When most people from Pittsburgh say they’re heading to the beach in August, they typically don’t mean gathering with other motorcycle enthusiasts on the sunny sands of Neville Island. Over the last two summers, the Steel City Mods vs Rockers event has taken place at Paradise Island Bowl and Beach, where you’d be surprised to find a parking lot full of classic bikes near a beachfront tiki bar with live music and a pin-up contest. This year’s event on Saturday, August 27, 2022, was quite the party. Sergio Kyriakis of Ton Up Pittsburgh filled us in on the event’s history and details.
After the roller coaster of uncertainty we’ve been dealing with for a few years, anything that happened pre-pandemic now seems like the distant past. Things have changed quite drastically since our first annual Summer RideOut in 2018, but one thing remains certain–if the weather cooperates, you can always expect a good turnout at a motorcycle gathering.
Those who love vintage cars, motorcycles, and street racing look forward to July in the Steel City. It’s tough to describe an event like the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix to someone who hasn’t yet experienced it, but every year, an overwhelming number of cars, both classic and new, swarm the city for the nation’s largest vintage street race. Spanning ten days, the event includes parties, parades, car shows, and a motorsports race through the streets of Schenley Park.
There’s something to be said about the power of a moment. It has always fascinated me how certain events could essentially become checkpoints throughout life, impacting the psyche so intensely that they shift a person’s perspective or spark an interest in a new creative craft. The good vibes that radiate throughout Glory Daze are an example of this force and a representation of the motorcycle community as a whole. It’s rare to find such an odd mix of contrasting personalities all together in one place. The combination of a magical venue, loads of art, and a shared passion for two wheels creates a moment where people can be as free and authentically weird as they want, all while soaking in inspiration from custom motorcycle builds.
The annual Trippy Ten is a psychedelic-themed helmet art exhibit I created to show appreciation for painters working in the motorsports industry. Every year, event partner Bell Helmets provides a lid to ten selected artists to paint however they choose. The finished helmets are then displayed at the Glory Daze Motorcycle Show in Pittsburgh, PA, before being returned to each painter after the event. This year, the artists were able to choose between the Bell Bullitt and Eliminator models.
Seven years ago, William Wallace closed on an empty space in Wheeling, West Virginia, with no real direction as to what it would become. In time, things started to take shape, and by the end of 2018, Clientele Art Studio was born with its first official gallery show. Wallace was a friend of ours from Alexa’s music-making days, so it was great to see someone create an attractive space that gives artists in the Ohio Valley a place to showcase their work.
Power to the painter! The Trippy Ten returned in 2021 with ten new artists. For those unfamiliar, three years ago we launched our annual helmet art show called the Trippy Ten. The purpose of the event is to show appreciation for custom painters in the motorsports industry. Each year, ten selected artists are given a helmet to paint however they choose for an exhibit that’s displayed at the indoor invitational during our Glory Daze motorcycle show in late September.
Hey, Pittsburgh! Your annual vintage and custom motorcycle show returned this year on Saturday, September 25 at the national historic landmark of Carrie Blast Furnaces. Glory Daze was back in a big way with a new lineup of custom bikes from builders throughout the country, many of which returned to the Steel City from the last round in 2019 with new creations. After the whirlwind of 2020, this year was off to another uncertain start with a pandemic hangover causing supply and labor problems, a new virus variant, and the unpredictable worry of more occupancy restrictions.
For the past few years, Triumph Motorcycles has organized a tour around the country to promote their new lineup. Pittsburgh has been one of the stops, and this year we were lucky enough to swing by the party at Ace Hotel in East Liberty on November 20 to check things out.
In September of 2018, I had worked out what it would take to start an annual custom and vintage motorcycle show in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After running around the city trying to find a venue, I landed on the only option that would work—Carrie Blast Furnaces. The national historic landmark was originally built in 1907 and is known primarily for its pre-World War II iron-making technology. Towering ninety-two feet over the nearby Monongahela River, the location was perfect for a motorcycle show. It was gritty, rough, and had a lot of character. The history of the site paired up well with vintage bikes and the theme I was going for. Plus, it was the only spot I found that had enough parking and indoor space to easily fit over 100 bikes. It took quite a lot of work by the folks at Rivers of Steel to get the site to pass occupancy inspection, but after the permit was granted in late April of 2019, the show was officially set for Saturday, September 21.
Fuel Cleveland returned again this year at a new venue, The Madison, on Payne Avenue. The invitational custom motorcycle show is presented by Lowbrow Customs, The Gasbox, and Forever the Chaos Life. The weekend kicked off with a wild pre-party at Saucy Brew Works. Saturday's show got rolling around noon but was instantly packed with bikes from the start, filling the surrounding streets and parking areas.
Steel City Mods vs Rockers is now in its ninth year and set up in new digs! The event moved to Zone 28 in Harmarville to better accommodate the masses. The night before the event, a group ride was held on the historic Route 66 highway. The ride was led by Ton Up Pittsburgh’s Tom Fury and boasted over forty riders.