While Bike Week in Daytona Beach Florida means the end of winter for a lot of motorcyclists, for perhaps even more of us, early March doesn’t deliver the most pleasant riding weather. In this world of “supply chain issues” perhaps your winter projects are even still waiting on the last few parts before you’re ready to ride. In the past several weeks I’ve written about why motorcycle trips are important, why going to motorcycle rallies are important and today, I’ll talk about what attending motorcycle SHOWS are important.
You can sure say that motorcycle rallies and motorcycle shows walk hand in hand. At any motorcycle rally there are probably a dozen motorcycle shows around the given area. Most have specific themes; chopper shows, bagger shows, now specific performance bagger shows and even paint or audio shows. These all have the same relative flavor. You show up and either enter a bike in hopes of receiving rewards and accolades from your peers or you check out the show as a spectator to generate some ideas for your own bike. You may even be able to meet and/or rub shoulders with industry leaders or even support a charitable cause. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon, right?
There’s sure nothing wrong with those type of motorcycle shows. In fact, I quite enjoy them. Throughout the years I’ve been lucky to attend everything from the Dave Perewitz Paint Show in Daytona to Led Sled Custom’s Sportster Showdown inside the Buffalo Chip during the Sturgis Motorcycle rally. It’s fun, it’s hopefully sun, and you’re always going to see something that really gets your motor running. But what about getting those creative juices flowing outside of bike season? Welcome to the “off-season” show circuit.
Taking place largely in the mid-west, these off-season shows took a massive hit during “The Covid Times.” Now that those times seem to be miraculously over, the off-season shows are coming back. In both December and March the Mama-Tried show in Milwaukee made its return. Inside the MoCo’s hometown, this show has cemented its place in motorcycle culture by coupling a great night of racing inside of a fantastic venue with a motorcycle show the following two days inside what is typically somewhat of a cathedral for live rock music. In one weekend you can bounce around a very small slice of Milwaukee and visit the Harley Davidson Museum (an absolute must see!), see top level (and hilariously unprepared amateur) flattrackers duke it out on soda syrup covered concrete and see dozens of the best custom motorcycles on display inside The Rave/Eagles Club. It’s takes place during a weekend when it’s typically too cold to enjoy riding your motorcycle but allows you to enjoy OWNING a motorcycle. It’s truly a trip worth taking.
At Direct Cycle Parts, we just returned home from the Donnie Smith Motorcycle Show in St. Paul Minnesota. For over 30 years, enthusiasts have flocked to the twin cities to check out the best of the best in the custom world and buy both new and used parts for their projects. This is our 4th time vending at this show, and every time it’s better than the last. We have expanded to a 40-foot-long booth now, and this year we debuted our new MINT SPEED SHOP flannel shirt line. We’ll just say this, we went home with a lot less than we drove up there with! We truly thank everyone for the support and if you haven’t checked out our line of flannels, we highly recommend that you do. We have a huge selection of colors, and these shirts were built with riders in mind. Now, this blog isn’t about apparel, but seriously, how many of you ride in a long sleeve buttoned down shirt and have to listen to or feel your collar flapping around? Well, we fixed that! Getting back to the show, Donnie Smith is one of the true innovators of the custom motorcycle culture that we all enjoy. While Donnie may not be as nationally famous as his contemporaries and close friends like Arlen Ness and Dave Perewitz, In the twin cities area, Donnie is a legend. This show that bares his name is complete with incredible custom motorcycles, vendors from most of the top brands in the industry and a massive swap meet. Located in the heart of downtown St. Paul, you can leave the venue and enjoy lots of dining and entertainment within a short walk. Of course, you’re probably going to need to pack your jacket, but it’s still well worth the effort.
When you see posts about an indoor show in the off-season, we highly recommend that you make plans to attend. Take your friends, possibly even make an entire weekend out of it. There’s a lot to motorcycle culture. There are the people you may consider posers, there are the 1%ers and then there’s the majority of us who are somewhere in between. There’s nothing wrong with any of us and collectively, we all make this industry turn. Keep your eyes peeled for events in your area. If there’s a show you see on social media or even read about in magazines and you’ve always wanted to go, do it. Buy the ticket, take the ride.