It’s undeniable that one of the things we as motorcyclists enjoy about our passion is the feeling of freedom afforded by our two-wheeled (or three-wheeled) friends—the sense that when we turn the throttle, we are leaving our cares behind. It’s a time when we can focus on one thing—riding—and forget about work, bills, the lawn, or that leaky kitchen faucet. It’s what I like to call “helmet time.”
It’s also an inescapable truth that as humans, we occasionally (or frequently) seek the company of other carbon-based life forms. More often than not, these are people we identify with—those who understand or share our ardor for motorcycling. In my case, that would be people who appreciate retro and vintage motorcycles, either classics from the past, or today’s modern bikes that pay homage to them. Sharing stories, making new connections, meeting up with old friends, or just drooling over some magnificent machine are great ways to spend time off the bike.
For that reason, we’ve compiled a list of hangouts and annual events from around the country that are geared toward vintage and retro motorcyclists, from West Coast to East Coast, North to South. Whether you live nearby, are just passing through, or are planning a trip, here is the “short list.”
The Rock Store
30354 Mulholland Hwy.
This restaurant/souvenir shop has been a haven for motorcycle enthusiasts since the 1960s. On any given weekend you’ll find no shortage of Triumphs, Guzzis, Harleys, Beemers, and the like gathered out front. Hang around long enough and you’re likely to cross paths with fellow aficionado Jay Leno on one of his vintage or custom bikes.
See See Motorcycles
1642 NE Sandy Blvd.
Opened in 2003 and situated in eastern Portland, this coffee shop/cafe sells gear aimed specifically at vintage and retro bike enthusiasts. See See founder Thor Drake is also responsible for launching the One Moto Show (see “Annual Events”).
The Dropout Bike Shop
131 Pine St.
Caffeine and motorcycling arrived in the “Biggest Little City in the World” in 2016 when, spurred by the success of its first store, See See opened a second location in downtown Reno.
17288 Skyline Blvd.
Operating since the 1960s, Alice’s is a very popular hangout for motorcyclists. Bikes of all shapes, sizes, and styles are ever present. And Alice’s serves pie!
396 Wythe Ave.
New York, NY
Part coffee shop, part apparel shop, Jane opened in Brooklyn in 2013 and has been a popular gathering spot since then.
670 Memorial Dr SE
Described as a community-based do-it-yourself garage, espresso bar, and motorcycle lifestyle goods shop, Brother Moto offers memberships that allow for the use of their shop and tools. It’s a unique and valuable asset to the Atlanta motorcycling community.
AMA Vintage Days
7721 Steam Corners Rd.
Held in Lexington, OH, each July, this long-running show, race, and swap meet is a must-do.
The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride
DGR takes place annually, with rides held around the globe.
Gilmore Vintage Motorcycle Show & Ride
6865 W Hickory Rd.
Hickory Corners, MI
The prestigious Gilmore Car Museum hosts the annual vintage motorcycle show, ride, and swap meet every year at its facilities in Hickory Corners, MI.
Bonneville Vintage Grand Prix
Vintage GP bikes have been racing and showing at the Utah Motorsports campus in Erda since 2006.
The One Moto Show
900 N Columbia Blvd.
Held in Portland, OR, the One Moto Show began in 2009 and continues to grow every year. It features custom, one-of-a-kind vintage and retro creations from a variety of builders.
Barber Vintage Festival
6030 Barber Motorsports Pkwy.
Taking place at the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum just outside of Birmingham, this three-day event is another one that’s not to be missed. It features races, shows, swap meets, and more.
What are your favorite motorcycle hangout spots? Post to our Facebook page and tag your favorite spots (@RoadRUNNERmag).