It was 2010 we experienced The One Moto Show (and Portland, OR) for the first time. That was Year 2 and I haven't missed a year since. Fast forward to 2017 the One Moto is now in it's 8th year and shows no signs of stopping. Due to birth of my 2nd son, I wasn't able to attend this year's show which was a hard pill to swallow, especially when the photos came pouring in. Once again, See See Motorcycles and those in charge of managing the event have outdone themselves. With a new venue that drums up memories of the early years and what seemed to be about 1000 more motorcycles than last year, The One Moto did not disappoint. We sent co-founders Allan Glanfield and Mike Higgins out west to man the GodSpeedCo. booth, snap a few photos, hang with show goers and of course drink a lot of beers. The 2017 season is officially underway. Enjoy. - GSCo.
THE 'ONE' TO SEE
Reflections From A Weekend Out West
Words: Mike Higgins Images: Allan Glanfield
Landing at PDX, I immediately checked my phone, sliding it out of airplane mode. It beeped to life. The gang was on the ground. I was a day late, but finally in Portland. Finally going to see The One Motorcycle Show. If there’s a moto-culture mecca, this is it. A decade ago, a glance through Craigslist, eBay, or your old school local classifieds in search of a cheap “donor” bike to get a build going would yield plenty. The gas to go pick up an old CB or GS that “ran when I garaged it,” might rival the sales price. Those days are gone. And we have the boys at See See Motorcycles in Portland to thank – or blame – for it.
These guys weren’t the first to customize old bikes, of course. That’s been going on since the first engine driving two wheels rolled down an assembly line. But as this moto-culture we know today, the café racer clubs, the bobber bike nights, the braaap packs, etc., started popping up all over the country, The One Moto Show was born. It is far from the “One” show to bring together local builders and their builds. But it can be said that it is the “One” that kick started it all. The whole thing has roared to life from coast to coast since.
But this show certainly has a special aura attached to it. Maybe it’s the misty Portland setting, Mt. Hood stoically perched above, the undulating hills and corresponding twisties spread out below. Perhaps it’s the hearty folk, head to toe in flannel and leather and ink, grinning and gritting their way through the chill of a February that would have me dialing up Úber rather than dialing in my carbs. Or it just might be the food, meat-centric, sauce-centric, eyes-bigger-than-your-stomach-centric, its aromas of smoked pork and chicken and hot from the oven pizzas and hot totties overpowering the grease and dust and exhaust-heavy environment.
No. It’s the bikes. Like the steady crowds that streamed through the enormous reclaimed steel factory space over the three-day event, all kinds are welcome. The collection has a little bit of everything. Purists can drool over perfectly restored examples of vintage, off-the-line perfection. Fabricators can drop jaws and rubberneck to see every fantastic detail of handcrafted, one-off customs that both inspire and dismay with their sheer audacity. Even modernists can get their fix of the latest tech-savvy, moto-gadget electrics, and petrol-be-damned battery powered eclectics. A spin through the expansive, multi-leveled show, every corner filled with something worthy of an IG post, debit card swipe, or at least a second look, left me feeling both overwhelmed and overjoyed.
The weekend was full, to put it plainly. Full of expectations; all met, most exceeded. Full of moments; so many memorable, some unmentionable. But mostly full of friends; plenty old (but aging nicely), plenty new, and even a few old, but renewed, those blasts from past shows and FB chats, and the like. This show definitely brings them all – the who’s who, the enthusiasts, the obsessives, the curious – and mixes it all into a wonderful mess, and mass of moto-junky delight. I’ll need a week or two to recuperate from all the stimulation that See See manages to fit into their show, and their macchiatos.
As I slid onto my JFK flight early Monday morning, happily arranging myself into my exit row bliss, my phone chimed in one last time before take off. The alert didn’t say much. It didn’t have to. Just a thumbs up emoji… and an exclamation point.