Article By: Chopper Charlie
Photos By: Kayla Koeune
Originally Published In The June 2016 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
Motorcycles come in all shapes and sizes and I tend to like most of them. What I like about motorcycles is the ability to customize and refine them to fit your own personal preferences in regards to both form and function. Sure, I may be biased towards the choppers but there is undoubtedly something to appreciate in the other styles as well. This includes, and not limited to, sport bikes, enduro bikes and yes, even baggers. Back in February my girlfriend, Kayla, and I had the opportunity to accompany our friend Steve to The One Show in Portland, Oregon. Yes, it was rainy and yes it was cold but that in no way kept the masses from encroaching upon what appeared to be an old abandoned warehouse. But believe me, there was much more to this old warehouse that weekend than rickety rafters and drafty windows. That weekend the building was reformed into a virtual art gallery for all things two wheels. Motorcycles of all types sat proudly upon their display boxes while attendees pointed, stared and snapped pictures of their favorites. And there certainly was not a shortage of favorites. Paintings, drawings and photographs from both local and out of town artists M were prominently displayed on the walls and vendors in the front room showed off their talents in the form of handcrafted tool rolls, map pockets and plenty of other impressively crafted goods. A band played to a crowd of excited motorcycle enthusiasts who drank beer (or Coca-Cola in my case), ate pizza from Sizzle Pie and mingled with friends both old and new.
There were three things in particular that I felt really set this show apart from the rest. The first is the venue. If you were to strip away the bikes, the art and of course the couple of thousand show goers it would be still be an amazing building. You could almost feel the history: imagine tradesman back in the 50’s working tirelessly to earn a living and sense that at some point it all fell apart leaving only the shell of a once thriving business. The second was the shear diversity of the motorcycles. There were literally all types of bikes. There was everything from classic choppers, sport bikes with some pretty wild paint jobs, Sportsters turned enduros, British bikes, Jap bikes and of course our favorite American iron. The Germans showed up in full force as well which leads me to the third thing I liked about this show. BMW seemed to be a predominant sponsor. I found that interesting on a lot of levels. First off you don’t see a lot, if any, BMW’s at a chopper show, which is kind of a shame because as far as I am concerned BMW builds an amazing machine. I fully expect to be on one myself someday when my back finally gives out from riding hard tails. Second, you certainly don’t see BMW sponsoring many events like this, or if they are I’m not seeing it. Ultimately this all leads me back to my second and most important point about The One Show. The diversity of the machines was unmatched. Each and every bike had a redeeming quality and each one very different from its neighbor. I saw a motocross bike sitting next to a sport bike and a Knucklehead sitting next to a Triumph, you get the point.
Not only were the bikes diverse but the crowd was as well. So often at these shows you can sense that everyone there is most likely into the same thing, which isn’t surprising but it is predictable. As I stood in the middle of the show looking around trying to soak it all in I noticed what seemed to be patrons from all walks of life. Of course you had the young hip guys that appeared to have mistakenly put on their girlfriend’s jeans that morning and the older grizzlier biker types that could leave you mesmerized with stories of days gone by, but you also had a more… how do I put this…refined crowd. You know, the type that you would expect to have to explain the difference between a flat head and Phillips head screwdriver. Don’t get me wrong, I do not in any way view this as a negative. I without a doubt see it as a positive. I see it as the promotors having done something right because everyone seemed to feel welcome. Kudos to you mister organizer. According to the One Show website, the organizer started this as way to show bikes that were not only nice to look at but also told a story. His idea was that this subculture of garage monkeys building machines from scavenged parts, bringing old iron back to life and rebuilt to suit the rider’s needs needed a show that would share these projects and stories. The One Show has absolutely done an excellent job of doing just that. They have successfully brought riders of all types together and allowed them the opportunity to show off their choppers in an environment that is both pleasing to the eye and comforting to the sole, and for that, I thank you.