The Fuel Cleveland show mixes some of the best custom and vintage motorcycles with different facets of moto-centric art and photography. The event often changes locations each year giving patrons a whole new experience each time and the 2021 show found its home in a very great location that was the best flow the show has had to date. While local stunt riders took to the streets below keeping everyone's blood pumping, this year's massive indoor vendor village and art exhibits were a great way to get excited for the main floor of motorcycles galore waiting in the next room. While the show always takes a very all inclusive approach this years curation of bikes was a very impressive mix. We have been proud to sponsor the event and also showcase our own motorcycles year after year at Fuel. We spoke with Mikey "Revolt" Arnold of Lowbrow Customs, the organizers of the event to get some info on what people can expect from the upcoming 2022 show.
Let's talk about the location of the 2021 show which we are showing in this feature now. Absolutely a killer space with some of the best vending setups ever, a classy main room for the bikes and actually a whole lot of bikes all-in-one space. How did you like the 2021 location and what was one of the best parts of this setup?
It was great space and super sad to hear immediately after the show was over the building manager had permanently rented out the space where we had all the vendors set up... Great for the building manager to fill that rad space, super sad for us, because it meant 2022 we would need yet again to find another new venue. That venue really gave off that art gallery feel with still keeping the industrial / just a little sketchy vibe Cleveland gives off. The place was jam packed all day and I feel though it was in November last year people were excited to have something going on. It was wildly fun and I think it resonated well with everyone that attended. Plus missing Fuel Cleveland 2020 because of the well you know Covid and shit, it was a breath of fresh air to have Fuel Cle back in such a cool space.
So the upcoming show at Hale farm, let's talk about what's going to be dramatically different about this location verses previous years and what can people expect from this new spot?
Well one thing that is the obvious is this venue is all outdoors. We have always had our show either inside and or half inside/half outside, but never completely outdoors. Ohio is pretty freakin awesome in the summer, so we are banking on the weather holding up strong and giving everyone a great day of riding and exploring the farm. Also this place is fucking huge. We have over 90 acres that we are allowed to use. When we first went out there to check the venue out, Jesse and I really wanted to hate it, cause it just wasn’t in Cleveland and it wasn’t that shitty warehouse vibe we love. But man, one step onto the property and we were in love. It’s sometimes hard for me to envision the show and layout when finding a new venu and it takes me a while to adjust, but I could see everything so clearly at Hale farm. It was all playing through my head how it would be laid out and it gave off some real Born Free Show vibes. With so much room, comes the challenge of filling the space though. I thought to myself man wouldn’t be cool to finally add another element to the show we all love, and told the guys, I think we should add some vintage vans into the show. That's probably the biggest new change to the show from previous years. We got some of the locals very best vans for this first show and I’m very excited for everyone to get in depth look at those.
Also at the Hale farm they do exhibits / seminars that teach people about black smithing, glass blowing and pottery making. The manager asked if that's something we wanted to have going on at the show, and it just made sense. Custom motorcycles, vans, etc.. all hand built, do it yourself kind of things, and those activities have so much to do with making things with your hands. We thought it would be a super rad and something incredibly different to add to the experience of the show. I encourage everyone to check out the different seminars going on throughout the day.
Do you believe the outdoor of your version of Fuel is the evolution of the show indefinitely or will it possibly return to an indoor venue next year?
Yeah man, it's definitely an evolution of the show. I never thought the show would get as big as it has and it continues to grow year after year. The main reason we couldn’t get another indoor venue this year is because of the sheer size and amount of people that come to the show now. No one is willing to try and house that many people inside and in the city. I feel the farm will allow us to continue to grow, give people a great experience not only at the show but getting to the show as well. The farm is in the heart of our Cuyahoga national park and the riding to get there is really beautiful and fun. This year we are doing an official Fuel Cleveland Run for the first time ever presented by BMW Motorrad USA. The run takes you from Edgewater park on Lake Erie up and around the famous Cleveland skyline and then into the Cuyahoga National Park down to Hale Farm. Completely free to come and you get to ride along some of new BMW R18 cruisers.
There is also just so many more possibilities we have to grow and expand at the farm. For instance, we will hopefully be able to offer camping for future shows and possibly expand to other kinds of activities / races / field games etc. I can’t give away all the secrets but theres lots more to come in the future and we are hoping Hale Farm will be the home to facilitate it all. But as we have learned over the years, we have to take it a year at a time because, in the end shit changes.
Let's talk about the bikes we can expect for the 2022 show. There's always been a very diverse mix of different motorcycle genres at the show throughout the years from choppers to race bikes, survivors and customs of really every different sub genre. Will this show be on par with other years in the diversity or will it be more choppers?
Yeah man, that's what we do, It’s always chopper heavy cause that's what we love and really are into but we are also love other bikes, vintage, rare and race shit too. I got about 70 or so choppers and or full out custom builds for this show, and about 55 rare, vintage, stock, and racer type motorcycles for the show. I say it every year, I love shovel heads, but it's not the Fuel Cleveland Shovelhead show. We get hundreds of submissions every year and I always feel bad that we can’t pick every single one, but we have to keep it diverse and interesting. I think the coolest thing about Fuel Cleveland though is no matter if the bikes make the invitational part of the show or not, the people riding in are just as much a part of the experience and show as well. This year we have a massive parking lot free for all motorcycle riders coming to the show, and every single person riding in is automatically is a part of the American Metal Customs Ride-In Bike show. They are going to be handing out awards and swag for the bikes they think rule and its just another area where you can spend hours staring at people's amazing bikes.
You have also included a Van show for the 2022 Fuel at Hale Farms now that the space for this is available in the grounds. What year range or requirements are in order for the vans and is this invite only deal or are people with vintage vans encourage to roll into the show?
Requirements are its gotta be custom and or vintage, If it doesn’t have a historical plate we don't really want to put it in the show if that makes sense. I’m sure someone has put together some dope ass Promasters, but in the end it's just not as cool as those 70’s Shaggin wagons or an 80’s beater with a ton of fucking horse power. I believe we still have some room and if we see some cool vans rolling in that didn’t submit to be in the show we may still may put them over with the rest of the van show.
There's also an American metal customs "ride in" bike show this year show this year. Every year the ride in lot has kind of been its own unofficial bike show at Fuel. So, will this be like a more curated version of that? No curation, it's exactly like you said its always been an unofficial show. Well this year we made it an official show by naming it with a sponsor and giving prizes and awards out. Secretly we have always given out “Nice Fucking Bike” awards every year to about 10 or so bikes in the ride in lots. LOL We just never made it an official name for the ride in show. The guys at American Metal are super stoked to be a big part of Fuel Cleveland and they wanted to make it extra special for those riding in to be at and a part of the entire show. We can’t thank them enough for their love and support.
The art and photography exhibition portion of Fuel has always been an important part of the show. What can we expect from this portion of the show at Hale farms coming up?
This one is bit of a challenge for us this year. Hale Farm & VILLAGE is the name and the village is where we are doing the bike show. Well the village is made up of Historical houses that are mostly from the 1800’s. That being said and we are outside completely, we have no walls other than those houses, which because they are historical landmarks we can’t use there walls either. So the solution, we figured it would be cool to let each artist set up their own 10x10 area and display/ sell their artwork in anyway they see fit while still keeping it close to the show. We are calling it the Fuel Cleveland Art walk. It’s just north of the vending area and right smack in front of the bike show.
Last question, if you had to tell someone who's never attended a Fuel Cleveland before why they should come this year, what would you say to them?
What else do you have going on July 30th, sitting on your couch in the AC watching Stranger Things for the 18th time…. c’mon man. Ride your motorcycle out with some friends and make a day out of it. The show is completely FREE to attend if that's not reason enough to come I don't know what is but I will say Fuel Cleveland is really and always has been a gathering of like minded individuals that love 2 wheeled machines. You will see thousands of great motorcycles over the course of the day and have some really great conversations with people that are into the same shit as you. You will also be surrounded by some of the most beautiful landscape that Ohio has to offer in the Cuyahoga national park. We have tattoos being done all day long by the talented artists at Tattoo Faction. There will be Tin Type photography being done by Margret Muza. There's blacksmithing, glass blowing, pottery making seminars going on all day long. Incredible food be served from Panchitas, Betty’s Bomb Ass Burgers and Holy Frijoles. There will also be a ton of curated vendors selling all kinds of goods, from custom leather, to jewelry, motorcycle parts and more. Oh, and did I forget to mention BEER, yeah man there will be lots of BEER there too at affordable prices too. I mean if you hate fun stay home by all means. But if you want a fun filled day in the sun with a bunch of cool like minded people, then come on out. Bring a blanket chill out on the lawn under a tree, make some freakin memories and get out of your house.
Just also wanted to give a big thank you to Old Bike Barn, Whiteknuckler Brand, American Metal Customs, Biltwell, BMW Motorrad USA and WW Cycles for keeping this show FREE for everyone to attend.