The annual The One Motorcycle Show blew through Portland, Oregon, over the weekend. The three-day event showcases motorcycles, art, and contemporary culture inside a decommissioned pickle factory turned rustic temporary exhibition hall. The 600,000-square-foot space houses more than 200 of the best custom exotics from builders around the world.
This year marked the the show’s 10th anniversary after being born on a whim by Thor Drake, owner of Portland’s See See Motor Coffee.
“Most of the shows were [in] convention halls or a grassy field or something that didn’t really do justice for the amount of time and passion that people put into motorcycles,” Drake told us when asked how the show began. “It was a hair-brained idea and it sort of resonated, just like most things that are good.
“Each year we try to add a new thing, [a] new layer to it that kind of crosses different communities and really brings people together,” he said.
Things kicked off Thursday evening at Portland’s Hollywood Theater for a screening of Oil in the Blood, a documentary that shows off men and women who make building, riding, and racing custom motorcycles their life.
The show officially got underway Friday evening with die-hard fans braving a winter storm that dumped a few inches of snow overnight.
Once again the event featured electric minibike races, live music, a tattoo space, as well as a seemingly endless stream of coffee and/or libations to keep your mind properly lubricated and up to speed. Vendors, many from the Pacific Northwest, also offered a variety of lifestyle-centric clothing and accessories, as well as one-of-a-kind motorcycle-inspired art pieces for purchase.
“I heard from a lot of people that they weren’t able to make it just because they got scared,” Drake said when asked if the icy winter weather put a dent in this year’s attendance.
“The attendance was still great,” he added, compared to last year’s event, which had more than 18,000 people walk through the doors.
“Even last night the races were packed. And that’s 45 minutes south… or I guess an hour and a half if you’re in the snow,” he laughed. “It was a good turnout, I’d say.”
For those willing to brave the wicked weather, they were treated to a loud and exciting evening of covered flat-track racing inside the Salem, Oregon, fairgrounds, located south of Portland. The race also featured the opening round of the 2019 Super Hooligan series.
“I’d say the biggest noticeable thing is that now there’s a heavy contingent of racers who are kind of aware of the custom culture and vice versa,” Drake told us with most of the racers taking part in the entire weekend event.
Next year, however, Drake plans to merge the racing and show components bringing it inside one venue at downtown Portland’s historic Memorial Coliseum.
“The Beatles played there,” Drake said. “The [Portland] Blazers won their 1977 championship [there]. It’s right downtown. It’s a cool building from the ’70s.
“I think we can add more racing and we can add the bike show and all of it under one roof. That to me is how you get to the bigger masses, to influence the next generation of kids,” he said.
“My goal is if I can put a dent in the monster truck crowd,” he explained. “I love monster trucks. They’re cool as shit, but I just want to get those guys to be stoked on local-level racers, not some big, Monster Energy-sponsored, one-truck driver. There’s no community in that. It’s just a show. I would rather the show be about local energy. So if I can do one thing and just put local racers in the big arena and get some people stoked.”