Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2012

The scene found at Chicago’s Mods vs Rockers goes far beyond the cafe racer craze. Sure, the event is inspired by vintage British motorcycles and Italian metal-bodied scooters, but the curbs are endlessly lined with all types of old, custom and unique bikes. For the eighth year, the small trees and lampposts along busy Lincoln Avenue are flooded with motorcyclists and pedestrians-turned-admirers. Here’s just a sampling of what it looked like through the lens of Good Spark Garage…

Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2012

Larry Fletcher’s vintage Triton and leather jacket homage to the cafe racer culture.

Near the intersection of Lincoln, Diversey and Racine, the landmark whisky bar, Delilah’s, acts as the meet-up destination and bike show from 1-5pm.

Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2012

Martin Cimek on his Triumph Speed Triple. He’s the creative genius behind the MvR branding and illustration.

Two route options were available for the Rumble Run to the Bottom Lounge. One was somewhat of a straight path via Ashland Avenue. The other was a jagged jaunt through downtown past Buckingham Fountain for a group pic.

Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2012

Corey of Good Spark Garage (left), shooting video of some of the riders.

Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2012

Lee Rocker at Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2012

Stray Cat, Lee Rocker slappin’ the bass to the crowd’s delight. That’s guitarist Brophy Dale on the right.

A rockin’ addition to this year’s event was the Rockabilly Riot at the Bottom Lounge featuring the Bama Lamas, Johnny Murder and the 25 to Life, and the headlining Stray Cat, Lee Rocker. Lee and the band put on a heck of a show with a few Stray Cat hits, original music and some throwback songs like Blue Moon of Kentucky, That’s Alright, and Sleepwalk (featuring wicked licks by lead guitarist Buzz Campbell). Drummer Jimmy Sage and guitarist Brophy Dale added to the onslaught of Lee Rocker’s pomade-laced rockabilly tunes.

Lee Rocker at Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2012

Lee Rocker, right, and lead guitarist Buzz Campbell, left. Buzz’s rendition of “Sleepwalk” was killer.

Back to Lincoln Ave, which was like a stage or runway for a constant stream of vintage bikes, impatient taxis, big ol’ buses and the silent but speedy cyclists (ON YER LEFT!). The sidewalk audience faced sensory overload, in a good way.

Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2012

We’re not sure if this couple is an item, but if they are, they should “walk” down the aisle like this.

Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2012

Moments before this photo, the guy in the back of this Messerschmitt KR200 was waving like The Queen of England.

Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2012

This scooter gal was featured in the opening of our 2011 MvR vid. Cool scoot!

Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2012

Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2012

Motorcycle villain (someone should check the el tracks for Nell Fenwick).

Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2012

Bavarian Rockers.

Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2012

Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2012

Can you spot Albert Einstein?

Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2012

Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2012

Room for a couple more.

Kinda like birdwatching, bikes fly by in all directions then light along the curb. When they’re still, you can observe their characteristics, modifications and talk with their owners.

Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2012

Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2012

Outnumbered.

Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2012

It’s fun to see a Harley in cafe/roadrace form.

Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2012

The Good Spark Garage bikes hangin’ out on Lincoln Avenue.

Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2012

You’ll also come across some interesting non two-wheeled things; here’s a few…

Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2012

Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2012

This thing prompted the most head-scratching at the event.

Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2012

Americana: Hot town, Summer in the city.

Most of the event is spent ogling motorcycles and scooters in a concentrated area, but when 5:30 rolls around, the bikes can stretch their legs on the ride to the Bottom Lounge. The engines fire up and if you ain’t ready, you’re left behind. Riders knife through congested streets and may or may not yield rights-of-ways to remain in a group. Speeds increase and decrease quickly; the highest speeds would be logged on the rough Lakeshore Drive. It’s a fun exercise in throttle and brake management while riding in a pack of smiling, vintage motorcycle enthusiasts.

Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2012

Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2012

Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2012

For us, bike-watching is a blast, but the people-watching is what provides the most entertainment. After years of attending this event, we’re getting to know a lot of the devoted regulars while spotting some new and colorful characters.

Johnny Moto at Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2012

Johnny Scheff of Motoworks Chicago.

Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2012

The Sailor Jerry Airstream and one of its occupants.

Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2012

Larry Fletcher at the MvR booth.

Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2012

Micah Vince (left) perusing the bikes on Lincoln Avenue with Dave Mucci (right) of www.motomucci.com

Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2012

The girls hamming it up after the pin-up contest at the Bottom Lounge.

Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2012

Rockabilly, motorcycles, and dancing. Proper date night.

Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2012

Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2012

Familial fedoras.

Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2012

Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2012

“You look at me once, you look at me twice, you look at me again and there’s gonna be a fight.”

By the time you walk a few blocks down and back up, even more bikes have shown up. At times, it’s hard to keep up with all the activity, but you’ll try. And you’ll enjoy it. Word on the street is, there are big plans for evolving this event by Larry and Martin of Steel Toe Press, whose calling card reads, “vintage motorcycle event builders.” After eight years of success, it’s easy to assume MvR will become bigger and better, but knowing these guys as well as we do, they’ll be swinging for the fences.

Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2012

After midnight, the constant roar of motorcycles dissipated and the sounds of the city became more noticeable. A little Summer sprinkle quickly turned into a downpour after most of the bikes left. “Let it rain,” we thought. By that time we’d seen an incredible variety of vintage bikes, blitzed the windy streets of Chicago on air-cooled bikes, tapped our feet to some of the best live rockabilly music in the country and enjoyed good company at yet another wonderful Mods vs Rockers. When we tell you, “don’t pass up a chance to attend this great Midwestern vintage motorcycle and scooter event,” we mean it.

To see other Chicago stories relating to MvR, click on the “Mods vs Rockers” tag and keep it tuned-in to Good Spark Garage for more! You can also follow us on Twitter for up-to-date tweets. Thanks for readin’.  –The Wilkinson Bros

Tagged with →  

10 Responses to The Scene: Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2012

  1. chris sickels says:

    nicely done fellas! for us that couldn’t attend you paint a pretty good picture. thanks!

  2. Sean Guthrie says:

    Nice job as always guys. Would have been there except for a pesky case of Pneumonia a couple days out. Rocker box this year?

    • corey says:

      Thanks, Sean. Sorry to hear about the dang ol’ pneumonia. Yep, Rockerbox is inked in on our calendar this year. Maybe we’ll see you up there?

  3. Gina "Stella" Degleffetti says:

    You guys take the best pictures year after year, capturing all the mods, rockers and everything in between! Love your work!

    • corey says:

      ‘Preciate it, Gina! Thanks for providing us with great subject matter for our cameras. ;) For us Indy guys, this annual Chicago event is a bright spot on our moto-calendar.

  4. David Mucci says:

    It was great to meet you guys! Maybe we’ll see you at Rockerbox as well.

  5. jakester says:

    Great coverage of the event! It was a blast, cant wait for next year! Any more pics? I see my Cb750 didnt quite make the cut ;) (it was the primer grey custom with all the body work).

  6. Durka says:

    Love the photos, but I feel you’re missing a lot of the Mod love… I love a good cafe bike as much as the next guy, but show us some of that Italian stuff we’re short on.

    I ride both… I’m a trans I guess.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>