As hard as I tried to stress out about this past Saturday's super last minute event everything just kept falling into place. I'm usually really good about building up crippling anxiety over minor hurdles and tight deadlines by mentally embellishing the issue. It works great. All you need is a small glint of possible failure and you knead it up from there until you've baked it into a nice dense loaf of debilitating panic. I hadn't had time to get a flyer together until 5 days before the event, the forecast called for an 80% chance of earth shattering T-Storms, and the city was a ghost town due to the holiday weekend. There was plenty of trauma fuel to go around. Saturday morning rolled around and I woke up fearing the day would be filled with effort and struggle, yielding minimal results.
I was banking on the T-Storms doing the whole day in with one fell swoop. Surprisingly they missed Chicago by miles, unleashing all their terror on the folks of Gary, Indiana. Instead, the sky opened up and the sun blasted us throughout the day, making the moto ride we had planned around Chicago entirely possible. It was a huge relief and gave me hope that the day had not been lost.
I was still concerned about the lack of fair warning and the holiday weekend deterring people from attending. Then one by one bike's started filing in, even before the kick-off time of 2PM, until the entire block was stuffed with custom vintage metal and the shop was bustling with gleaming event-goers. The oh-so generous folks at Metric Coffee were there doling out their cold-pressed caffeine to pick people up before our jaunt around the city.
I met far too many interesting folks with similar interests to ever hope I'd remember everyone's names so please forgive me if I botched yours or just plain ran a blank. Unfortunately my brain works almost exclusively in retaining imagery and leaves zero room for names, numbers, dates etc. This has been a life long issue of forgotten family member birthdays, missing important meetings, getting lost driving to places I've been dozens of times etc. We counted around 65 bikes which was huge for me. It was great to have so many people come out and support the shop. I had trouble finding any of my photog friends who were free for the weekend so I was a bit bummed that we might not get shots of everything going down. Aaannnddddd up rolls this Alex Hawn fellow with a .50cal camera around his neck, a backpack full of lenses and an unwavering amount of rolling confidence that allowed him to capture every mile of our journey in wide angled hi-resolution. A big thanks to Alex for coming out. This feature would have been all low-res blurry cell phone shots otherwise.
The ride around the city went down without a hitch despite my repeated attempts to lose everyone on the South Side. We headed east to the city center via Lake St. under the historic L tracks, then jumped on Lower Wacker Drive and snaked around underneath the city until we hit the coast. You might know Lower Wacker as the Bat Cave entrance in Dark Knight - sans Lamborghini. From there we cruised down traffic-free Lake Shore Drive to Jackson Park, the headquarters of the 1893 World's Fair and the biggest park in the city at 500 acres. I tried to keep us on some wide lane roads as we headed back north via State St. to Roosevelt and up to the event at Una Maes.
It had all fallen into place. Every last detail. The folks at Una Maes met the end of our journey with a pop-up tent party filled with ice cold adult beverages from Letherbee Gin and Goose Island, new gear on display from Red Wing Heritage and Deus ex Machina, and to top it all off everything was on sale.
Thanks to everyone for coming out. It was a ton of fun and I plan on there being many more meet ups in the future. Big thanks to these folks for helping make it happen:
- Nick from Una Maes Chicago
- Alex from Alex Hawn Photography
- Xavier from Metric Coffee
- Jen from Deus ex Machina
- Johnny from Motoworks Chicago
...and anyone else who helped get the word out. For Alex's full photo set of the event check the link above.Side note: Yes, that XR650 is the shit. Stay tuned for a full feature!