Million Dollar Custom Bikes? I Ain’t Buying It

it's worth a millionAs editor of this esteemed fish wrapper, it’s my job to stay abreast on the trends in the motorcycle industry, and, believe me, staying abreast is a full time job with me, and one I thoroughly enjoy.

The only thing I like better is a well placed double entendre.

But, enough about me.

I wanna discuss the time I wasted…er.. spent recently watching Sturgis Motorcycle Mania on the Travel Channel.

To be fair, the production value of the episodes was and is outstanding. Produced by Big Fish Entertainment (Bethesda Maryland) the camera work and post production editing are as good as any I’ve ever seen, and frankly much better than anything I’ve been involved with.

But I guess what’s eating my cheese is the ridiculous hyperbole the producers insert into the story line as artificial drama in whatever event they’re taping.

A case in point was their coverage of one of the bike shows. To hype the importance of this show, and create artificial tension between the participants, the narrator says that the value of the winning bike could reach as much as “1 MILLION DOLLARS!”

It was at this point when I paused the DVR, went into my garage and retrieved my bullshit flag. It was obvious I was going to need it a lot during the next 45 minutes.

Admittedly I’m not the foremost authority on custom motorcycles, but even with my head stuck up my proverbial arse most of the time, I think I would’ve heard about builders spending less than $30k in parts and fabrication building show bikes, turning around and earning a cool million when they win this bike show.

With stakes that high the builders would be hiring 24 hour security guards and installing wireless cameras to watch their bikes when they sleep.

This wasn’t the only “contest” on the show that was hyped way beyond the realm of believability.

I suppose the target audience of these type shows isn’t middle aged motorcycle magazine editors.

I suspect these shows are aimed more toward the non-motorcycle riding viewer. Or at least the viewer who has heard the legend of Sturgis and fantasizes that one day he or she will have the funds to participate in what has become known as the “Greatest Motorcycle Show on Earth!”

My apologies to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus people for that blatant tag line rip-off.

But, truth be told the “Sturgis Experience” for lack of a better term is, for those who have yet to attend, the pinnacle of the motorcycle life.

The phrase “This year, I’m going to Sturgis” is to bikers what the phrase “This year, I’m going to Vegas” is to hard core gamblers.

Those motorcycle riders who live as much for the lifestyle as the ride, see Sturgis as the one “must do” destinations before they die.

It’s a desire I completely understand.

There are very few opportunities for working stiffs such as you and I to participate in “epic adventures.”

That’s part of the mystique of the Black Hills Rally. Even if you’re not interested in the gratuitous nudity, the easy to find debauchery, or the simply weird beyond biker weird, travelling to Sturgis promises so much more.

Endless miles of breathtaking scenery. Endless miles of prairies, bisected with mountains wrapped with ribbons of blacktop that are as close to motorcycle riding heaven as you’re likely to see this side of dirt.

Add to it the distance involved just to get there and you have the perfect recipe for a bucket list adventure worthy of wintertime daydreams, without all the made up drama.

Now that I think about it, the biggest prize in Sturgis isn’t winning some bike show, or burnout contest, and there’s not drama involved. The most valuable prize is the experience.

And, as we all know, it’s the things we do, not the things we have, that nourish our soul the most, no drama needed.

Until next time, ride safe, and always take the road less traveled

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