Of all the places cars and bikes have taken me this one will forever hold a special place in my mind.
My travels started in Long Beach Los Angeles, picking up the BMW Chopper from Roland Sands along with two other bikes that needed delivering to Sturgis for BMW Motorcycles and Indian Motorcycles.
I can’t thank Roland and the Team enough for their assistance while I have been in the USA, having access to this van made the 4,000 mile long road trip a dream.
The route to South Dakota took me through Nevada, Arizona and into Colorado which was absolutely beautiful.
After Colorado we travelled through Wyoming and the diversity of the American landscape really showed through.
Arriving in Sturgis was surreal, this tiny little town usually houses 7,000 people and during the motorcycle rally this blows out to over half a million people. Riders and enthusiasts from all over America (and the world) converge here to enjoy the festival that encompasses everything your typical motorcyclist enjoys.
That includes some of the best riding I have ever seen, the Black Hills roads flows through some extremely picturesque lands.
Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse and other significant landmarks are just a short ride away, Sturgis can be as much a cultural experience as a motorcycle festival.
Seeing the local Bison is a must do activity and Custer State Park has almost 1,500 of them roaming the fields.
After unloading the Roland Sands Bikes from the van we could check out the bikes around Sturgis.
I quickly realised that I wouldn’t see everything, the shear size of the place and the amount of things to do outweighed the hours that I would be here for.
It’s no surprise that Harley Davidsons dominated the landscape and it was cool to see that vintage bikes still have their place at Sturgis.
It’s not all two wheels either!
I have one man to thank for this incredible opportunity and it is the one and only Micheal Lichter who curates the Motorcycles as Art Exhibition.
This years show was titled “Emergin Virgin” and it displayed artists and builders who had not been a part of Sturgis before, it created a hall of bikes and art that stretched from all corners of the globe.
The shows opening night gave me a chance to get to know some of the other builders, one who I was thrilled to meet was Kully Millage from KullyCo
Kully is driven to create through performance and put a completely unique spin on one of the most modified bikes of our time, the Sportster. The deeper you look into this bike the more appreciative of Kully’s fabrication skills you become. Titanium frame, Tiutanium pipe, torsion bar rear suspension, Ohlins shocks, hand crafted body and numerous other details show just how innovative Kully’s vision and skills are.
Every single bike in the room deserved its own feature but I am just picking a few for this post, this is Garett Wilson’s KTM Tracker and after having a conversation with Garett it was cool to hear that he had been following my KTM builds and used some of that inspiration in his own. This is a beautifully finished bike and I’m excited to follow Garett to see how he enjoys riding this bike, it looks like a whole lot of fun.
All in all the show was a huge success and I had a great time being a part of it.
I built this bike through a very difficult time in my life, I didn’t always see the finish line during the build and it certainly wasn’t one of those dream builds that carries 0 compromises. However it’s success has really surprised me and shown me that if I follow the process, stay true to my goals and stay positive anything can happen.
From Born Free to Sturgis I am really grateful for these opportunities, building a bike is simply a conversation starter and its allowed me to meet and get to know some wonderful humans as a result.
I mentioned before that there is a lot going on around Sturgis, on the same night as our builder party the AFT Flat Track was on at Rapid City, I wasn’t going to miss this and it was incredible to finally witness a race meeting after following it for so long.
It was honestly one of the coolest things to see.
Sturgis Dragway had a bunch of racing on too, as a 4 wheel lover I had to check it out.
The locals bought out the big guns!
These dirt draggers showed up and put on a hell of a show, I love seeing new forms of motorsport and this one didn’t disappoint.
Big bad V8’s grappling for grip on the dirt, what more could you ask for?
Unknown Industries put on a hell of a show outside of Harley Davidsons setup.
The Choppical Pool Party was brought to us by Prism Supply and Harley Davidson. People put their skin on the line to take home the cash in a hotly contested bellyflop contest in the middle of Downtown Deadwood.
After a long night that seemed to never end the show was over for us and we had to face the long drive back to LA.
But not before a very late photo shoot for a very established Chopper magazine that I am excited to be a part of.
These new States and the small towns that call them home have been an incredibly enjoyable way to get to know America better. I was reluctant to leave and head back to LA because I knew I had just scratched the surface and there was so much more to experience. I guess that sums up this trip, too much to see and not enough time to do it.
As is often the case in America I just so happened to find a big dessert race being held in Primm NV, it’s called the Vegas to Reno and it’s a big 500 mile race from (you guessed it) Vegas to Reno.
I never get tired of seeing the engineering that goes into offroad racing, it is by far the most gruelling motorsport and it requires a lot of strength and resiliance to make it through.
Thanks for reading, this was a wild adventure and one that I am excited to share with you.
Nigel, loved your story. Thank you and for the photos. I’m not a revhead but you made it into an enjoyable read. We did a similiar trip (but not looking at bikes/cars) in the late 1990s. Worked at CTS with your mum and dad! Well done.
Thank you Jim, Great to be out on the road exploring!