The Shop Vancouver's Spit-N-Shine
In the middle of July hails a show for the true motorcycle enthusiasts of Vancouver, B.C. Canada and all of its surrounding areas. The Spit-n-Shine show was created by The Shop Vancouver owner T.J. Schneider. He graciously invited my wife and me out for the weekend and asked if I could display some of my photos for a pre-party the night before the main show. I'm really glad there was no reason to say no, because this was one of the best weekends I have had in a long time. There was so much exploring and partying in three days, I'm not sure how we fit it all in.
The only place in Canada I have ever been to before is Toronto a handful of times. I have never been to Vancouver before, so I wasn't really sure what to expect. I have always heard it's a different world on the other side of the country. To be honest though, I was blown away upon arrival. The epic mountains that surrounded the city, along with the great architecture, bridges, and art really captured my attention quickly. T.J. was rad enough to arrange for Kat and me a couple bikes and to be escorted around town by a bunch of different strangers, who by the end of the weekend became lifelong friends.
I'll never say this enough, motorcycles bring people closer together and create bonds that will forever last a lifetime. The very first day we met a handful of the most amazing people who took us up into the mountains. We got to ride some of the coolest roads I have ever been on and be reckless and dumb. Becky, Derrick, Steph, and Tory are some of the most genuine and personable people I have met in awhile. They loved to ride, they were down for whatever, and they made Kat and I feel right at home. I really loved how much riding we did that first day and I got some amazing shots!
We were going to go swimming in this bay but as we went to feel the water temperature, we noticed an abundance of jelly fish swimming around the entire dock. I instantly looked at everyone like they were all crazy. The scenery was still beautiful though and I really enjoyed hanging out at this spot!
Kat got to ride a this sweet little 250 Kawi. Some were calling it the "Motard" due to it's tiny street wheels and the main body of the bike was made to look like a dirt bike. These new bikes have this weird thing, where it won't let you start the bike without the kickstand down. This made Kat a bit annoyed at times but she got the hang of it pretty quickly.
The Second day we rode with with Andrew and KC most of the morning. Two more amazing human beings, that treated us like best friends from the minute we met them. We got to check out their shops, the projects they were both working on, and even some more beaches!
I had my very first solo photo show that went down later that day. To see a body of my work displayed in a real art gallery setting for one night was humbling and I'm thankful to this day for the experience. I met a ton of great people with wonderful stories of their adventures and I got to share a few of my own as well.
On the Third Day we got to ride more around town and ventured off north to one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to in all my life, Whytecliff park. The water was extremely cold, but we did go for a swim! Thanks again Steph for navigating and showing us around all day!
Cory, Jamie, Mica and Ayla rode with us that morning as well. Riding with everyone and getting to know their history was really great. I can't say it enough, on this trip I gained so many new life long friends and memories!
We finally made it to the Show later in the day and man was it a scorcher, I want to say it was over 90 degrees fahrenheit (32.2 Celsius for all those Canadians reading this.) The show was held downtown right next to a huge shipping yard. The backdrop was filled with city buildings, beautiful blue water and distant mountains which made for a really epic place to have a show.
I think the coolest thing about the entire show in my opinion, was right in the beginning when you pull in. A girl stops you before parking and hands you a tag for your bike with a number on it. Your bike, no matter what kind it may be, was automatically apart of the show and in contention to win an award! T.J. told me when I first arrived to Vancouver, "I don't care what you ride, as long as you are riding a motorcycle and having fun!" That resinated in my head all weekend long as I noticed the wide array of bikes people rode through out the city. I love that outlook so much on riding and our culture.
To end the show on a super high note, T.J. gave away his Paul Smart Limited Edition Ducati! "You just don't do that kind of thing!" said everyone. It was a super rare and amazing bike and I still can't believe he gave it away. It went home to a really lucky dude named Rohan Roy, who's reaction when he won was pretty amazing. It's always cool to see people's faces, just blown away and in shock with happiness when they win something like that. Congrats again Rohan!
All in all if you have never been to Vancouver before, you need to go. The city is absolutely beautiful, even with Pee-Pee alley and all (ask me when you see me, too long and gross of a story.) The food is absolutely incredible no matter where you go, full of healthy choices without even trying. The people and community are all really genuine, there's no cool guy attitudes. Everyone just enjoys the ride and wants to be apart of something real, friendship. Check out the The Shop Vancouver if you are in town or if you wait for next year's Spit-n-Shine, T.J. will be doing this show again. Check their website for more details as they come and I promise you, it will be worth the trip.
I also wanted to take a second and personally thank everyone and anyone that came up to talk at the photo show and Spit-n-Shine. Thank you to everyone who purchased a print or shirt as well, your support and love really means the world! Thank you again to T.J. and Mitch for everything you did for my wife and me. From the flight, to the bikes, and the Air B&B, you guys really went above and beyond taking care of us! Thank you again Andrew, Stacey, KC, Tory, Steph, Derrick, and everyone else that hung out with us the entire weekend for all your hospitality and treating Kat and me like family. We miss you guys a ton and can't wait to come back and visit!
The 7th annual Brooklyn Invitational exceeded all expectations this year. Hands down one of the best shows to go to if you truly appreciate anything and everything with two wheels. The show is produced by Jessica Wertz, Jeffrey Schad, John Copeland, and Keino Sasaki. Each year they hand pick 30 incredible bikes, ranging from all styles and backgrounds.
From race bikes to exotic collection pieces, choppers to even conceptual builds; this show never fails in the department of making your imagination run wild. Motorcycles in many ways, are moving pieces of art. The Brooklyn Invitational captures the essence of this by recognizing the soul, the history and the innovation behind each bike.
In case you couldn't attend or just want to relive it again, I put together a small 3 photo series for each builder/owner's bike, enjoy.
If for some reason you didn't get your fill of custom bikes inside, you could spend another few hours just walking around outside of the show and/or watching the main strip to get your fix in. The outside bike parking spanned nearly two city blocks this year, full of amazing motorcycles from all over the country. Show attendees rode back and forth on the main strip all day long and you could hear the echoes of pipes for miles.
If there were only a handful of shows you were able to go to in a year, make sure The Brooklyn Invitational is one of those on your list. Not only do you get to experience all "The Big Apple" has to offer for a weekend but you are completely surrounded by amazing motorcycle culture from all over the world. I think it's seriously the one time NYC feels small in my eyes. You can run into so many people you know on the streets and experience so much more on a bike then any other time of year. Just be careful and watch out for those yellow cabs. I cannot wait till next year!
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View more photos of The Brooklyn Invitational
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Lowbrow Customs At David Mann Chopper Fest
When you hear a chopper rolling by, what do you envision? Most people would say an intimidating bearded dude covered in tattoos at the helm of the motorcycle handlebars with a half naked beautiful bombshell on the back, both without a care in the world; truly free and living their lives to the fullest. The reason a lot of these thoughts and images resinate in your brain is because you have seen them before.
Dictated by a legendary artist known as David Mann, he captured the true essence of what the chopper life style is all about through his paintings. His artwork grabs your attention and wisps you away into the scene, never letting go and keeping you lost in the images for hours. David's work just has that effect on most people and I really believe that's one of the many reasons he is and forever will be an inspirational legend in the eyes of motorcycle community.
Chopper Fest initially started 12 years ago by David "Huggie" Hansen to showcase futuristic designs and show the artistic side of choppers. In 2004 just three months before Chopper Fest the legend David Mann had passed. The entire two wheeled world came from all over the nation to Chopper Fest to pay their respects and honor the legend. From that day forward, Chopper Fest has been dedicated to David Mann, and the lifestyle he loved so much to portray in his beautiful artwork.
We were fortunate enough to attend this year's 12th annual Chopper Fest and I couldn't have be more happy to be in sunny California surrounded by beautiful choppers and wonderful people. The midwest is always so doom and gloom this time of year and it made for a great little escape for the weekend. Here are a handful of photos from the show, enjoy!
The "story" I heard behind this 1958 BSA found by Joey Yeaman is just that, he found it at an old lady's house covered in tons of dust. He did an impeccable detailing and this is what came of it. She said it was never fired and he still hasn't fired it yet either. This bike's history is just too rad if the story is true.
If you have never been to Chopper Fest before, I strongly encourage you to go. Where else in December are you going to go and be surrounded by amazing choppers, artwork, good food and be outside without a jacket on? It's in California, need I say more! Till next year Chopper Fest, see you there!
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