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.
While 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’.
“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”.
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.
“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”.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
This 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.