News Feature

THE LOT calling out NY Vintage Riders



August 12, 2017 | Rahoul Ghose

photos | rahoul ghose, nyc motorcyclist

Fire up your pre-1983 vintage rides and head to Brooklyn Aug. 19.

Basket Case ProductionsGirard Fox and Tim Warner have taken their now fourth annual vintage motorcycle show up a notch, relocating the event from Brooklyn Bowl to an empty lot in Greenpoint to allow for more bikes, food vendors, live music … and more space for participants and visitors.

NYC Motorcyclist had the pleasure of interviewing the pair about ‘The Lot’, New York’s vintage moto scene, and what rides they both currently negotiate NYC traffic with.

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NYC MOTORCYCLIST: ‘The Lot’ is in fact the next incarnation of an event you’ve staged before. Tell us a bit about the history of this classic motorcycle show and what’s new for 2017.

Girard Fox: In past years we curated the event, much like a museum show, inviting people we knew with cool old bikes, or friends of friends. What wasn't really planned for -- and it turned out to be a great surprise -- was the huge crowd of interesting people and motorcycles, hot rods, and even custom bicycles that would always congregate outside on the curb, creating an impromptu indoor and outdoor show. We really loved the dynamic of this combination.

For our latest show, 'The Lot', we wanted to harness all that energy that was coming from the unknown chance encounters. So, we threw out the curated portion, and opened it up to the classic motorcycle-riding public at large. We still want our focus to be on classic bikes, so anyone with a two-wheeler (or sidecar, trike) made before 1983 is welcomed into 'The Lot', and the rows of parked bikes become the show itself.


Tim Warner: Yup. As great as a host and venue as Brooklyn Bowl is, we wanted to change things up and bring the show outside first and foremost. One of the most difficult and stressful parts of the Split'n Lanes shows was trying to get as many interesting/rare/unique classic bikes to commit to coming to the show. For the most part we succeeded in that first year ... we had TWO Vincent Black Shadows and the Cannonball-winning Henderson. Another year we had one of three AJS 'Porcupines' in existence, a Rudge racer as well as Dave Roper's Isle of Man winning Matchless G50. But we also had a lot of people tell us they were going to come and bring this bike or that and then flake, or have a hangnail, or be afraid to drive into Brooklyn, or whatever. So we decided to say 'fuck it' and went with 'bring what you got'!

girard fox on his 1949 harley panhead outside the greenpoint location for aug. 19's The Lot vintage bike show | rahoul ghose

NYC MOTORCYCLIST: tell us a bit about your backgrounds, how you met, and your involvement with the culinary and entertainment industries here in Brooklyn.

Girard Fox: The last three years' shows were all held at Brooklyn Bowl, where Tim is the Director of Operations, and I am the Chef. Tim and I found ourselves complaining to each other about the fact that we were missing every single motorcycle event, because we both had to work on weekends. The idea for our first show started as a simple joke that we needed to bring the vintage bikes to our job … which is basically what happened!

Tim Warner: I grew up in Rhode Island and the majority of my friends were older kids who were all either gearheads or into motorbikes. Once we reached the age of actually hanging out and not just getting stomped on, I tried to learn about and ride as many different bikes as I could. My good friend Keith Foti's dad had an HD repair/parts shop, Jim's Cycle, that Keith still runs today.

I have been working in restaurants and bars pretty much since I was 14. It was Alyssa Abeyta (RIP) in 2009 who told me about this new music venue/bowling alley being built in the neighborhood one day when we were having drinks at Hotel Delmano. I've been working there since day 1.

Girard and I took an instant liking to one another mainly because we had something in common to obsessively talk about, instead of mundane work shit.


NYC MOTORCYCLIST: How big is the vintage bike scene in New York, and here in Brooklyn, in particular?

Girard Fox: The vintage bike ‘scene’ is simultaneously tight-knit, and yet almost invisible, I think. Although there are a few NYC groups catering to vintage bike owners, it really is a loose collection of like-minded people relying on word-of-mouth, rumor, and the rare piece of helpful information that can be found on a site like yours.

Our little section of Brooklyn is very lucky to be at a sort of mini-epicenter of motorcycle activity … we have Indian Larry Motorcycles a couple of blocks away, as well as Works Engineering, Gold Ghost Motorcycles, MotorGrrl, Paul Cox and Tim Vanderbas, Via Meccanica's Corinna Mantlo all very nearby. Not much further from us is Keino Cycles, Union Garage, and Tim Harney Motorcycles … so the Brooklyn motorcycle community is alive and well. But you still have to dig a little to find your own ‘tribe’.

Since the neighborhood already has the 'Brooklyn Invitational' and 'Indian Larry's Grease Monkey Block Party', both of which mostly cater to the chopper scene, we didn't want to step on the toes of these two excellent, pre-existing shows. So we’re trying to focus primarily on stock or period-modified vintage motorcycles … although we certainly have room in our hearts, and our show, for a righteous chopper too!


girard fox at this year's 'race of gentlemen' in wildwood, new jersey | godspeed co

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  Our little section of Brooklyn is very lucky to be at a sort of mini-epicenter of motorcycle activity … we have Indian Larry Motorcycles a couple of blocks away, as well as Works Engineering, Gold Ghost Motorcycles, MotorGrrl, Paul Cox & Tim Vanderbas, Via Meccanica's Corinna Mantlo all very nearby. Not much further from us is Keino Cycles, Union Garage, and Tim Harney Motorcycles … so the Brooklyn motorcycle community is alive and well. But you still have to dig a little to find your own ‘tribe’.   

-- Girard Fox, Basket Case Productions
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Tim Warner: I think Girard nailed it. You have to know where to look/go to find events, rides, meet-ups and people into the classic motorcycle scene.

I think with the popularity of awesome events like The Race of Gentleman and Wheels & Waves, as well as vintage flat tracking gaining amazing momentum and mainstream popularity, it can only help increase the awareness that loving, riding, fixing and cursing old bikes is a thing!


NYC MOTORCYCLIST: How would you describe the New York motorcycling community as a whole?

Girard Fox: Fractured, varied, but passionate in general. It's a tough town to survive in … despite being a cliché. But there is some mutual respect on that very basic level.

Tim Warner: I think riding in the city/Brooklyn sucks. The roads suck, the motorists suck and the cops are not the most lenient when it comes to motorcyclists. It is one of the most unfriendly motorcycle towns out there ...

All that being said, I agree with Girard that it is a tight-knit community that can be a bit clique-ish/'too cool' for school at times. But as our stupid motto reads: 'Shut up & Ride'!


tim warner getting a little sideways on girard fox's 1946 indian chief at the 2016 'Race of Gentlemen'. | sara liberte

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  I think with the popularity of awesome events like The Race of Gentleman and Wheels & Waves, as well as vintage flat tracking gaining amazing momentum and mainstream popularity, it can only help increase the awareness that loving, riding, fixing and cursing old bikes is a thing!   

-- Tim Warner, Basket Case Productions
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NYC MOTORCYCLIST: What do you both ride … daily riders and that special bike you plan on showing at 'The Lot'?

Girard Fox: I own three vintage bikes … no car and no modern two-wheeler at the moment. I have a 1922 Henderson DeLuxe motorcycle that took me 10 1/2 years to build, a 1946 Indian Chief, and my current ‘daily rider’ is a 1949 Harley Panhead. As you can see, brand loyalty isn't my thing. Ha ha! We'll just have to see which of those beasts is running on Saturday, August 19.

Tim Warner: I am currently selling my 1971 CB500 (wanna buy it?) which I have ridden everywhere over the past six years. I will pretty much ride anything you let me. My lady has a 1981 HD FXR Shovelhead as well as a 1982 Motoguzzi Manza. So when/if those bikes are running, I get out on those. And of course Girard is kind (stupid?) enough to let me ride the Indian now and again. He keeps threatening to sell it to me.

NYC MOTORCYCLIST: You’ve put out a call for all vintage bikes to come out … are non-vintage bikes welcome?

Girard Fox: Pre-1983 motorcycles, sidecars and trikes will have reserved parking in 'The Lot', and will automatically be entered into ‘the show’ … they’ll be eligible for one of our hastily cobbled together and ill-conceived trophies and prizes. Additional swag and gift certificates have been provided by Biltwell & Union Garage. Late-model motorcycles, hot rods, etc., will have plenty of street side parking just outside of 'The Lot'. The show itself is free to everyone.

Tim Warner: ALL bikes are welcome. This is the spirit of the show and the spirit of Basket Case Productions. It doesn't matter what you are riding as long as YOU ARE RIDING.

NYC MOTORCYCLIST: What else is planned for the day? Any band announcements yet? What food will be on hand?

Girard Fox: At our previous shows, space limitations didn't allow us to have live music. But because of the open space of 'The Lot', we will be happily featuring four truly kick-ass bands; 'Dirty Fences', 'Daddy Long Legs', 'Sharkmuffin', and 'Julia Haltigan' will all be performing, and we couldn't be more psyched about it. We are also very pleased to have DJ Bob Walles join us. We’ll have food trucks, including tacos, Middle Eastern food …

Tim Warner: We have a COFFEE TRUCK TOO! We always try and make the bike judging and awards as awkward as we can. There's a lot of throat clearing and shoegazing as we mumble some nonsensical blather and hand off the 'prize' to some bewildered bike owner. Girard always fashions together these quirky but yet still awesome and creative trophies to award the winners of the hastily made up categories, ie. 'Longest Ridden', 'Oldest Bike', 'Best Effort', 'Peoples Champion' ... etc., etc. We must be doing something right as some people have even gotten angry that the trophies aren't 'better'. Ha!

NYC MOTORCYCLIST: How many bikes can you accommodate in the space?

Girard Fox: We're about to find out!!?? Challenge us!!

Tim Warner: All of them! What Girard said!

NYC MOTORCYCLIST: Finally, what would you say your goal is with this event?

Girard Fox: We want our friends, family and the neighborhood community to have FUN! …. which is the best goal I can think of!

Tim Warner: A beautiful day (NO RAIN!), and an event that brings out a great cross section of the motorcycling community as well as the community/neighborhood at large ... to have a safe, happy and kick-ass time. See you on the 19th!

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Comments

  • A HUGE shoutout of gratitude to @nyc_motorcyclist for doing a piece on The Lot and letting Girard & I blather on about the show and old bikes and this and that ... We all need to continue and support one another and keep getting the word out about whats happening in the wonderful world of all things Motorbikes!

    Tim Warner | Basket Case Productions

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