Everytime I watch American Pickers I wish I was there to see the things they see. All those classic old motorcycles showing their age and yet showing they still have more appeal than most bikes today. The word “Petina” is often used to describe the paint and the finish of these relics from the past.
Yesterday I attended the Cheap Thrills Motorcycle Show and Swap meet in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Held at the equally as old Asbury Park Convention Center literally right on the beach, mother nature also brought her best rain storm and gloomy skies to remind us that it is still winter. Despite that, inside the hallowed halls of this sadly unrestored building, there was this joy in the air about being surrounded by like minded people and aged motorcycles.
I was exceptionally amazed at the people at the show itself. I was expecting nothing but a bunch of aging overweight men with beer belly’s, tattoo’s, beards and grease stained finger nails. What I got was anything but. The vast majority of those attending and selling were probably in the mid-30’s or younger, even kids. I was pleasantly surprised and happy to see that the younger generations are taking part in the motorcycle culture, that it IS their passion and that they would rather be here than hanging out in the mall or watching TV or playing video games or doing nothing at all. Kids were there “wow-ing” and “Whoa-ing” and “Cool-ing” all the old stuff and parts available to buy and or just look at.
So maybe not all millennials are killing the motorcycle industry and culture. There are more than we think out there getting into what we have loved all these years. I can now see the appeal of putting together a bike from old parts, creating a rat bike, a steampunk bike or just rebuilding one from scratch. It’s actually freaking cool and you know what? No fresh paint here, leave it be the way it is. Character, personality and romance.
There is more hope than we think.