Saint Side's annual meet has been on my list of events to attend for a while, but I've never quite been able to go until this year. And although it is no longer held on John Street, the home of Saint Side, I'm so glad they kept this event running annually as the cars and bikes on display are the amazing fruits of artist's labor and creativity. Not only drive-able/ride-able modes of transport, but pieces of art.
Although I've explored the hot rod and american classic car scene before, the lowrider car and bicycle scene was a new venture for me. If I were to sum it up, it's a culture that not only explores the automobile and bicycle, but also musical, historic and artistic influences at the same time, more than any other car enthusiast sub culture.
And although there was only a large handful of 'definitive' lowriders and minitrucks at the show...
...the general rule seemed to be, if it was low, custom or both, it was welcomed with opened arms. And that's what I think is great about car culture today. In previous decades and times in history, styles came and went, and were specific to a type of car or region in the world. Nowadays, with the assistance with social media and the internet, every subculture seems to be alive and kicking, to the point that these subcultures are now mixing together, hence, the Corolla and Subaru wagons oozing with low and aggressive style above.
Now that I've covered a few of the cars at the show, let's have a look at their 2-wheeled friends. Now I'll stress again, I know very little when it comes to bicycles, particularly lowrider ones, but I'll try my best to commentate.
Whilst the lowrider phenomenon began in the 1940's, the lowrider bicycle style originated in the 1960's. This was thanks to kids of the 60's being inspired by lowrider style. And although they were too young to own or drive cars, their next logical choice was modify their bikes instead.
Their most common canvas to their creativity would be muscle bikes (also called wheelie bikes), which were designed to look like chopper motorcycles.
Majority of the bikes at the show were customized muscle bikes, and if not, they were fully fabricated bikes. Whatever they were, the chopper motorcycle inspirations could be seen throughout with their low seat position, tall handlebars, banana seats, large wheels and decorated frames.
Those bikes that were fully fabricated and customized not only displayed the creativeness of this subculture, but the sheer fabrication, paint and artistic skill of their creators. I can't even begin to comprehend how you would start making some of the pieces fitted to these bikes.
After being in awe from the custom bikes, I turned my attention to the car park, where modified cars mixed in with regular from factory cars. Again the theme seemed to be anything that was lowered.
From American classics...
...To Japanese sedans and Subarus.
Even the Europeans joined in on the lowness.
After taking a few more photos, and eating the best hot dog I've ever had, It was time for the bike races.
Two individuals would race against each other and to find the overall winner, it would come a process of elimination. There were only two rules that I could remember; 1. If you're not first, you're last and 2. Keep you butt side, on the seat side, cos we're at Saint Side!
As the list of riders still able to win diminished, it became a duel between the reigning chap with the blue helmet and the underdog wearing the white helmet.
But it would be the reigning champ who would go back to back for Saint Side's annual bike race.
And I guess that wraps up this year's coverage of the 12th Annual Saint Side Meet, which was an eye opener when it came to the lowrider and bicycle culture.