Wheelies Motorcycle Cafe, Fuel Curve

North of the Border – A Day at Wheelies Motorcycle Cafe

Wheelies Motorcycle Cafe is unlike anything we have ever experienced. Their annual motorcycle show and swap is crazy cool. It’s a unique event in a unique location.

Wheelies Motorcycle Cafe, Fuel Curve

Wheelies Motorcycle Cafe, Fuel CurveWhile the city of Victoria BC Canada is known far and wide as a sleepy “little England” tourist town, it’s also home to a burgeoning motorcycle scene. The reasons are many from the best weather in Canada to a small, four-years-young Motorcycle shop/café known simply as ‘Wheelies’.

Wheelies Motorcycle Cafe, Fuel Curve

“Motorcycle shops have always been places where people like to hang out” said cafe manager Kellan Musseau. “So we built a place where everybody can do just that”.

Wheelies Motorcycle Cafe, Fuel Curve

A small group lead by owner Joel Harrison and chef Kai Musseau not only built a shop, but added a café. Once a year since they opened they’ve hosted a show/swap meet, that may not be largest in size, but it’s long on quality and variety.

Wheelies Motorcycle Cafe, Fuel Curve

“The event keeps growing every year, and there aren’t very many swap meets where you can walk around with a beer” smiled chef Musseau. Besides being unique, Wheelies has a fabulous menu featuring some amazing pulled pork. “I started cooking at midnight before show day” he sighed “It was a sellout”.

Wheelies Motorcycle Cafe, Fuel Curve

Wheelies Motorcycle Cafe, Fuel Curve


The shop itself is a one man show with owner Joel Harrison pumping out about 20 complete custom bikes since the doors opened. They specialize in Harley Davidson and British bikes, but work on anything and can do most any work from fabrication to upholstery.

Wheelies Motorcycle Cafe, Fuel Curve

Located in a rather mundane industrial area of town, and despite little promotion, the event attracted over 150 bikes of every style from stock vintage to new customs. Though it’s advertised as a pre-‘84 show, a number of newer machines were on hand making for a very diverse exhibition.

Wheelies Motorcycle Cafe, Fuel Curve

Wheelies Motorcycle Cafe, Fuel CurveWheelies Motorcycle Cafe, Fuel CurveWheelies Motorcycle Cafe, Fuel Curve

It was in fact both the variety of models plus the vast age range of the participants that really made the show stand out. “Our shop and the café has helped build up the local cycling community. It’s not uncommon to see a family sitting at a table across from some pretty hard core bikers,” Harrison said.

Wheelies Motorcycle Cafe, Fuel Curve

Wheelies Motorcycle Cafe, Fuel Curve

Unlike some events where middle age men and certain brands so often seem to be the norm, this was just the opposite. “We get so much from the old guys, but the young people bring a certain type of creativity. The different generations influence each other.”

Wheelies Motorcycle Cafe, Fuel Curve

Any way you look at it when you have such a positive atmosphere surrounded by well-known motorcycles in addition to seldom seen examples such as Matchless, Royal Enfield, Ducati, and Greeves, you have a formula for success.

Wheelies Motorcycle Cafe, Fuel Curve

Wheelies Motorcycle Cafe, Fuel CurveThis year’s show was blessed by perfect weather bringing in not only locals but a few bikers from Washington State and also Alberta. It truly was a unique event in a city known more for bicycles than their motor driven counterparts, but if the staff at Wheelies has their way, this city is well on its way to becoming a small but very enthusiastic motorcycling city.

Wheelies Motorcycle Cafe Photo Extra!

Now retired, Canada’s Larry Pfister was a fan, photographer and Pacific Northwest drag racing enthusiast for over four decades. His signature image, a 1975 shot of Twig Zigler going through the SIR finish line upside down and backwards launched his career from fan-with-camera to professional racing photojournalist. Over the years, Pfister branched out into photographing and videotaping other forms of motorsport but drag racing remained his first love. Back at the dawn of the internet era, Pfister founded “Horsepower Heaven” – a now-shelved website which was the world’s first to post live updates, same day photos and same day video from a drag race. Pfister retired from motorsports journalism in 2009 but still shares his archives with various print and digital publications around the world.

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