West Coast motorcycle culture heads east
This photo, published on the Chicomoto blog, shows a scene from the cyclist doc “6over,” being shown Saturday at the Eastern Edge Gallery. — Submitted photo courtesy Troy Critchlow
As the fog rolls in and the weather cools off, many bikers are storing their motorcycles, already anticipating spring.
St. John’s rider Matt Dawe isn’t quite ready to put his bike away yet and is hoping there are a few other riders in the St. John’s area who feel the same way.
On Saturday, Dawe is hoping to lead a large crowd on an afternoon ride before heading downtown to Eastern Edge, where the gallery will be screening a Californian film, “6over” about motorcycle culture on the West Coast of the United States.
Dawe singlehandedly organized the event via email while working offshore. He’s hoping for a large turnout that bridges the gap between generations in the name of a common interest.
“It’s a good excuse to get the community together, really — dudes who are interested and dudes who are already involved, just to get everyone together for a good time,” Dawe said.
“I got in touch with Eastern Edge and they were all about the idea.
“Then I got in touch with Quidi Vidi Brewery and they, again, were all about the idea. I knew there were some similar screenings in the States in some big theatres, but this is kind of the first gallery screening of it. So it’s a different idea, but it’s also East Coast Canada, as east as you can get, so people were stoked on it happening here.”
“6over” was produced by filmmaker Michael Schmidt who resides in Los Angeles. The trailer for the movie features numerous bearded bikers cruising down winding desert roads, talking to older bikers, working with machinery and of course, fooling around in the shop and on the road.
Most of the bikers in “6over” could be described as a loose group of friends who are connected through their love of motorcycles and the line of work they are in.
“A lot of the guys featured in the movie are just working out of their garage,” Dawe said.
Zak Summers is a friend of Dawe’s who works at Mile One Harley Davidson, which gives him an edge when it comes to promoting motorcycle related events.
“They go to these random old barns behind people’s houses and junkyards and dig out these amazing bikes and just bring them back to life, bring back that part of history,” Summers said.
“They’re living the dream, you know? They’re having the time of their lives.”
For most bikers, half of the fun is found in the chop-cut-rebuild — working with their hands to create their own masterpiece. Many riders are learning how to perform motorcycle maintenance on their own, continuously customizing and upgrading their rides.
“There’s a lot of guys that are kind of on the fringe, who want to buy bikes, who want to get involved, get their hands dirty,” Dawe said.
He’s been hosting rides every Tuesday in the hopes of bringing out more riders, showing motorcycle enthusiasts that there doesn’t need to be a cause to take the bike out of the garage.
“I don’t want to take anything away from that, by all means,” Dawe said. “But it’s like one of the guys said to me, ‘There’s a ride for everything these days. Nobody just gets together to ride anymore.’ So it’s just an excuse to get together and, well, ride,” Dawe said.
On Saturday night, the gallery will showcase local bikes, giving riders an opportunity to show off their hard work and chat with like-minded people. A prize will be announced at the end of the night for the prestigious title “Best in show.”
Prizes have been coming in from as far away as California, mostly donated by small garages and chopper shops. Contributors include Sean’s Non-Stock Customs, ’50s Haze Blog, Rose Cycles, Show Class Magazine, Freak Out the Squares, Cro Custom’s (featured in the film) and Biltwell. The prizes include clothing, sunglasses, stickers, bike parts and helmets.
Local businesses have also become involved in the event. Troublebound Tattoos has donated shirts and gift certificates, while Quidi Vidi Brewery will be providing beverages all night.
A local band — The Bloomsbury Group, and possibly another group to be announced — are scheduled to play after the screening.
Dawe hopes to see familiar and unfamiliar faces, both motorcycle aficionados and newbies.
“I’ve heard people saying to me as I was trying to promote this, ‘Oh yeah, I’m not going to that cause it’s going to be a bunch of bikers,’ and it’s not that attitude anymore. That’s the attitude we’re trying to get away from. That’s why it’s being held at a gallery, that’s why there’s bands playing that everybody likes. Y’know, there’s beer and food and, y’know, why not? Just come hang out. Just come have a good time,” Dawe said.
The motorcycle run will start at 3 p.m., weather-permitting, leaving from the Eastern Edge parking lot, followed by a barbecue at 5 p.m. “6over” will be screened at 7 p.m., followed by the musical acts. Admission is $5 at the door.
Any profits will be donated to the Multiple Sclerosis Society.