile…it takes fewer muscles than a frown.