The One Moto show is a testimony to the extraordinary power of the creative itch. The show, held last weekend in an old manufacturing facility in Portland, Oregon was 20,000 square feet of individual stories. Each bike, helmet and piece of art on the rustic walls told a tale of rising from an idea to existence.
Far from the columns of copy-and-paste hardtails and lookalike café racers, the show is regarded as one of the nations best for genre-bending builders, artists and adventurers seeking to pay homage to their creative drive.
This focus on the individual and creativity over cliché is reflected in the show’s name and the mission of its promoter and curator, Thor Drake, who believes that a bike means more to someone through stories and experiences. If show attendance is any indication, Drake is spot on.
A persistent line of people 3 abreast extended around the block for the 3 day show. Over 13,000 visitors came to see what can happen when artists and builders give way to their creativity. The diversity of builds made it impossible for anyone to walk away unsatisfied. Battle worn adventure bikes having made the journey of a lifetime stood as equals among intricate builds brought to life one hand-formed piece at a time.
Big names among the new wave motorcycle scene like Roland Sands, Deus Ex Machina and Ronin meshed with one-off builders from far and wide to fill the building with inspired works. Some exalted form over function, others allowing form to follow function. None seemed to shy away from being bold.
Larry and Carol Romestant of Riverside, California drove 18 hours straight to display their hand-crafted BMW K1200. “It was a pretty big ask because it’s a long way and expensive to get here. But we knew this was important. There’s some big names here and we knew we needed to be here.”, he says of the shows draw. The Romestants used the BMW K aka “The Brick” as an unlikely platform for a café racer style of bike that could have been produced by the factory.
“The K engine didn’t start production until 1983 and it missed the chance to be a part of the café craze of the 60’s and 70’s. So, I’m trying to give it that opportunity”, Romestant says of his K’Agusta, a mixture of German engineering with beautifully crafted Italian styling. More about the K’Agusta here.
In keeping with the show’s penchant for individualism, the accompanying 21 Helmets display took center stage, showing that you can make your lid a thing of beauty. Artists from around the globe were given a Bell Bullitt helmet to decorate any way they saw fit. Noted Los Angeles based artist Ornamental Conifer‘s work featured a painted visor, something he’s caught some grief over.
“One of the old Bell helmets, the Drag helmet, was really cool because it had a small slot and they’re really hard to find now. I kind of paint my visors like that and they work great.” he says of his inspiration. “But people are always like, ‘you’ve ruined a perfectly good helmet, can’t even see out of it, stupid art on helmets..’, but it’s fully functional. The Bullitt is pretty deep and you can see better than if you were wearing goggles.”
In typical Portlandia fashion, there was no shortage of coffee drinks to be had. Title sponsor See See Motor Coffee Company had the crowd sipping all organic lattés and Americanos from paper cups during the day and beer filled can koozies during the afternoon hours. Add to this the organic Bratwursts and other extraordinary hand-held cuisine and there just didn’t seem to be any reason to leave the building.
That is, unless you wanted to try your hand at mini-moto flat track racing. Yep, for a $5 donation you could strap on a helmet and take a few turns of bar-banging, flat track action astride a pit bike on a scaled down plywood track, complete with flagger and race announcer.
“This is probably one of my favorite parts”, announcer and instigator Thor Drake says of the racing. “I love to call the races!”
Live music from inside the show crashed and echoed off of the surrounding industrial buildings keeping the vibe alive for revelers inside as well as for the hopeful participants surrounding the building making the wait a bit more bearable.
While Portland gets a bad rap for epic beards, coffee snobbery and GMOphobia, there’s a vibrant space for creativity to thrive. It’s creativity that draws people from long distances. They come not exactly sure what to expect, but knowing that they’ll likely not find it anywhere else. In the case of The One Moto show, they’re right on target.
The One Moto
Images from The One Moto show, Portland, Oregon, February 13-15, 2015
21 Helmets at The One Moto show in Portland, Oregon - Patrick Farrell Photo[img src=http://23moto.com/wp-content/flagallery/the-one-moto/thumbs/thumbs_the1moto-2015-p-farrell-8753.jpg]13021 Helmets at The One Moto show in Portland, Oregon - Patrick Farrell Photo
21 Helmets at The One Moto show in Portland, Oregon - Patrick Farrell Photo[img src=http://23moto.com/wp-content/flagallery/the-one-moto/thumbs/thumbs_the1moto-2015-p-farrell-8758.jpg]120Roland Sands' Track Chief
Roland Sands' Track Chief at The One Moto Show - Patrick Farrell photo[img src=http://23moto.com/wp-content/flagallery/the-one-moto/thumbs/thumbs_the1moto-2015-p-farrell-8767.jpg]130Awards for The One Moto show
Awards for The One Moto show[img src=http://23moto.com/wp-content/flagallery/the-one-moto/thumbs/thumbs_the1moto-2015-p-farrell-8773.jpg]160Cool spaces for cool people
Cool spaces for cool people - The One Moto show in Portland Oregon[img src=http://23moto.com/wp-content/flagallery/the-one-moto/thumbs/thumbs_the1moto-2015-p-farrell-8781.jpg]9013,000 People visited The One Moto show in Portland this year
13,000 People visited The One Moto show in Portland this year[img src=http://23moto.com/wp-content/flagallery/the-one-moto/thumbs/thumbs_the1moto-2015-p-farrell-8784.jpg]100Unique builds reign supreme at The One Moto Show
Unique builds reign supreme at The One Moto Show - Patrick Farrell photo[img src=http://23moto.com/wp-content/flagallery/the-one-moto/thumbs/thumbs_the1moto-2015-p-farrell-8788.jpg]130Unique builds reign supreme at The One Moto Show
Unique builds reign supreme at The One Moto Show - Patrick Farrell Photo[img src=http://23moto.com/wp-content/flagallery/the-one-moto/thumbs/thumbs_the1moto-2015-p-farrell-8790.jpg]150Creative execution at The One Moto Show
Creative execution at The One Moto Show - Patrick Farrell photo[img src=http://23moto.com/wp-content/flagallery/the-one-moto/thumbs/thumbs_the1moto-2015-p-farrell-8795.jpg]120Diversity in builds makes for a great show at The One Moto show
Diversity in builds makes for a great show at The One Moto show - Patrick Farrell photo[img src=http://23moto.com/wp-content/flagallery/the-one-moto/thumbs/thumbs_the1moto-2015-p-farrell-8797.jpg]150Art combines with sweat to make the best of the best shine at The One Moto show
Art combines with sweat to make the best of the best shine at The One Moto show - Patrick Farrell photo[img src=http://23moto.com/wp-content/flagallery/the-one-moto/thumbs/thumbs_the1moto-2015-p-farrell-8803.jpg]130
[img src=http://23moto.com/wp-content/flagallery/the-one-moto/thumbs/thumbs_the1moto-2015-p-farrell-8814.jpg]110A great lineup of hand crafted and beautiful builds at The One Moto
A great lineup of hand crafted and beautiful builds at The One Moto[img src=http://23moto.com/wp-content/flagallery/the-one-moto/thumbs/thumbs_the1moto-2015-p-farrell-8824.jpg]230Put a skateboard rack on it!
Put a skateboard rack on it![img src=http://23moto.com/wp-content/flagallery/the-one-moto/thumbs/thumbs_the1moto-2015-p-farrell-8825.jpg]100Larry Romestant and his K1200 K'Agusta
Larry Romestant and his K1200 K'Agusta[img src=http://23moto.com/wp-content/flagallery/the-one-moto/thumbs/thumbs_the1moto-2015-p-farrell-8834.jpg]150Art, Bikes, can't go wrong
Art, Bikes, can't go wrong at The One Moto show in Portland Oregon - Patrick Farrell photo[img src=http://23moto.com/wp-content/flagallery/the-one-moto/thumbs/thumbs_the1moto-2015-p-farrell-8840.jpg]160Andy DiBrino's ICON 1000 Flat Tracker at THe One Moto show in Portland
Andy DiBrino's ICON 1000 Flat Tracker at THe One Moto show in Portland - Patrick Farrell photo[img src=http://23moto.com/wp-content/flagallery/the-one-moto/thumbs/thumbs_the1moto-2015-p-farrell-8847.jpg]80Slinging coffee drinks for the folk. See See brings it.
Slinging coffee drinks for the folk. See See brings it.[img src=http://23moto.com/wp-content/flagallery/the-one-moto/thumbs/thumbs_the1moto-2015-p-farrell-8867.jpg]100Mini-moto flat trackers at The One Moto
Mini-moto flat trackers at The One Moto[img src=http://23moto.com/wp-content/flagallery/the-one-moto/thumbs/thumbs_the1moto-2015-p-farrell-8888.jpg]10021 Helmets, a show in a show.
21 Helmets, a show in a show.[img src=http://23moto.com/wp-content/flagallery/the-one-moto/thumbs/thumbs_the1moto-2015-p-farrell-8908.jpg]80Keep Portland Weird. I always bring my parrot to the show!
Keep Portland Weird. I always bring my parrot to the show![img src=http://23moto.com/wp-content/flagallery/the-one-moto/thumbs/thumbs_the1moto-2015-p-farrell-8912.jpg]70Diversity in builds. Electric dirt tracker to café racers.
Diversity in builds. Electric dirt tracker to café racers.[img src=http://23moto.com/wp-content/flagallery/the-one-moto/thumbs/thumbs_the1moto-2015-p-farrell-8916.jpg]100Beautiful, hand built creations are among the many bikes to be seen at The One Moto show in Portland
Beautiful, hand built creations are among the many bikes to be seen at The One Moto show in Portland - Patrick Farrell photo[img src=http://23moto.com/wp-content/flagallery/the-one-moto/thumbs/thumbs_the1moto-2015-p-farrell-8934.jpg]110Hot licks and serious kicks as the band keeps the vibe alive at The One Moto
Hot licks and serious kicks as the band keeps the vibe alive at The One Moto[img src=http://23moto.com/wp-content/flagallery/the-one-moto/thumbs/thumbs_the1moto-2015-p-farrell-8945.jpg]120West America tells their story on the walls above their XR600s
West America tells their story on the walls above their XR600s