The 1 Moto Show

The 1 Moto journey all began with a late night text that came from TS Director of Brand Marketing, Brian. Half asleep, I glanced at my phone to see a stunning photo of a ripper on a Moto Guzzi Resto-Mod posted up in front of an enormous raging gorilla mural painted on the wall behind it. The message from Brian, “We have to get to this show up in Portland. It’s called The 1 Moto.” Without hesitation I responded, “HELL YEAH”, as that image alone was all I needed to see.

A highly customized vintage motorbike with a surfboard mounted in a carrier on the far side.

We knew this trip was going to be one for the books, so the week before we called in a favor from our neighbourhood friend Damon at New Bohemia Signs. We dropped by with a special request to transform a select few Moto Jackets, handmade in San Francisco by Golden Bear, into something truly unique with custom painted lettering dropped on each one. Damon was up to the challenge and we couldn’t have been more impressed with what he whipped up. The only thing better than their impressive looks was the story behind them—designed, hand built and hand painted all within a mile of our home base in San Francisco.

Fast forward two weeks and I’m cruising out to Bolinas in a cargo van with Jose, my first mate, to pick up the third amigo Mikey, co-founder and Creative Director at TS, to begin the twelve hour haul from San Francisco to Portland. En route to meet him I receive a text, “Hey man, sorry running late. Had to pick up my buddy Kelly he’s coming with.” The first part didn’t come as much of a surprise, the second part did—mostly because Kelly showed up with not one but two motorcycles that were coming along for the journey. Four guys, a load of gear and two vintage motos were quickly shoved into the van packed to the brim and we were I-5 bound north to Portland.

A vintage orange and yellow neon sign featuring an angry bird with cigar stub in its mouth.

Having never made the drive between SF and PDX myself I was completely blown away by the views of Mt. Shasta as we approached the behemoth down the pass. Its presence grew until its enormity essentially swallowed everything in site. The 14,000 ft peak bolted high into the heavens on our right while the sun was making its way below the horizon on our left as we continued our push north.

We stopped off for a quick bite in Medford and happened to meet a couple of local dudes working at the helm of an agriculture startup. Originally Texas born, the duo chose Oregon as HQ for obvious reasons—they’d launched a full-scale industrial hemp operation. Their sales pitch came as naturally as their mosey as they gave us a run down of their five year plan in full farmer meets startup style. Sporting 6X Stetsons up top, Patagonia hemp canvas work jackets and Made in Texas barn boots, the two Hemp Cowboys seemed destined for eventual baron status.

Back on the road and full steam ahead for the final leg—we pushed through the tiredness setting in and finally rolled into Portland around midnight. After arrival, our first order of business was some much needed refreshments at a local watering hole, The Florida Room. We were greeted by a retro neon sign and locals hanging out front where we cracked open tall cans of Olympia and cheered to being out of that van for the night.

Once the show kicked off, the following three days were a blur of pure radness. The photos serve the event the most justice which capture the essence of a wild and unconventional gathering of 18,000 people with one thing in common— a passion for motorcycles. A giant empty warehouse was converted into full blown party center with insane bikes from builders around the world. Outside the front entrance, two huge stacked containers housed an impressive fleet of new Indian’s to greet attendees as they funneled through the doors to enter into a vast landscape of bikes, art, music, drinks, and community.

A retro-mod motorbike displayed in a brightly-lit space, with people walking behind looking at other displays.

Upstairs, Kelly’s ’56 BMW (officially named “Gnar of Whatevs”) was parked in our display space leaking oil all over the concrete floor while his BSA was highlighted in full NorCal character fitted with a surfboard & surf rack that he and a buddy fabricated the day before. Over 200 bikes were in house, each with their own enticing story. A few standouts to name a few—’48 Indian Chief, ’74 BMW R90, and a badass Husqvarna 610 Cross Resto-Mod that would’ve made Steve McQueen’s palms sweat with the thought of twisting the throttle. We decided that these would be the lucky three deserving of the special set of Moto Jackets that Damon blessed with his paintbrush. There was no question that the jackets were destined to be with these bikes, so we handed them over one by one to their rightful, new owners.

A vintage green Harley-Davidson with yellow wheels, on display, with graffitied steel and tools in the background.

Snow piled up on the cold ground outside, a rarity for Portland, while the warehouse was hot with energy from a wild mix of personalities. The more time we spent hanging at the show, the more it became obvious that The 1 Moto Show was never completely about the bikes—but the community behind them. Sure, there’s no way to describe a curation of this mechanical pedigree other than “unmatched”. Being able to check out a collection of bikes like this all in one place was totally surreal but the same holds true for the people we were able to share some stories, laughter and drinks with.

It all happened in a blink of an eye but it was sure was one hell of a time.

Before I knew it, the sun rose on a crisp Sunday morning and we were jamming the bikes and gear back into the van to start the trek home. A couple of stops for gas, some Truck Stop Delight (a carefully portioned mix of coffee and hot chocolate that Mikey turned me onto) and twelve hours later we were back home in Northern California to close out another excellent adventure with the crew.

All that said, I think it's safe to say that that we’ll find our way back to Portland for next year’s show.

Overhead shot of the reverse 'The One Motorcycle Show'-printed white jacket on a black floor.

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