The Philo Beddo Family Reunion 2010


If you're active on ChopCult, it's safe to say you dig choppers, or that you're at least bike curious. If you've been in the game for years, you also know it's easy to get burned out. There's so much hype glorifying this week's uber-cool whatever that it doesn't take long to reach your limit and just avoid "the scene" all together. If you swallow what traditional "biker" culture has been shoving down our throats, you might believe it's perfectly acceptable to stand in a parking lot looking at flabby boobs and listening to bands that sucked twenty years ago that suck even more today. We call bullshit on choices like these, and a growing number of grassroots promotors agree with us.

Last month we ran a feature on Sturgis, the grandaddy of motorcycle rallies. In that story we quoted experts who believe that when done properly, even massive productions like Sturgis can be fun without compromising your soul.

The Philo Beddo Family Reunion is an event that's on the opposite end of the Sturgis spectrum. Its organizer, Gabe at Afterhours Choppers, hates just about everything, so for him to invite people into his home town is a stretch from the beginning. But with help from his wife Lois and friends Steve, Murray and others, that's exactly what Gabe did. We're not exactly sure why Gabe named his NorCal gathering the PBFR, but it sounded cool, and it made for some of the best flier art this year.

In the old days, say around 2006, promotors believed all kinds of attractions were required to make their event a success. If you're like us you tried a couple of these events, and probably left those soulsuckers feeling cold and empty. It only takes one or two such experiences to realize you've got nothing in common with "the common biker," and that none of these events are very much fun.

Unfortunately, the motorcycle industry revolves around events like these. Witness the massive trailers, city blocks of small business owners crammed beneath EZ-Ups, everyone busting their asses to make a splash in a sea of sameness and boredom. The irony is, as events get bigger and more complicated, crowds continue to dwindle, either from death or disinterest. Remember LA Bike Week? It sucked, and now it's dead.

What the crafty little guys in this industry have realized is that instead of cashing in their 401k's to sit under a tent in Laughlin, it makes more sense to do business on the Internet and through independent motorcycle shops that share their perspective. With that working in the background, there is a little more time for doing what you love, which by all rights should be riding your damn motorcycle.

So, has the web killed the giant biker rally? Not yet, but it is inflicting a million little wounds each day. What's left? Well, the way these big events got big in the first place is people enjoyed riding somewhere fun and partying with their friends. That is where dudes like Gabe, Steve and Murray come in.

Perhaps that's why clubs became so popular years ago; you could just go camp in the woods with your buddies, raise a little hell and not have to participate in all the manufactured silliness so common today. Engulfed by a sea of vendors with a ten-dollar beer in his hand, most real chopper guys in the same situation look skyward and think, "There's got to be a better way." Enter Gabe and the PBFR.

The plan for the Philo was simple. Throw a party. Tell some people about it on blogs, forums, etc. Offer up some beer, great food, some raffle prizes and have a little ride on Saturday. Even with two nights of camping and quality food, the cost was $25 per rider and that's pretty easy to live with. About 40 or so riders showed up, and none went away disappointed. Basically, it was a good excuse to ride bikes, have some beers, swap some lies and camp under the trees and stars.

Thanks to ChopCult members and friends rustrocket84, BlueCollarMoto, Revelator and Craze for riding the 1,000 or so miles up there and back with me. Other crews came from SoCal late in the day Saturday, riding over from the coastal route. Another group rolled west from Carson City, Nevada and skipped the Saturday ride to hit up an Oakland A's game, then headed back for the party. As much fun as any event is, it's the ride and the shared experiences along the way that make it most memorable. In the end, events like the Philo Reunion are easier to describe by telling you what they aren't. They aren't big, they aren't expensive, and perhaps best of all, they aren't complicated.

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Commented on 8-27-2010 At 06:57 am

Gabe has to be one of my favorite people in our "scene" he makes some good parts as well.

Commented on 8-27-2010 At 07:09 am

Great article, SO many good points made. Laconia "Bike Week" is exactly like what was said here, all flash and bullshit. I, for one, can't wait to see it die, or just go out of fashion so it can get back to the roots.

Commented on 8-27-2010 At 09:16 am

Hell of time! Gabe out did himself. Riding there was awesome, camping great, weather perfect, food INSANE, ride back even better.. In my eyes, perfect event.

Commented on 8-27-2010 At 03:32 pm

i hate crowds; i blame my tours to places like afganistan and bosnia. i prefer small gatherings of friends and family, which is sometime bad because, well; its nice to meet cool like minded people. im really digging how im not the only one thats into starting at the begining of the whole "scene". and just do what the fuck you want and not try to be COOL.

Commented on 8-27-2010 At 09:16 pm

I love the discovery of an alternative as is evident at ChopCult and in an event like this. Remember in Fight Club when Tyler Durdin is on the bus and looks at the guy in the undewear ad--"Is that what a man is?" I look around what's become mainstream bike culture these days and ask the question "is that what a biker is?" and not entirely sure I can get into something so narrow.

Dynamite that the real spirit ain't lost.

Commented on 8-27-2010 At 10:28 pm

Gabe is as down to earth and real as anyone can be. He stands firm on his principals and distaste for the mockery of the general Harley scene. I know that the superficial harley crowd and generally anyone who is an arrogant prick, just piss him off and rightfully so! Gabe does not tolerate the cheapness and commercial insults presented by the general motorcycle industry and the losers that play into it.

So the Philo was something we don't normally experience. A good Fuckin down to earth party, where the theme is the people and the ride, not anything else. I was so glad there was no blistering loud band, crappy grub, and vendors. What a relief!!! When it was over and everyone left, I felt empty inside. Like WTF? Cant this just go a couple more days?!!!

Simplicity is a beautiful sight! Great food, good booze, good company, and unique moto cycles! Looking forward to next years Philo! Gabe has good taste and an artists mind! Also looking forward to Gabes Holloween Party coming up.

All the Master Builders and chopper gods can step aside in shame!

Commented on 8-27-2010 At 11:24 pm

What a great trip. Had a chance to meet some cool people, do a little fishing, and ride some amazing roads. Gabe and his family threw down some great food, beer, and an all around good time was had by everyone. I hope that I'm in a position to make the Halloween party. If not I'll be in for the next party that happens in NorCal. Especially if it's thrown by anyone I met at the Philo.

Commented on 8-28-2010 At 05:13 am

I've been riding for going on 15 years, never once attended a bike rally or event, I'll stick to the open road thanks

Commented on 8-28-2010 At 05:44 am

the philo was damn fun, cool people, food, alcohol... and a great ride. lookin forward to next year.

Commented on 8-28-2010 At 05:56 am

A lot of really good looking bikes there. Are you going to feature any of them?

Commented on 8-28-2010 At 07:17 am

This article says it all.....wish i could have been there for the ride

Commented on 8-28-2010 At 08:51 am

BEanmachine, this was not a bike ralley or event. It was a Shindig. I have been riding for 25 years and the Philo is where it is at for a Shindig!

Commented on 8-28-2010 At 10:10 am


Commented on 8-30-2010 At 03:34 am

LRChops, been to plenty of those, but the road is where its really at

Commented on 8-30-2010 At 11:29 am

The Philo was a great weekend. It had everything you want and nothing you don't. The funny thing is, we all had a great time and it took some reflection to realize what was missing, and what makes so many other events suck. It's the K.I.S.S. theory applied to an event. This is why cycle clubs started, and where they can be even today.

Thanks to those who rode more than 50 miles to get there, some more than ten times that far. See you on Halloween!

And when it all comes down to it, of course the Road is where it's at. That's why Gabe throws it where he does. The Saturday ride featured just a few of the great ones in the Sierra foothills.

Commented on 9-7-2010 At 01:43 pm

Very cool, Lois & I have been on the road for 2 weeks so I'm a bit late on this. The open road is awesome, but we spent time with great people which is even better. For those keeping track - the Halloween Partay is ON! I'll post something this weekend.

Beer drinking, goat loving, great grub & riding !

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