The One Motorcycle Show Austin
Portland's grassroots motorcycle show makes its inaugural move south in search of custom bikes, live bands and good times
by Kate Erwin
Founded in 2010 by Thor Drake of Portland's See See Motorcycles and coffee shop, The One Motorcycle Show stands to highlight interesting bikes with an equally interesting story behind them, in an environment that emulates days and nights spent hanging out with friends, designing, building and kicking tires in the garage. Having outgrown its humble beginnings in Portland's damp industrial district—drawing 13,000 motorcycle enthusiasts this past February alone—the show recently branched out to Austin, Texas during its inaugural Moto GP weekend.
Free to attend and free to exhibit, The One Show, as it's lovingly dubbed, is essentially the funnest motorcycle show on Earth. It's also the hairiest, with more chops than choppers. Unlike other expos and moto shows filled with corporate suits, neck badges and macho ramblings of an industry selling to itself, The One Show sells nothing, except a couple of disarming clichés alongside some cheap beer and trucker hats. But the laid-back ambiance speaks to the show's ethos, which has always been to embody and embrace the "one-ness" of bike builders in a nourishing community environment.
Armed with the dream of bringing together "really good people that enjoy the fun of motorcycling," Drake tells us, "When you do it for the first time you never know what to expect, but everybody was really happy and it encompassed everything that I wanted it to."
By "everything" Drake means the bikes on display, which ranged from Kevin Schwantz's winning race bikes and various "Frankenthumpers" to classic Honda CBs and a whole lot in between. He undoubtedly also means the DJ, live bands, mini Evel Knievel museum, food and booze, or possibly even the roller-derby girls who acted as the show's security guards. Regardless, Drake hinted at the show's "high possibility" of going global. "I want to keep the momentum going" Drake said with a pause, "so long as I can keep it fun."
Images by Wesley Law