Dutch Talks: the Bike Sheds

“LA is type of a pure dwelling for bike tradition when it comes to manufacturers, builders, bikers and scale, climate and roads. Right here, you possibly can experience one year a 12 months. There are extra over 600cc registered bikes in California than any nation on this planet.” [1]

-Dutch van Someren proprietor of the Bike Shed Moto Co.

The person himself: Dutch von Someren in his ingredient, The Bike Shed LA. [Michael McCabe]

From his earliest using days in London, The Bike Shed founder Dutch van Someren sensed bikes represented greater than the sum whole of their shifting components and mirrored an advanced cultural course of. Immediately, his London and Los Angeles Bike Shed areas are an essential a part of that on-going story.

Historical past and Tradition

Initially, because the 19th Century rolled into the early 20th, individuals turned intoxicated by the potential for machines, velocity and individualized motion. From the earliest manufacturing bikes within the mid-Nineties, the mixture of the inner combustion engine with a bicycle body, seat, two wheels, fuel tank and throttle created an exciting and novel expertise, but it surely was reserved just for the rich.

Twenty years later in 1901-2 the American manufacturing know-how of the Hendee Manufacturing Co. (Springfield, MA), later renamed the Indian Motorbike Firm, and Harley Davidson Inc. (Milwaukee, WI) in 1903-5 expanded the probabilities of the bike and dropped the sticker value for a rising client public. Initially via the Nineteen Thirties and early Forties, bikes have been seen as an inexpensive and enjoyable transportation possibility however the 1947 Hollister ‘riot’ modified how bikes and bike riders have been recognized, by way of difficult signifiers of a countercultural, harmful, sexualized life-altering risk. [2]

Social, however reserved for the rich: even elaborate bicycles like this 1881 Starley trike have been costly. This chassis was used for the world’s first electrical automobile, Gustav Trouvé’s electrical Starley tricycle of 1881 – verify the story right here. [The Vintagent Archive]

The ballooning post- WWII youth demographic in America and England was hungry for brand spanking new choices for id── Hollywood contributed The Wild One (launched cautiously in America in 1953, however banned by the British Board of Movie Censors till 1967 and first proven on the bike themed 59 Membership). Adventurous youth in America, ‘Ton Up!’ oriented Leather-based Boys in England took to bikes as inexpensive transportation with added ‘mystique’. Savvy bike manufacturers in England, the US and Japan sensed a possibility and enticed the youthful demographic shift with slogans:  “Nothing handles like a Triumph”, “You meet the nicest individuals on a Honda”, “Till you’ve been on a Harley Davidson, you haven’t been on a motorbike”. A brand new particular person who rode on two wheels was created.

Widespread Floor

Dutch had lengthy puzzled if there was widespread floor amongst individuals who rode, the totally different model platforms and using types. He began a weblog in 2011 that explored the ‘new wave’ of customized bikes that was taking form and wrote in regards to the bikes and builders on the scene, particularly within the UK and Europe. Inside two years the weblog grew to be one of the crucial in style commentators on what was changing into a robust cultural motion. Because the weblog moved ahead, Dutch was joined in 2013 by his spouse Vikki and associates as they introduced the neighborhood to the subsequent degree, internet hosting their first pop-up bike occasion as ‘a celebration of the artistic scene round bike customized tradition’.

The Bike Shed Moto Co. HQ within the Arts District of LA. At all times bikes within the car parking zone, and lots of extra inside. [Michael McCabe]

The primary Bike Shed occasion featured 55 curated customized bikes from as distant as Thailand, Portugal and the US that have been displayed throughout two arches within the Shoreditch space of London. The occasion attracted greater than 3000 individuals to not solely benefit from the bikes but additionally artwork, images, curated retailers, nice meals, a barber store, tattooing and hospitality. In 2022 the Bike Shed London Present at Tobacco Dock welcomed 19,000 individuals to see 319 curated customized bikes with 500 exhibitors, stay music and cinema. It was clear that Dutch, Vikki and their associates had struck a robust nerve of curiosity.

Acquired artwork? Superb work by Conrad Leach graces the partitions of The Bike Shed LA. [Paul d’Orléans]

Following the second Bike Shed present in 2013, conversations began in regards to the risk to make the Bike Shed a everlasting vacation spot for bike riders who needed to mix their love of bikes with a need for hanging out with like-minded individuals. A club-like ambiance with nice meals, nice hospitality and cozy environment that was open to everyone- bikers, non-bikers and most of the people and likewise a membership with membership perks like organized conferences, occasions and rides.

The customized bike show / occasion house at The Bike Shed LA: a formidable array any time you go to. [Michael McCabe]

2015 the Bike Shed bike membership opened its doorways on a 12,000 sq. foot venue throughout 4 renovated railway arches on the coronary heart of its authentic dwelling, at 384 Outdated Avenue in Shoreditch, Central London. The house featured show customized bikes, curated retail, house for extra bikes, artwork, a barber store, tattooing and occasion house. The café, bar, store and gallery was open to everyone- bikers, non-bikers and most of the people. Seven years on the Bike Shed welcomes 2500 ‘Folks Who Love Folks, who Love Bikes’ each week.

In April 2022, the potential of the Bike Shed Los Angeles expanded internationally and opened a 30,000 sq. foot venue in a 1945 purple brick warehouse constructing situated within the burgeoning Arts District. Just like the Bike Shed London venue, the LA house has a 325 cowl restaurant open seven days every week for breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus a multi-brand retail house internet hosting Belstaff, Bremont, Indian, Ducati and Royal Enfield concessions, a barber store, tattoo studio and a 7000 sq. foot occasion house, plus devoted non-public areas for Bike Shed members.

J. Shia’s tremendous cool BSA A65 customized might be visited – it’s price a take a look at the loopy work she put into this distinctive machine. [Michael McCabe]

For educated eyes, nested among the many bike manufacturers on the ground are noteworthy customized builds that lend their course of to the house:  J. Shia’s (Madhouse Motors, Boston, MA) 1972 BSA A65, ‘The Manipulated A65’ recognized for its provocative discovered object seat cowl and industrial lever facet shifter is on the ground subsequent to the Hugo Eccles (Untitled Bikes, San Francisco, CA) 1975 Moto Guzzi 850T ‘Supernaturale’ that’s ten toes from the 1958 ‘Later Days’ Panhead constructed by Taber Nash (Nash Cycles, Vancouver, WA) and the spectacular assortment goes on. The vibe on the LA venue is chill and all about respecting the extremely distinctive alternative to be amongst associates and the bikes. We are actually within the means of planning a shed constructed bike present just like Tobacco Dock at our Los Angeles location for 2023. This occasion will likely be crucial to the shed builders and admirers in and round LA.

Dutch describes his means of the Bike Shed; “I had a grown up job in media and bike using was my ardour. I knew so many individuals for whom bike using was one of many most important issues that outlined them. It wasn’t the one factor but it surely was one of many most important issues. They wouldn’t essentially name themselves a ‘biker’, they’d say, ‘I’m a motorbike rider’ they usually might need 5 bikes. However many of the trade when it comes to magazines, reveals, even the way in which the producers behaved was actually in regards to the extremes of sports activities or commuting and there wasn’t something about way of life.

The restaurant at The Bike Shed LA is open every day, breakfast/lunch/dinner, and has nice meals and a really cool bar, and locations to relax on overstuffed couches. An excellent interesting components. [Michael McCabe]

“All people I knew who rode, rode as a result of biking is cool and it has a heritage and it conjures up journey and neighborhood and creates comradeship, friendships and experiences. And I didn’t assume the trade and even journalism was chatting with that in any respect. They have been obsessive about simply engineering or simply efficiency. To me these issues have been a product… However the actual product is expertise. Once you get on a tremendous excessive efficiency bike, it’s one thing that’s lovely. It’s actually about creating story and journey and expertise.

“I don’t must get geeky about gas injection or how ABS works… That’s vaguely attention-grabbing to me as a result of it’d maintain me alive or give me velocity, however as soon as I’m on the bike I’m having fun with this unimaginable human journey. And I believed nobody was actually searching for that. And that must be about good meals and good hospitality and curated retail with not every little thing on sale for reasonable. So every little thing that Vikki and my associates did was from a client viewpoint… As bike riders, what do we wish? We needed somewhat extra inclusivity and we needed a bit much less judgement, somewhat bit extra enjoyable. We didn’t need to go to grotty commerce gala’s with unhealthy meals the place you’re only a commodity. We needed to de-commoditize biking. And I don’t need to spend all my time with individuals speaking about how briskly I’ve been or whether or not I’ve dragged my knee, or whether or not I was a professional racer… I really like bike using simply as a lot as individuals who can do these issues however I categorical it differently. And it turns on the market’s lots of people like us who really feel that method.

There’s a motorbike / gear store – a terrific place to seek out the most effective and coolest using gear, or purchase a customized bike and even inventory Royal Enfield or Ducati. [Michael McCabe]

“It’s somewhat bit like the entire dialog with a few of the guys in MCs. I respect their place in bike tradition, they name themselves the 1percenters for a cause… Properly, we’re the 99percenters… there’s plenty of us… So ya, so actually, the journey was taking a look at what our neighborhood needed. I discovered our community- I spoke to them via a weblog, I spoke to them via a present, and now we’re chatting with them via vacation spot. London labored as a result of London is a wealthy neighborhood of artistic, attention-grabbing, adventurous individuals… Aspirational individuals who love biking and bike tradition… Los Angeles is identical; there’s a tremendous neighborhood right here, we discovered our household right here. However we additionally know there are households everywhere in the world, in Lisbon, in Barcelona, in Austin and in Chicago, there’s communities simply in all places. So we’d prefer to proceed to serve them in all of these locations so long as the neighborhood permits us to take action. We are going to take it so far as our neighborhood can have us. If we will discover a method to get there, we’ll go. I’m very, very grateful for what we’ve got been in a position create. Very happy with how we’ve introduced this neighborhood collectively and given them a spot to hang around in this type of widespread floor. It’s a terrific privilege to maintain doing it.

Want a haircut or tattoo? In widespread with the London Bike Shed, you will get each in LA. [Michael McCabe]

“The idea of a shed constructed bike, the celebration of what individuals can construct at house is what has all the time impressed me. It’s nice to be knowledgeable builder however generally that offers you limitations like a price range or what you do. The wonderful thing about a few of these shed constructed bikes is that they take inspiration from pro-builders, the producers of after-market components. You should buy exhaust pipes, wheels, triple clamp units. You are able to do extraordinary issues by yourself. And shed builders aren’t charging by the hour… They could spend three-four hundred hours on a motorbike and never assume something of it. However generally it’s the story… Once you notice a motorbike was constructed by father and son, or two brothers restoring a father’s bike after he died. It’s the context. Bikes are lovely objects however with out a human being on them they don’t do a lot. They only sit round. I actually love the human contribution to biking. The human story is extremely essential to me. Just like the bikes we’ve got on show right here… All of them run, all of them experience… It’s one of many guidelines in regards to the bikes at our present… They need to work. That makes these shed constructed bikes much more attention-grabbing.”

As Dutch says, the Bike Shed affords a standard floor, neighborhood and expertise, the place individuals who love bikes share a tradition that unites them, in a time when too many individuals concentrate on the small issues that divide, the Bike Shed finds a standard floor.

Roland Sands’ ‘2 Stroke Assault!’ was featured in our Customized Revolution exhibit on the Petersen Museum in LA. [Paul d’Orleans]


[1] Dutch van Someren mentioned on the April ’22 opening of his 30.000 sq. foot Los Angles bike mecca. There are greater than 800,000 registered bikes in California. Greater than 160,000 bikes registered yearly in Los Angeles.

[2] The Hollister ‘riot’ of July 4, 1947 was adjoining to the annual ‘Gypsy Tour’ sponsored by the American Motorbike Affiliation (A.M.A.) for the reason that Nineteen Thirties. The small Hollister police drive was overwhelmed and shortly misplaced management of the occasion. The occasion was featured within the nationwide media of the day as ‘Havoc in Hollister’. A second bike themed riot occurred the next 12 months in Riverside, California and supposedly this prompted the A.M.A. to make a now legendary assertion: “The difficulty was brought on by the one p.c deviant that tarnishes the general public picture of each bikes and motorcyclists.” The A.M.A. has no file of truly saying this however the assertion, whether or not actual or of not is acknowledged because the delivery of the 1% outlaw biker character.


Michael McCabe is a New York Metropolis tattoo artist and cultural anthropologist. He’s the writer of New York Metropolis Horsepower, Kustom Japan, New York Metropolis Tattoo, Japanese Tattooing Now, Tattoos of Indochina, and Tattooing New York Metropolis. For New York Metropolis Horsepower, Mr. McCabe spent two years discovering and documenting underground customized bike and automobile garages within the Metropolis, as speedy gentrification put their tradition underneath super strain. He interviewed and photographed New York Metropolis customizers about their private histories and artistic sensibilities.