So, rewind back to 2005. Doesn't seem that long ago, but I was just back from Iraq, McGoo had just finished his first scratch-built machine and Chris was still working at Chica's. We wanted to start a brand that made affordable parts for guys that did most of their work for themselves. We talked about Biltwell but didn't quite have the plan together yet. What we did have was a silly notion to ride to Mexico and invite anyone else who was sick of the whole retarded chopper/motorcycle scene. Remember this was full-swing TV, fat-tire, nonsense-time. It didn't really cost anything except a few preruns and a home-made website. I vividly remember sitting on a workbench half-drunk and explaining it to Kim at my homecoming party.
We put the plan in motion and the next spring we did EDR01 with about 45 other idiots and had a blast. That was surely not the first grass roots motorcycle event of it's kind, but was the first one we had been involved in and it was a tipping point for several people I know. In the process, we met some seriously solid humans, too many to list, who have become real friends and we've watched them grow along side of us as we've cultivated this little company called Biltwell.
Back to 2009, the EDR may be in a coma, but the spirit is alive and well. In fact it burns brighter now than ever. We're in a recession, downturn, whatever. It's harder to get time off work, everyone is stressed over earning a living and good or bad, things are changing. The thing that hasn't changed, in fact it may be more important or relevant now, is how much fun it is to get on your motorcycle and ride the balls off of it. Especially somewhere new, and especially with other like-minded fruitcakes on hand-built deathtraps.
Having to try to sell shit like sparkly helmets and funky handlebars means you have to go to events where bikers congregate. It's a required deal that comes with the path we've chosen. We've done plenty of mainstream events over the last few years and should probably do more. With the limited resources we have, we should probably focus on doing events with more people, more exposure, etc. The bottom line is this - its hard to do shit that you just aren't into, no matter how much you might sell.
So, we're left cherry-picking the events we really want to go to. Other than reasonably local stuff (of which there are way too many) we've got to pick a couple and just go. Ironically the two big, out-of-town runs we are going to hit aren't even designed to sell stuff, and that's OK. We'll justify the expense by trying to make our own media about them, show off lots of pics, blog about it and have a good time hanging and riding with friends/customers in smaller, tighter numbers, rather than going to one more big ass parking lot set up for biker-shopping. Probably not the best business choice, but it's something we're into and that's important.
The two "travel" events we've picked this year are the East Coast Gypsy Run and the Ground Zero in New Mexico. Both of these rides are put on by our friends who "get it" and are the kinds of events we can get behind without a bit of hesitation. If you are anywhere near either one or need an excuse to ride through the congestion of Manhattan or the wilderness of New Mexico, they might just be for you. No one is measuring cuffs or checking the year of your bike. They are both open to anyone on any machine with the right attitude, and that's what we're into.
You can find out more here:
East Coast Gypsy Run / Ground Zero Throwdown