Ride report: Motoczysz and Art of the Motorcycle, August 4, 2006

Wow. The show last night was just amazing. I got there a little late
around 8:30 so I missed Patrick's talk and performance art where he
wanted all motorcyclists to change their wave to represent the number
and types of cylindars they have. Sounds like he got on his back to
simulate 4 strokes, haha.

I got to the Wonder Ballroom (think the size of a high school gym with
a small stage with maybe 200 people) right as the secret guest
headliner was starting. First a video of the MotoCzysz bike being
ridden on the track. Then from behind the black curtain on this little
high school type stage rides out Michael Czysz on his (literally)
bike. Then they put it on the rear stand and he revs it up. It was
beautfiul, the bike is very pretty and unique looking. Everyone was
whooping and hollering and cheering. He turns it off and sits down to
talk. Turns out he only revved it to 8k rpm and it redlines at 16k. It
sounded really tight. I'm a sucker for motorcycle engines though, I
like them all.

He talked for about half an hour. I wasnt expecting him to look so
young. He said this years bike is a complete rebuild from last years.
He really impressed me with his passion for the motorcycle. He is an
artist/architect/industrial designer/father and who knows what else.
He made references to the New York World Trade show in 1984 as part of
his inspiration. He mentioned the Mac that came out that same year and
seemed to be a very well-rounded amazing sorta guy. He talked about
how hard it has been and all the challenges he has overcome as a very
small bike manufacturer and some of the patent and legal issues he has
had with the major bike manufacturers. It reminded me alittle of
Linux. He said they have had to redesign some things simply because
they can't afford to fight for their patent rights or places where
they are too close to other's patents.

It also sounds like the last 30 days for him have been really big. He
couldnt give any details but hinted at one of the top 2 GP riders in
the world signing a letter of intent to ride his bike next year, them
producing front ends for other manufacturers, an international 2 hour
documentary being made on him and the bike (and Portland!) by the
discovery network. He said it is not slated for US domestic release
widely yet but if it takes off in the rest the world then they will
show it here. Yeah he has to blow his own horn a little, but that
seems like the kind of personality it takes to get where he has
gotten. I felt like I was witnessing history in the making.

The question and answer period was great. Someone asked what his
favorite part of the bike was. He basically said the engine, since it
is such an amazing experience creating your own bike from scratch all
by themselves you have to love the engine. He also loves the external
look. Rightly so. His artistic sensibilities clearly were an important
factor in this bike.

The bike was left up on stage the rest the night and I enjoyed looking
at it. The _frame_ is entirely made of carbon fiber! At first it
looked like it was just covered with carbon fiber but no they had it
specially made in south africa. He said they are gonig to start with a
production run of 50 bikes and if it goes well then it will be 150. He
said they have had to get some rules changes as a small manufacturer
but he didn't go into details, sounds like he is really breaking some
new ground.


After he was done talking they showed two movies, Matt Sander's Lines
episode IV which was very recently finished. I didnt know this till it
started but episode IV is filmed on the
Aufderheide!  I'm looking forward to the official premiere party of
this movie soon. Then Dr. Sardonicas has a movie from him racing on
PIR which was also interesting.

The lights went up and the ballroom was filled with all these really
cool motorcycles. I walked around and there were some really
impressive ones. Harleys next to Vespas, old Ducati, Indian and Norton
racer type bikes, next to UJM Honda's, next gen street sportbikes next
to an old  montgomery wards little UJM type bike (very cute). It was
great. I ran into a bunch of people I knew (Aaron and Fiancee were

Then downstairs was the _actual_ art. The whole night was so
motorcycle focused it was awesome. It might have been too much for
some of the non riders there... Not everyone seemed as enthralled as I
was at the 8k revving engine 20 feet away :) Apparently the hotel they
were in didn't appreciate them starting it up in their lobby either,

The Mark Woolley gallery is next to the Wonder Ballroom on NE Russell
off Grand Ave. Go check it out this month if you get a chance. The
whole place is filled with just motorcycle related art. Paintings,
sculptures and photos. I even discovered another friend of mine is an
artist, I had no idea til I saw his name on the wall. Very cool.

I wont' try to describe the art but I had to walk around a few times
to absorb it. I definitely had some favorites. I was disappointed more
of them didn't have little red dot's on the labels (indicated having
sold). They were high priced but good art usually is. I almost bought
something but with my track day on Monday I needed to save my money.
The one I really wanted to buy was an artistic photo/print of an old
Yellow Harley that someone had already bought. I'm from the midwest. I
have in-laws who were married on Harleys. I have a soft spot for the
American motorcycle manufacturer even if I don't want to ride one
necessarily. Hell, I was so enamored with anything on two wheels I
almost bought a Vespa painting.

There was also a huge black and white painting of a rider that I would
have loved to have put in my living room. It cost as much as my
motorcycle did but it was really nicely done..

After that I hung out, drank, looked at bikes, talked about bikes,
talked about rides in the past and rides in the future, talked about
track days and riding and touring, caught up on life with old friends,
made new friends.

Did I mention I had a great time :)


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