You may have heard about Mods vs Rockers Chicago evolving into what’s now called MOTOBLOT (June 13-15th, 2014). It’s a motorcycle event we’ve attended for years and it hasn’t let us down as an opportunity to see unique bikes in a cool city, put on by great hosts. Larry Fletcher and Martin Cimek have created a vintage-bike juggernaut in Chicago with the help of their Ton-Up Chicago cohorts and assembled cast of Rockers. Here are 10 of our own reasons why we’ve attended for years.
1. The History
This event has evolved from a decade of annual gatherings. After years of planning and adjusting, the organizers ain’t just wingin’ it. What started as an homage to the British subculture of motorbikes and scooters, MOTOBLOT has become an all-inclusive street party and celebration of motorcycle hooliganism (ahem, sans violence and terrorizing). It’s all in good fun and something that has grown to be a can’t-miss event for many vintage and custom motorcycle fanatics.
2. Motorcycle Variety
Over a thousand motorcycles to peruse from many different origins in varying levels of customization. There’ll be rare ones, cool ones, old ones, new ones and most likely some wacky ones. You’ll see choppers, café racers, street trackers, stockers and scoots – many with tons of character (American, German, Italian, British, Japanese, Indian, Russian, you name it.)
3. The Music
There’ll be several bands lined up over the three days that provide different sounds and styles, but the guys behind MOTOBLOT were sure to handpick musicians that had an authenticity and “all-in” attitude. To name just a few, bands like the Detroit Cobras, Gas House Gorillas and Krank Daddies will provide some rockin’ ambience and if you haven’t heard the sultry sounds of Julia Haltigan, here’s yer chance (her song “Girl and a Gun” is top notch).
4. Cool Event Merch
Over the years, the event organizers have amassed some really cool posters, T-shirts, shop shirts, patches and other cool Mods vs Rockers merchandise. Check out the MOTOBLOT booth and set aside a few bucks for some nicely designed and illustrated event-related memorabilia.
5. Supplemental Nostalgia
Its roots are motorcycles, but a growing number of hot rods and cool vintage cars will be in attendance as well. There’ll be a “Miss MOTOBLOT” pin-up contest where first place takes home $1000. There’s also word that they’ll have pinstripers and tattoo artists on hand.
6. Quality Vendors and Sponsors
MOTOBLOT has attracted some cool vendors and sponsors in the past and have signed on even more great brands for attendees to check out. Whether it be moto apparel, food, patches, parts and various swag, expect to see some unique booths and killer prizes. One interesting element to this year’s show is the British Customs’ Iron Moto Challenge, where area Triumph dealers will be working on their custom bikes on-site.
7. Photo Ops
It’s almost hard to take a photo that’s not filled with vibrant city life. There’s plenty o’ great subject matter to shoot, like chrome bumpers, DA hairdos, custom-painted gas tanks, pompadours, shiny spokes and ornate emblems.
8. The Camaraderie
One thing you’ll experience from most of the attendees is that they’re genuinely interested in each others’ bikes. There’s a common bond, a chord struck, when it comes to old motorcycles that have been customized or modified. Bikes that attend MOTOBLOT are conversation pieces – so prepare for some great conversations in and amongst the bikes.
9. People Watching
Sure, looking at rows and rows of bikes is a good time, but the scene isn’t complete without the colorful characters that will be in attendance. You’ll see rockers in rolled-up denim and worn leather, you’ll see rockabilly guys and gals in period dress and you’ll see the intertwining of different cultures made possible by the Chicago setting.
10. The Scene
Probably one of the coolest backdrops for an urban bike rally. The gritty streets and bridges of downtown Chicago will be filled with motorcycles and the sounds of engines thumping off of old buildings. There’s always a flow of pedestrians and tourists who act as a captive audience. And just over your shoulder is the towering, dense skyline of the big Midwestern city that’s equally exciting and inviting. Leave some time to make a few passes around the town and take in the overall bustling and lively scene.
View the line-up of activities spread across three days here: www.motoblot.com. Each day requires some sort of ticket expense, but knowing the entertainment and fun they pack in to each day, the bang-for-the-buck value should be great.
NOTE: Most of the activities outside are visually tame if you considered bringing the kids. (The pin-up contest is geared more toward the vintage dress-up approach rather than baring lotsa skin.) Of course, there are some more racy aspects of the show, but they’re slated mostly for the late-night shenanigans inside the Cobra Lounge.
If you go, maybe we’ll see you there? Allow plenty of time to drive into the city if you’re coming in from afar. Sometimes the traffic comes to a halt on the busy highways and byways of the Windy City.
For past event coverage by Good Spark Garage, click here.