When was the last time you went to a bike show with over 2,000 killer choppers, walked or rode in for nothing, grabbed some grub and a drink for nothing, and hung out with your friends from all over the world with the chance to take home a 1950 Panhead chopper? Quite preposterous, right? Why would anyone let over 5,000 people into a show for free? Could it be about the bikes and not the money? No way-or way?
The Born-Free show was started in 2009 by a few friends as an alternative to big expensive bike shows that never even really have much "good" stuff to look at. For Born-Free you just show up and be part of the experience because it is about riding, building, and enjoying motorcycles. The ripples from the first Born-Free show spread far and wide, and this year people rode old bikes from all over North America and flew from all corners of the globe to literally be a part of Born-Free 2 which took place for a mere six hours in Signal Hill, California.
The Born-Free founders talked Mike O'Brian of Pacific Coast Cycles into hosting what we thought would be a modest grassroots event, and on June 12th, one block of Lewis Avenue was crammed with a sea of eager motorcycle builders, riders, buyers, lookers, good-timers, and enthusiasts. The sheer numbers shocked everyone in attendance, and the out-of-towners got to see many of their favorite real-world bikes from magazines and blogs all in one place while the locals got more than an eyeful of scooters we've never seen before, many built just to ride to the show. Most were pre-Evo packed and filthy from the many thousands of rough miles it took to get here, and there were sunburned, peeling, but smiling faces, blistered wrists, and sore keisters to prove it. There were no tough-guy attitudes, no fights, no bad vibes-something that surprised people more and more as the day wore on. Not to get all hippie on you, but it was almost like Woodstock for choppers.
The most rewarding thing for us as the show founders is the thousands of people who made the sacrifices to be there and their adventure stories to go along with their journey. These are tales that won't be forgotten. Every person said Born-Free gave them the excuse they needed to ride across the country with many coming to the West Coast for the first time. It wouldn't have happened without all the support from the over 60 sponsors and each and every person who showed up.
To cap the day, at 4 o'clock after 15 peer-picked awards were given out a name was drawn from a limited number of tickets for someone to take home a 1950 Panhead that was built by the Born-Free staff. Tim Martin bought a single ticket the day of the show, and now has his first big-twin H-D parked in his garage next to his Triumph-what a day.
Mark your calendars now for June 25, 2011, because that's when Born-Free 3 will take place. There will be plenty of space for BF3 at SoCal's Oak Canyon Ranch, and someone will be taking home a Knucklehead built by the famous Garage Company in L.A.! For more info, visit www.bornfreeshow.com and make plans, not excuses!
For more in-depth photos and a complete build list of parts used on this bike go to: streetchopperweb.com.