BIKESHED PARIS 2015 1x After Loïc had partially translated the Moto Heroes article we decided to head outside and drink beer in the Jacuzzi. After all, we were in Biarritz, it was June and the late evening air was still warm enough to feel positively tropical to a bunch of tired Brits. BIKESHED PARIS 2015 2 Arriving at Wheels & Waves to discover the coverage of the Bike Shed’s London event had blossomed into a full-blown cover shot left us pretty blown away, but it wasn’t until our resident Frenchie, Loïc, basement bike-builder and Notting Hill scissor-smith, had read the best bits aloud that we realized the gauntlet had been firmly thrown down. The article ended with a complaint. Why had no one in France had the balls to put on a custom show like The Bike Shed in Paris? BIKESHED PARIS 2015 EXTRAS 1 There was only one answer to that, but it was Loïc who took up the mantle in earnest, as we sat there in the tepid bubbles. “Let’s do it. …I will help you.” …Ok, so Loïc is from Marseilles and now lives in London, cutting hair, and those Parisians can be infamously complicated, but we had all we needed: A bunch of fools, not smart enough to know when to stop, some mates with nice bikes in Europe, and a token Frenchman. It was on. Bike Shed Paris was born. ...In an AirBnB apartment Jacuzzi. ...In Biarritz. ...At Wheels & Waves. BIKESHED PARIS 2015 EXTRAS 10 The story behind Bike Shed Paris wasn’t just about gauntlets, hairdressers and Jacuzzis, it was also about the European bike crowd. It was our second year at Wheels & Waves, and although it’s a fairly carefree event and very few people seem to know what is actually going on, when or where, what is clear is that the new wave custom scene in Europe is booming, but it’s also, just ‘normal’ to be a biker - and do it your own way. BIKESHED PARIS 2015 EXTRAS 7 Biking in the UK is very tribal. Each generation, region and niche seems to generate categories of biker who our strangely mono-theistic, sticking not just to one type of ride, but often to the same brand or even model – barely able to acknowledge anyone else on two wheels. It’s also distinctly male, and getting older. In Europe there are double the amount of bike riders, of all ages and both sexes, and two-wheels are simply two-wheels. The halo effect of having so many bike licenses in use, plus the fact that most people’s first transport is on two-wheels, is that biking is embraced by the wider population, so there’s no stigma and no need to make an undue fuss about it. BIKESHED PARIS 2015 EXTRAS 8 When you translate this into the growing New Wave custom scene, the culture seems to chime with everyone, so at Wheels & Waves, small towns like Biarritz suddenly become mecca to a whole biking community, supported by pleased-as-punch locals, giving the thumbs-up to the passing café racers, brats and scramblers, buzzing through the seaside towns and filling up the local bars and restaurants. BIKESHED PARIS 2015 3 What is also apparent in Europe is that building custom bikes is not necessarily a do-or-die life investment, as it often seems to be in the UK. As most people know, building bikes is a terrible way to make a living, and you’ll earn less than a busy MOT garage, but in Europe there is more cheap work-space, the lifestyle is more laid back, people have more free time, and more people build bikes for personal pleasure - with more than a hint of artisan attitude. The outcome is more youth, more bikes, and more creativity. It’s infectious. BIKESHED PARIS 2015 18 This crowd needed a supercool, high-quality, urban event - a city-based, central European call-to-arms, and if no-one else was going to set it up, then we knew how. …Probably. BIKESHED PARIS 2015 5 Putting on a show in a country that’s not your own is no joke, and the finances would never make sense, but we also knew we had to do it. We had no idea if the Parisians would accept us, never mind help and support us, but generally it was fantastic, and we had a huge amount of support from the likes of Blitz, Clutch Customs and Dauphine Lamarck on the ground. BIKESHED PARIS 2015 6 What we also hoped-for, but couldn’t be sure of, was that people would see Bike Shed Paris as not just a French show, but a European Show, in fact THE European, urban, new-wave custom bike show. Builders lined-up from ten countries; France, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Italy, The Netherlands, Hungary, Belgium, Portugal and the UK, to provide 127 gorgeous custom bikes, as well as dozens of artists and photographers from across Europe. BIKESHED PARIS 2015 7 There were some serious stand-out bikes at the show, and for me personally the ones that I kept coming back to were Rasio's Ducati D'Karmah, MRS Officine's CB750, JvB's VMax Infrared, Loïc's CB750, Moto Kouture's amazing NineT BlokBeest, Clutch Customs' posterboy T100 and some of the Harley's were outstanding and gave me a new view on the H-D marque, especially the ones from Shaw Speed & Custom. BIKESHED PARIS 2015 8 The venue played a big part in the success of the show, and all credit goes again to Loïc for finding it. He dragged us to various places in Paris looking for the vibe we already knew we were after, but when we came across the Eiffel-designed ex-marketplace in the heart of the Marais we fell in love with it. It helped that the MD of the venue, Alex, loved the Bike Shed already, and spoke perfect English. It was expensive, but spot-on. BIKESHED PARIS 2015 9 As the show came together we knew it was going to work out in terms of the exhibition, but the Parisian bureaucracy was insane and we weren’t sure we’d be allowed to open our doors to the public. It wasn’t just a lot of forms and fees, with various different government and city bodies, it was also the way that they mix urgency with last-minute actions. We were waiting for our drinks license and permission to park bikes around the venue until days before the event, but all the locals assured us it would come through. BIKESHED PARIS 2015 10 So, open our doors we did, and to our huge relief there was a queue outside by 10am, and people continued to flood through the doors all day, and we were busy until we closed at 10pm. It was the same on Sunday. All in all, the Carreau du Temple doors staff clicked-in over 8000 people across both days, plus we had around 500 exhibitors, staff and guests. There were tons of Brits too, which was a huge compliment, and everyone seemed to like what they saw. There were a few grumbles about the €15 price tag, in a city where many shows are free or subsidized by the state, but if they had any idea what the show costs to put on, and how many thousands of hours were put in by mostly volunteer crew, they’d know it was cheap. We did make sure our beer, food and coffee was cheaper that all the local alternatives, and there were no queues or cock-ups. BIKESHED PARIS 2015 11 The highlights for me were the people, from the exhibitors to the Carreau du Temple Staff, to the Bike Shed volunteers to the visitors. The show united all four sets of people under a distinctly European banner, into being a joint part of something special. Putting on bike shows isn’t unique, or even very clever, but some events generate a collective vibe that adds up to more than the sum of it’s parts. Bike Shed Paris seemed to capture the spirit of Wheels & Waves we experienced in Biarritz, with the hustle of a city show, and it felt like we pulled-off a small miracle, against the odds, and with little more than balls, bravado and a bunch of passionate friends. BIKESHED PARIS 2015 12 Huge thanks to the Bike Shed Crew and Volunteers, especially Vikki, Loïc, Ross, GarethC and GarethM, Timm, Ali, Steve, James & Kat, Richard, Marcel, Thorin, Nick and the irrepressible Fabio (aka Mr Praline). BIKESHED PARIS 2015 13 Thanks also to the Builders and exhibitors who dragged themselves across Europe to take part in the show, trusting us to make it worth their while, also to Alex and the staff at Carrea du Temple, and a massive thanks to all the visitors who turned up to make make it a success. BIKESHED PARIS 2015 14 It took most of us a full week to recover from the early mornings, late nights and hard physical and mental graft of the Paris show, but there’s no rest for the wicked, and with Bike Shed London 2015 just a few weeks away we know we need to do it all over again. We may be back on home turf at Tobacco Dock, but we’ve upped the ante, and the stakes, and the people are expecting. We’ve taken on more space at the venue and we have many more builders and brands on board, so we hope to bust last years numbers. Come and be a part of it. 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