Cycle Showcase STL celebrates art and history of motorcycling from around the world

Cycle Showcase STL celebrates art and history of motorcycling from around the world

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Randall Noldge’s love for motorcycles runs deep. When he was just 8 years old, his Uncle Steve would belt and strap him down so they could ride down to southern Missouri together.

“He told me he would watch me in the mirror as I’d fall asleep strapped to the back of his chopper,” Noldge recalls.

Noldge credits his uncle for planting the seed for his love of bikes, something he believes is genetic.

Now, he hopes the Uncle Steves of St. Louis and beyond will bring their families to the sixth annual Cycle Showcase STL, a two-day event celebrating the art and history of motorcycling from all around the world. The exhibition, founded by Noldge, will showcase rare and custom bikes he could only dream about seeing as a child.

Even though he’s a chopper guy at heart, Noldge says he has an appreciation for all motorcycles, something he brings to the event’s diverse lineup of Harley-Davidsons, Kawasakis and even a 1949 Imme. Despite his 6-foot-5-inch stature, he rides everything — even minibikes.

“People always say, ‘That looks like a circus bear on a tricycle,’” Noldge says.

His real love, though, comes in the form of “deraked” choppers, a St. Louis specialty. Deraked bikes differ from traditional choppers, a type of custom bike known for their stretched frames and larger-than-stock front wheels, by standing that elongated fork up and moving the front wheel closer to the rider.

“It handles a heck of a lot better than the big, long chopper,” Noldge says.

He says people in the motorcycle community can always tell when a biker is from St. Louis. Once, after riding to North Carolina, he met a man in a parking lot who immediately popped the question after seeing Noldge’s tall, deraked ride.

“‘What part of St. Louis are you from?’” Noldge says the man asked.

Deraked bikes won’t be the only St. Louis delicacy at the showcase. Ice cream from St. Louis’ Clementine’s Naughty & Nice Creamery will be available for purchase. Noldge made sure the showcase had a puppy kissing booth, as well.

“I really want to emphasize that this is an event for all ages,” he says. “Everybody loves puppies and ice cream.”

The showcase has always been a family-focused event, says “Milwaukee Mike” Johnston of Cycle Source Magazine, a publication for motorcycle enthusiasts. In previous years, Noldge has invited “Wall of Death” motordrome riders to perform stunts. Johnston says he’s more than happy about the puppies, though.

“I don’t know anyone that rides a motorcycle that doesn’t have a love for dogs,” Johnston says.

Additionally, the event will feature skilled artisans who make everything from pottery to leather goods.

Rich Grabbe of Rich Phillips Cycles will exhibit his talent for leatherworking.

“It really adds some flavor to the show,” he says.

Grabbe has had a booth at the showcase since its inaugural year. As he has added more leather goods to his repertoire, the showcase also progressed. Grabbe says the first year was predominantly local bikes, but the event has mixed in more exotic bikes.

This mixture of everything from choppers to high-speed, aerodynamic “crotch rockets” is something Grabbe says wouldn’t have happened 20 or 30 years ago, when the biker scene was more divided.

“It seems like, these days, everyone kind of accepts each other because the scene is so small,” Grabbe says.

According to Noldge, it’s not uncommon to see a group of Harley-Davidson riders get fired up about pristine vintage Hondas. He said he’s proud of the diversity, creativity and craftsmanship that attendees will see at this year’s showcase.

“What you’re seeing in my show is different than about any show you’ll see here in the Midwest,” Noldge says.

What Cycle Showcase STL • When 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday • Where The Pageant, 6161 Delmar Boulevard • How much $10, free for ages 15 and younger • More info cycleshowcasestl.com

Cole Sawyer • 314-340-8191

csawyer@post-dispatch.com

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