Portland's One Moto Show is a party and you're always invited

The One Moto is put on by See See Coffee founder Thor Drake and it might be the best Moto event on the West coast.

Portland, Oregon's One Moto show and One Pro races are a yearly spot of sunshine in an otherwise cold and damp February.
Cameron Strand

Motorcycle culture is a funny thing. While TV and movies might have you believe that it's something you wear on the outside, with leather vests and tons of tattoos, in reality, the love of motorcycling is something that everyone can enjoy. One of the best examples of this I've ever come across is the annual One Moto Show in Portland, Oregon, which took place earlier this month.

On the surface, One Moto is a custom motorcycle show. Dig a little deeper, and you find that it's a big party, one to which everyone is invited, and now, in its 11th year, the party is bigger than ever.

Previously, One Moto was held in an industrial event space in North Portland, but this year it moved uptown to the Portland Memorial Coliseum. For those not fluent in the history of the Rose City, the Memorial Coliseum was home to the Portland Trailblazers' only NBA championship win, and it's also been home to wild rock concerts and more.

For 2020, the move to a larger (and more expensive) venue could have proven a big mistake, but somewhat surprisingly, the show sold out. The lines outside the venue were unbelievably long, packed with all kinds of people ranging from families with kids to hipsters to race fans and everything in between.

Among the bikes on display at the show this year, the one that stood out to me above all the others was the Zero XP by Untitled Motorcycles' Hugo Eccles. It was far from the only electric motorcycle on hand, but it, more than any other, delivered on the promise that Tron made decades ago. It's a genuinely futuristic machine, and I plan to spend the next however-long-it-takes bugging Hugo to let me ride it.

Other highlights included a gorgeous two-stroke KTM dirtbike by Carboni e Metalli that had been reimagined into an impossibly elegant (and even more impossibly narrow) futuristic flat-track bike. It featured seriously high-level engineering in the form of a skeletonized and delicate-looking gear shift that hugged the engine case perfectly and even a carbon fiber swingarm.

In addition to the bike show and the bands and vendors, the One Show is also home to the One Pro Super Hooligan races. This time they were held on a dirt track fashioned inside the Coliseum for the races on Saturday night. Once the races started -- and continued for hours and hours and, well, hours -- the whole structure reverberated with the sounds of rowdy thumpers and roaring V-twin engines and the air started to take on the sweet smell of two-stroke exhaust. In short, it was heavenly.

So, sure, Portland in early February isn't exactly the nicest place in the world, but if there is one excuse to brave the cold and the drizzle, its the One Show. If you've even a passing interest in motorcycles, then this giant love letter to two-wheeled culture needs to be on your list of things to do next year. You won't be disappointed.