TIMONIUM, MD., FEB 8-10–Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring on Groundhog Day this year. However, if you live anywhere in New England you would not necessarily have agreed, as a week later the Northeast was blanketed with a storm many were comparing to the blizzard of ’78. It also happened to be the same weekend as this year’s Timonium Motorcycle Show. Fortunately for those located in eastern Maryland and southeastern Pennsylvania the storm passed north of us, leaving a dusting and a brief cold snap on Friday. By midday on both Saturday and Sunday the temperatures had risen into the low 40s; warm enough to bring out scores of hardy riders for what has become a staple of the winter motorcycle circuit in the Mid-Atlantic region.
By mid-February most bikers are itching for warmer weather and the beginning of riding season. The Timonium show was the perfect excuse to get a mid-winter motorcycle fix, especially if Daytona Bike Week is not an option. All of the major marques were represented, along with several custom shops and a multitude of vendors. If you were in the market for a new ride, each of the dealers were more than willing to deal, and by Sunday afternoon there were several sold signs on much of the inventory brought to the show. Even if a new bike was not in the cards, there were plenty of vendors offering deals on a wide range of items including aftermarket parts, leathers, T-shirts, all manner of polishes and cleaning items, trailers and other assorted doo-dads. Representatives from Thunder in the Valley, Ocean City Bikefest and Morgantown, West Virginia (MountainFest), were on hand promoting their upcoming events for the summer. This was a great opportunity to meet with the promoters and get firsthand information on the highlights of each of these events.
If you were shopped out, there was a long list of entertainment throughout each of the three days of the show. Vinnie and Cody, formerly of American Chopper, were on hand to sign autographs and promote their latest venture. Emilio Rivera from Sons of Anarchy was back again this year, and David Uhl had a large display of his artwork for sale, or just to admire. The entertainment stage featured a range of acts from hypnotist Matt Davis to a frozen T-shirt contest, tattoo contest and a model search for the International Bikini Team.
Late Sunday afternoon, Michele Smith of Two Wheel Thunder presented the awards in the custom and antique bike show. Each year contestants apply to the promoter for the privilege of displaying their bikes in the show and with categories for just about every type of motorcycle, the field tends to be both wide and deep. I am amazed at the creativity on display for the custom entries and the level of detail on the antique entries, most of which look better than when they left the factory. Jim Wubben of P.B Choppers unveiled his latest creation, a John Wayne tribute bike, which was very popular.
The other half of the show was the swap meet held in an adjacent building. If the main hall was all prim and proper, if that’s even possible at a major motorcycle event, the swap meet was down, dirty and pretty much anything goes. The bikes here looked like stuff anyone with a moderate amount of skill could build in their own garage. Although I am sure many of the display bikes in the main hall are ridden, the bikes in the swap meet, for the most part, looked more like the bikes one would ride on a daily basis. I appreciate bikes that are ridden on the road so I find these more approachable and also see a level of genius not always evident on the fancy bikes in the main hall. One bike that garnered significant attention was Jerry Cupp’s 76″ Ironhead custom. The bike was built as a hill climber, but looked much too nice to throw off the top of a steep hill. He did all the design work and most of the machine work himself.
As usual, the Timonium show attracted large crowds each day over the weekend. The vendors I spoke with were happy with the results, and plans are already in the works for next year’s show.