The Shiny Side Up Bicycle Show in July of 2017 was the tenth anniversary for this fantastic event, and my third time attending. Shiny Side Up holds a special place in my heart because it marks my bicycle birthday. In July of 2015, I stumbled upon what would be a life changing moment, as I was surrounded by the coolest bicycles on the planet. This premiere Northern California event is something that is special to many people and there are many reasons that can be listed. But as I was turning three years old in the bike culture, I decided to throw a spotlight on one of my favorite aspects of the scene. The people. I borrowed a canopy from Rich Luna, and then asked a couple of my other buddies, Ryan and Marcus, if they had a couch I could borrow. That was easy enough, so I ran my idea past Dom from the Cruiser Shop and put my project into action. I would be bringing a couch to Shiny Side Up to offer a little oasis for people to relax as we discussed bikes and bicycle related matters.
The couch served two purposes. First, I wanted people to be comfortable. I wanted to give them a place to sit and rest for a moment during the bicycle show. But the other idea behind the couch was to inspire conversation. This was exactly what happened. The couch was an instant success and it seemed to take on its own persona. People came by my area to have a seat and talk about bikes all day long. Everyone that participated offered a unique personal view of their bike life and we all sat around and enjoyed the conversation. What a great way to enjoy Shiny Side Up from a completely different perspective. As everyone sat and talked, I photographed them all. I captured images of Club Presidents, Fabricators, Builders, Friends, Strangers, Fellow Photographers, and more. Some were fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, and some were single. Some of them were confident and outspoken, and others were a little shy. We sat and listened to legends of the scene talk about the details of their latest builds. We heard insider secrets that would normally be kept hidden. The power of the couch was incredible and I just soaked it all in.
I did shoot some video from the event as well, but I have decided to pay respect to the Native Americans by allowing these stories to live on through the tradition of oral story telling. The stories from the couch will live on as we meet for these great events and share them amongst the people of the bicycle culture. The stories will evolve and change each time as they are remembered in new ways. I appreciate everything that was shared on the couch that day in July of 2017, and I look forward to the next time the couch returns. Until then, we will share the stories from the couch with anybody that is willing to listen. The couch will live on through these stories, continuing to inspire new discussions and create new relationships.