Despite continued sacrifice on the world's battlefields, malaise in the global economy, reluctance among the thrifty and downright pain for the (still) unemployed, 2010 was a banner year for the hardy men and women who took a tip from the DicE playbook and said, "Fuck this, Let's Ride!"
In a scene that reveres polished metal, cast alloy and welded steel, ChopCult readers' spirits seem coated with Teflon. Nothing gets you guys down, and the enthusiasm you bring to the scene is infectious. Starting in December and pinning it backwards, these are the bikes, the people and the events that moved our community in the first year of the new decade.
It ain't even Christmas and the gifts keep coming. December was a busy month for ChopCult contributors, with yours truly covering Europe's CustomBike 2010 in Bad Salzuflen, Germany, and CC members Blotto Mike Deutsch and Generico delivering words and pictures from Mooneyes Japan. Billdozer covered the David Mann Chopper Fest in Ventura, California, and there will be at least three new bike features on the home page by Christmas. Stay tuned for all the news that's fit to print, and try not to drink too much nog over the holidays.
While crazed lunatics beat each other with Wiffle ball bats in the Coctagon at the Slab City Riot, Kim Boyle wowed Bench*Mark believers with his heavily breathed-on Sporty. Good bikes and good times abounded around Thanksgiving, which was made even better with some great online deals from ChopCult advertisers. Thanks for supporting those who support your scene.
Jersey Boy Walt Gemeinhardt rode his Special '79-built shovelhead to Brooklyn to cover that biker-friendly burrough's second annual invitational. On the left coast, Californians were treated to sunny skies and another great El Camino Swap Meet.
Cool breezes, bright sunshine and big crowds converged in upstate New York early September to make the fourth annual running of The Gypsies the best event out of Kickstart Cycles yet. SoCal resident and Four Aces Cycle regular Jeff Leighton gave props to journalist/chopper legend Frank Kaisler in a CC feature on his sweet big twin flathead.
The last month of summer was stacked with radness, and ChopCult drove halfway across the country to gobble it up. First stop: The Twine Ball Run in Northeast Kansas. Two weeks later, Billdozer joined Afterhours Gabe and a passle of NorCal hellraisers on the Philo Beddo Family reunion. Head-turning bikes seen during those journeys included newlywed Caleb Owens' boardtracker Sporty and Dr. Jerimy Cox's sweet ironhead. Lessons learned: choppin' and bobbin' is alive and well in America's corn belt, and late-model Sportsters aren't just for women.
CC correspondent and Lowbrow Customs West Coast operative BF Josh covered the Horse Smokeout for readers of the old 33, and 20 of you had something to say about it. A sissy bar and fender strut photo feature inspired Billdozer and me to try our hand at light fabrication for his Born Again project, and the results were pretty good. Thanks for the inspiration, gentlemen.
The most eagerly anticipated bike show in America was Born Free II, and it went down in Long Beach on June 12. Thousands of people attended the collaborative event, and ChopCult member Desert Drifter won the panhead that was raffled off to help finance the whole deal. We hosted a photo contest for amateur shooters in the ChopCult forum, and the winning submission was death defying.
An unseasonably late winter in many parts of the country did nothing to freeze Chopcult readers' good times. Southern gentlemen Tim and Rusty Knuckles rallied troops to their Revenge Run in pirate country on the South Carolina coast, and it was the unoffical kick-off to a season of underground good times. In California's Inland Empire, Kutty Noteboom hosted the Hippy Killer Hoedown, where spectators oggled his Plum Smuggler up close and personal.
Never the shrinking violet when it comes to early morning boozing, Street Chopper editor-in-chief Jeff Holt hosted a premier party for the newest issue of his venerable magazine at a bar and bistro in Chino Hills, CA. While we were there, Billdozer and I shot two bikes that caught our eyes: Mystery Edwin's panhead, and Rico "Father Fury" Fodrey's CB750 time capsule chopper.
We digitally repurposed a fantastic Von Dutch interview from an old magazine originally printed in '72, and the artist's story reaffirmed many people's faith in the power of original thinking and great ideas. Jeff Cochran of old-school SPS fame started a new company called Speed King/Jeff Cochran Solo, and provided these stunning studio photos for our readers.
On a sun-chasing adventure to Phoenix we shot this golden shovel at Foundry Moto. On a visit with Wes White at Four Aces Cycle we bumped into a cat named Alp who cracked his Whip for our viewing pleasure. The year had barely begun and already the motorcycle season was in full swing.
With bellies bloated from too many weeks of holiday binging in '09, Billdozer and I dragged our asses back to work to kickstart another year of choppin' and bobbin' with cyber friends. This Focus feature on gas tanks was popular, and served as motivation for garage- and basement-bound builders everywhere. The first bike feature of the new decade was Arizona Nick's other panhead, and it dropped five hours after the ball in Times Square on 01.01.10. Take that, code monkeys!
As I recount our adventures from the year in reverse, the hard work and dedication so many of you pour into the scene becomes apparent. ChopCult correspondents wrote and photographed over 150 original news stories, event recaps and bike features in 2010, visiting dozens of great places and meeting hundreds of new friends in the process.
In our quest to be cool, many of us—myself included—sometimes lose sight of the essential reason for being a part of this scene. It's not the denim vests, the skate shoes, the SOA backlash or the beards. It damn sure isn't because custom motorcycles are a good value. Bill and I joke all the time about how much more bang for the buck you can haul in a '72 Econoline or a '65 Nova.
For me, the essence of motorcycles lives in the friendship and the fabricating. Nothing takes my mind off the stress of the day like putzing around a friend's project, or my own. I promised myself I would finish the Spartankiller in 2010, but that didn't happen. Instead, I helped Mike D. and Bill Bryant work on their projects, which was nearly more enjoyable. I wrench, they spend.
For Bill, I think the essence of motorcycles lies in riding them. He goes everywhere, sometimes alone, and always faster than hell or at the crack of dawn. Three years ago it was mainland Mexico. This year it was NorCal, Kansas and New York. Bill's planning a solo blast from the Big Apple to California's Inland Empire in 2011, and that's a trip I will try to help him enjoy. That means staying at the office, which is something ChopCult helps me enjoy thoroughly. Crafting editorial for our readers is fun, and the boost it gives this scrivener's ego is invigorating.
What facet of today's motorcycle scene gives you the most joy? Is it the bikes and the people who ride them, or the events? What kind of events. Campouts? Swap meets? Parking lot socials? Knowing your perspective helps us fine-tune the original content on your website, so we value the feedback and support.
From everyone who makes ChopCult happen—the editors, the programmers and especially all our great advertisers—thanks for your support. Good luck and good riding in 2011 and beyond.