Memories of Ride-In Shows Past

June 28, 2021 | By Mike Seate

We maintain a healthy archive of images from all 12 of our previous Reader’s Ride-In Bike Shows and deep within we find some stirring examples of unique machines that you, our faithful readers have built for the show. It still amazes us that mechanics and fabricators will specifically target the August event with their projects, and we’re honored to see how many purpose-built custom bikes are revealed just for that one day. The dedication to the cause speaks volumes about how the ton-up motorcycle scene continues to thrive, despite never being embraced by motorcycling’s mainstream. Since our earliest event held during the AMA’s Vintage Motorcycle Days celebration at Mid-Ohio, the array of entries has shifted significantly from air-cooled British bikes from the 1950s through the ’70s into a dense field of, well, just about any motorcycle imaginable. Like custom choppers during the early years, the bikes being utilized as donors for cafe racer builds truly represent every imaginable brand, era and engine configuration. As a result, the most frequent comments we read from the entry forms submitted to choose each year’s People’s Choice Award are along the lines of “I didn’t know such-and-such bike could make such a cool cafe racer!”  In recent years, we’ve been blown straight away by tricked-out Honda Gold Wings, rare, 1940s Moto Guzzis, late-model Ducati superbikes that were stripped down and souped-up and even a 50cc moped given the complete Moto Go treatment. After adding a “Wildest Engineering” category that opened up the contest to bikes too weird to fit into any single category, we’ve been pleased to see many bobbers, sidecar rigs and other oddball bikes that previously may have bene excluded. Check out some of the unexpected winners that have graced our trophy presentations over the years and try and imagine what you could create using the same amount of creativity, skill and sweat equity. Build on and we’ll see you come August 15th!