Inveterate shopper that I am, I must admit I was oblivous to the banality of biker events until Billdozer pointed out their vapid nature to me. Once illuminated, I have eschewed dealership hoedowns, parking lot swap meets and similar dreck ever since. Not that there's anything wrong with digging through trinkets beneath an EZ-Up in a dusty field while a cover band blares freedom rock through a half stack of shitty amps. In my old age, I've just learned it's more satisfying to ride motorcycles than it is to polish them.
Bill's first foray into "underground" motorcycle fun was an impromptu escape to Baja with some doormen from Las Vegas. in 2002 Bill crossed the border on his old Honda CB laden with a bivvy sack, some gasoline and little else. He survived that adventure just in time to endure another: a lengthy military deployment in the Middle East. While Bill was eating dirt and shitting freedom, I was burning the midnight oil at our small business in Southern California. Contact during those months with my business partner and best friend was sporadic, but between IED's and MRE's Bill emailed the plan for another motorcycle adventure, one that would give me my first taste of two-wheeled freedom.
Before announcing our El Diablo Run to the masses in 2005, we did a pre-run. The machine I rode on that 750-mile assault was a Flyrite chopper I built with an 8-inch bench grinder and a Craftsman tool set. I'd never ridden a motorcycle on pavement before, but that didn't stop me from appreciating their allure. I've always been a grease monkey, so the attraction was instant. The fact that a middle-aged BMXer on a hand-built chopper could ride to San Felipe and back was all the proof we needed, and in the spring of 2006, the El Diablo Run rolled out of SoCal with four dozen like-minded bikeriders in tow.
By 2008 the headcount at subsequent EDR's swelled to over 250 builders and bikeriders, a number that confirmed we were not alone—people across the nation and around the world were growing as tired of "the biker scene" as we had. Events like the Gypsy Run, The Revenge Run, The Twine Ball Run and others materialized from coast to coast, with riding and camping the focus at each one. No profit motive drove the proliferation of these events. Instead, the time and treasure required to make them a reality was donated by the bootstrap entrepreneurs who hosted them. Events of this nature are certainly not new, but their spirit had gotten lost in a sea of vendor rows and polished chrome.
The 2012 chopper social season kicks off this weekend in SoCal at Kutty Noteboom's Hippy Killer Hoedown. ChopCult is a proud sponsor of Kutty's car show and motorcycle campout, and we'll be there this Saturday to shoot bikes for upcoming CC features.
Later this month Billdozer and his son are heading east with a trailer full of bikes and gear for Garage Company Custom's Dixie Roundup. Larry Pierce and his lovely wife Ashley host this moonshine-fueled hootenanny, and it's a doozie. Biltwell's Mike D and I will be flying in to gird Bill's flanks at the drinking table, and I'll be bringing up the rear on at least one ride through the Dirty South.
Other underground chopper events are happening this spring, and you can read about them in the ChopCult events thread and community calendar. Thanks to all the hardworking men and women who spearhead these great events, and thanks to the bikeriders and volunteers who make them a success.
See you at the next gas stop…