Photo Gallery / Portland’s Weird And Wonderful One Motorcycle Show

It’s one of the few things I remember where I can say “I was there at the beginning”, but… I was there at the beginning.

It was winter 2009 and news was spreading through text messages on state-of-the-art “smartphones” and fledgling social media platforms – including something called “Twitter” – that a mustachioed cafe owner of Portland with the unlikely name “Thor Drake” was putting an underground “motorcycle show” in an empty warehouse in Portland’s industrial district. Admission would be free, and there would also be live music and beer. Likely, free Beer. It was mid-February, the height of an Oregon winter, and on the day of the show, rain mixed with snow falling from a leaden sky as the temperature struggled to rise above the 30s. The organizers probably figured their die-hard runner friends and few others would show up at the shindig.

They were wrong. Very very, very wrong, but fortunately.

The guy who started it all: Thor Drake. Engine head. Coffee merchant. A cool Portland icon. Photo: Bill Roberson

Hundreds of Portland-area bikers showed up at the inaugural One Motorcycle Show and were rightly entertained by a jaw-dropping display of dozens of custom, vintage, and just plain weird motorcycles, plus several live bands, art works, and more. original art and coolers full of PBR.

It was fun. It was cool. It was cool. The One Show legend, as the locals call it, was born.

The event grew exponentially over the next few years, moving to bigger and bigger (and legal) venues and attracting thousands of attendees, hundreds of bikes and more than a few big-budget sponsors. Now in its 13th year, The One Motorcycle Show, also known as One Moto Show or simply One Show, is a Keep-Portland-Weird (and cool) institution and a high-profile event on the global motorcycle show calendar. the motorbike. The One Show now also includes races at off-site venues.

Companies like Indian Motorcycles, Red Bull, SW-Motech, Progressive, Bell, Danner, Zero Motorcycles and dozens of other brands have hitched a ride on Thor’s big idea. The show now essentially runs for three days and fills a massive old shipbuilding facility on Portland’s revitalized Willamette River waterfront, giving it cover from the (usually wet) Oregon elements while maintaining a spacious, open air (and low Covid risk) atmosphere.

Admission is no longer free, but several bands play throughout the show, craft breweries and craft food carts have replaced PBR coolers, and more than 200 bikes ranging from restomods to spotless restorations and a large number of simply never-before-seen bicycles (and a few cars/vans) line the concrete floors of the massive structure. There’s also plenty of motorcycle-themed artwork and some of the best people watching on the West Coast.

But despite over a decade of growth, the spirit, theme and sense of fun of the original Thor show remains: The “One” in the One Motorcycle Show is the answer to a simple question: if you could own, build, restore, customize or create the a perfect bike for you, What would that be? The answers, as seen in these photos, are numerous and very, very varied.

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