Fuel Cleveland now on it's third year was larger than ever, housing close to ninety motorcycles as well as the work of fourteen photographers and fourteen artists in the Hamilton Collaborative building on Cleveland's East side. Attached to the building is also a motorcycle collaborative garage called Skidmark Garage which entertained show goers and showcased what their community is all about all day long. With thousands of people pouring in through out the day for this free motorcycle show, I think it is safe to say people enjoyed themselves and the show was a huge hit.
This year, was extremely special to me and l was left in awe most of the day. In the morning of the show, my stress levels were through the roof scrambling to get the last little bit of stuff set up in time. Around 11:50 am I was helping with the last of the show bikes to get set up inside the show when someone asked me to come outside in the parking lot to help with the bar. As I walked out the door to the parking lot and my eyes adjusted to the sunlight, I couldn't believe what was in front of my eyes. There's a moment of shock and overwhelming joy that took over my mind when I saw 300 plus bikes parked outside in a lot that was completely empty 20 minutes prior. People were getting off their bikes and ready to come into a show, a show I've spent countless hours on. It blew me away to see and the chaos didn't stop through out the day, countless bikes road in and out of the venue all day long. People parked their bikes wherever they could, even blocks down each road in every direction. There were bikes even on tree lawns and parked 3 rows deep from sidewalks to buildings across the street.
The Second thing that blew me away was the happiness I saw on everyone's faces. So many people were smiling and laughing, having the time of their lives and not sitting on their cellular devices. It's a weird statement to say, but people were actually in the moment and living their lives the way they should, not staring into a glass box and living vicariously through others.
I loved walking through and seeing what everyone was riding into the show. The outside parking lot is just as much of a show as the one inside. There were brand new bikes, bobbers, choppers, crotch rockets, cafe's, go kart trikes, and even some vintage dirt bikes parked everywhere you looked. As I walked down a few of the streets, tons of different bikes of all makes and models were scattered as far as the eye could see. I really think thats the best part about motorcycles, there's no rules or judgment as long as you are riding you are accepted!
This sounds a bit cheesy but one of my favorite things about this year's show was the banners we had in the main hall. It just set the mood and atmosphere of the show drawing your eyes attention to them every time you looked in that direction. We put some show photos form the very first Fuel Cleveland in the middle and a handful of people pointed them out saying I remember that from 2 years ago.
With the show bikes this year we tried to mix up as much as we possibly could from the different genres, makes and models while still keeping it primarily vintage. We were lucky to get a handful of super rare stuff too like John Kelly's AEE Honda survivor Chopper. It was the first AEE chopper ever built and on the cover of Street Chopper in 1970. The patina and shape this bike was in was un real, with 95% of the bike fully intact, John knocked it out of the park with this find.
We sent out a handful of Lowbrow Customs WX Gas Tanks to some of the artists at this year's show. Each and everyone of them went above and beyond the call with there blank metal canvas. Here are just a couple of the 11 tanks that were on display.
We also gave away some Lincoln Electric Welders and Plasma cutters again this year! Big thank you to Lincoln Electric for making this possible. Everyone who won had smiles from ear to ear and were in shock and disbelief! We can't wait to see what they build using those incredible machines.
I think the biggest thing for us putting on this show is to give a place where people can come enjoy themselves, and spend all day learning about the vintage motorcycle culture. If one person walks into our show who has never ridden a motorcycle before and sees something that inspires him or her to get their own motorcycle and ride it, then we have done our jobs. We strive to make the atmosphere laid back and care free and let the motorcycles, art and photography do most of the work.
Fuel Cleveland was a bit of blur for us but still extremely fun and jam packed with tons of great people, bikes, art and photography. If you missed out and couldn't get to this year's show, make it a point to come out to Fuel Cleveland next year which will be held in the same location on July 28th, 2018. The show will still be 100% FREE to attend and park. With a little fine tuning next year, it will be just as good if not better than ever! See you there!
Words and photos by:
Video by: Coppersmith Productions
Music by: "Children of the Century" Composed by: The Vacancies 2005 Blackheart Records iTunes.com/thevacancies "Petty Submissive" Composed by: Sidecar 2003 Three Milage Records iTunes.com/sidecar "Better Run From the Graveyard" Composed by: Lords of the Highway facebook.com/lordsofthehighway "Greasy Box" Composed by: Wiskey Daredevils 2006 Knockout Records www.wiskeydaredevils.com "Octane Fueled Death Machine" Composed by: Hemi Devils 2017 Misfit Toy Records bandcamp.com/hemidevils