On the corner of 17th Ave NW and Leary Way
On a balmy summer evening, Backfire Moto is a gathering of dudes and bikes. You’re surrounded by a swarms of gorgeous motorcycles. There are the Italians, and after walking a few yards, there are groups of tricked out 70’s Japanese custom cafe racers. My heart races to unsafe limits and my palms get sweaty. This is insane! It’s incredible to be in the middle of such an assemblage of cafe’ racers, rat bikes, DIY customs, cruisers and a smattering of MC dudes looking tough, and it happens once a month.
This is Backfire Moto.
Backfire Moto is a monthly gathering the 3rd Wednesday of the month in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. It started out as just a place to hang out to talk about bikes, have a beer and watch movies. Eventually, 8 years later, this ad hoc event has attracted hundreds of moto enthusiasts every month. And for this moto enthusiast, it’s a dream come true. The vibe is friendly at this ride what you’ve got and show it off event that brings out a lot of bikes. Especially for a place like Seattle, where the weather isn’t that conducive to riding for half the year, there sure are a lot of them.
Why here, why now?
I had to ask myself why here, why now? There were some incredibly intricate machines that guys just tinkering in their garages have put together. Where does that come from? Well, one dude I was taking to explained it this way, “With the aerospace industry and the Lazy B in the area, there are a lot of guys who are pretty handy and work with their hands. You’re either into guns or bikes. And the ones who are into bikes go balls deep. If they can’t find it in a junk heap, they’ll make it. So, here you have on display a freeform show of really cool bikes. They aren’t necessarily the show bikes that win awards, they’re the one’s guys ride for the pure love of it. And if it’s not quite right with a slight bit of rust, well all the better.”