classic ducati at caffeine and octane show

Caffeine & Octane and Sand & Sea

The motorcycle and car show at Jekyll Island you didn’t know you had to see

Touring up the edge of Georgia's coastal salt marshes might not sound like a great motorcycle ride. But with my girlfriend's arms wrapped around me, a fully outfitted Motus MST between my knees, and us surrounded by a group of a few dozen riders on just about everything motorcycle-ish one can imagine, it was quite a great ride. A rat Honda 305 Dream, an old-school H-D chopper, a custom bobber, an R nineT, and custom bikes too custom to classify. The sizes of engines varied by a factor of 12x. What were the riders of this odd mix of bikes doing cruising and hanging together?

That night, my GF and I rode to dinner in the back seat of a 1964 Dodge Dart GT. It’s a hardtop. It was a warm evening so we had rolled the windows down. Yes, rolled. With the wind in my face, I reached, literally, for a handful of the past. I reached halfway out through the open window, and rested my hand on the sill that glass had been cranked down into. Feeling the chrome trim and twin rubber sweepers beneath my palm, I slid my hand forward, across the slight gap of door jam, and a few inches further onto the sill of the driver’s door. Yup, it’s a hardtop. No B-pillars. Just a wide open space from the dashboard to the opera lights.

custom bike at caffeine and octane show
Caffeine & OctaneMatthew Jones

Sitting in the backseat, the breeze smelled of 1964 Dodge Dart. Mine had the slant six, while this GT has the little V-8. They smell of the same unnamed Dodge plastics. I could almost hear the seeds popping from a far-off decade, accompanied by the echo of a song from one hot summer. Mama Told Me Not to Come. I came.

Caffeine & Octane is a car/motorcycle/motorhead event the first Sunday of every month, all year round, at the Perimeter Mall, in Atlanta, Georgia. Caffeine & Octane is a motorhead TV show, airing every Sunday at 9 am on the Velocity Network. Caffeine & Octane at the Beach, is now a yearly March event on Jekyll Island; a road trip to Georgia’s shore for all things of the Otto cycle. Caffeine & Octane is an event, a lifestyle, a must-do, must-go, be-there, community of enthusiasts. The caffeine is primarily from Atlanta roaster Batdorf & Bronson. Bring your own octane.

The monthly event in Atlanta features any machine that anyone cares to roll into the huge Perimeter Mall parking lot, while C & O at the Beach invited master builders and a wide selection of bikes and cars that were classics, customs, or sometimes both. The event also featured vendors, trophies, and lots of hats. That springtime beach sun shines with merciless deceit. There were presentations, demonstrations, boat tours, and a round table with builders.

custom bike at caffeine and octane show
Caffeine & OctaneMatthew Jones

Most of all, at Caffeine & Octane at the Beach it was people. On Friday’s ride we met Karen and Bart, a couple from Tennessee who ride the wheels off their Motus just because it’s what they do. Bart told us, “We were miserly when we were younger, now we’re spending it.”

On the Sweetwater Brews Cruise (On a boat, not a bike.), we met Gabriel, originally from France, and who was displaying his De Tomaso Pantera. Now that I think of it, that car, with its beastly America V-8 in its tiny chassis, reminds me of the Fuller Moto Motus I rode while at this event. Both, wheel-driven rockets.

At the bar one night we chatted with Sammy from Dearborn, as he claimed he was known. And in the sun we enjoyed the delights from King of Pops, where we were served up fruit popsicles by a former lawyer, who claims to have created the company. A look at its website reveals that he tells everyone that story, though it’s not quite true. Something that only a lawyer would have the nerve to pitch, pants ablaze.

custom bike at caffeine and octane show
Caffeine & OctaneMatthew Jones

In the Dodge Dart we were for the first time in the flesh with new friends Ren and Julia, one of whom I’d met on Facebook over a year ago. A combat veteran Marine who knows his ammo and desert camo. Yes, sometimes the half real others on the far side of the Internet, turn out to be all real, and not bots.

We dined with Lee Conn and Brian Case’s and extended families. Seems there’s a matriarchy behind these founders of Motus, including a daughter who is a future president of the United States.

At the standing-room-only celebrity-builders round table, we learned about the trials and passions of builders, and the obsessions of milling, molding and melting metals alone, late at night. But I didn’t come away from that discussion with a better understanding of what amperage is best for welding chromoly tubing. Better than that, I learned that builders just want to be loved. They create from the heart, they try to build things of honest beauty, and they put their creations out there for everyone to enjoy, doing so under a spotlight of judgment. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not asking who will cry for the lonely builder. I’m just trying to point out that building bikes is less about the bike and more about community of biking. Building is the sharing of a common culture, celebrating life at the church of motorcycling. And riding.

custom bike at caffeine and octane show
Caffeine & OctaneMatthew Jones

Everyone has a story.

I was delighted to learn, when finally chatting with Caffeine & Octane owner Bruce Piefke, that he already knew this about his event. Piefke said, “Every one connects with cars in some way. Just like with music. And the two are connected. If you turned the key in your car in the 1960s, the Beach Boys were playing. Or later it’s The Back Street Boys, whoever it is for you. People connect to those times in their lives that put a smile on their faces. It’s nostalgia. When you look at cars from when you grew up—not even your car, but maybe the car your mom drove, or your best friend’s mom—it brings back good memories just like music does. I think people are drawn to that, to remember the good times of their youth. Cars can tale them there just like music does.

“The cars are cool, the bikes are cool, but it’s about meeting people and hearing their stories, and finding these common passions. That’s what I want the brand of Caffeine & Octane to represent; that people are proud to associate with it because it’s about them.”

custom bike at caffeine and octane show
Caffeine & OctaneMatthew Jones
custom bike at caffeine and octane show
Caffeine & OctaneMatthew Jones
custom bike at caffeine and octane show
Caffeine & OctaneMatthew Jones
custom bike at caffeine and octane show
Caffeine & OctaneMatthew Jones
custom bike at caffeine and octane show
Caffeine & OctaneMatthew Jones
custom bike at caffeine and octane show
Caffeine & OctaneMatthew Jones
custom bike at caffeine and octane show
Caffeine & OctaneMatthew Jones
custom bike at caffeine and octane show
Caffeine & Octane at the BeachMatthew Jones
custom bike at caffeine and octane show
Caffeine & Octane at the BeachMatthew Jones
custom bike at caffeine and octane show
Caffeine & Octane at the BeachMatthew Jones
custom bike at caffeine and octane show
Caffeine & Octane at the BeachMatthew Jones
custom bike at caffeine and octane show
Caffeine & Octane at the BeachMatthew Jones
custom bike at caffeine and octane show
Caffeine & Octane at the BeachMatthew Jones
custom bike at caffeine and octane show
Caffeine & Octane at the BeachMatthew Jones
custom bike at caffeine and octane show
Caffeine & Octane at the BeachMatthew Jones
custom bike at caffeine and octane show
Caffeine & Octane at the BeachMatthew Jones
custom bike at caffeine and octane show
Caffeine & Octane at the BeachMatthew Jones
custom bike at caffeine and octane show
Caffeine & Octane at the BeachMatthew Jones
custom bike at caffeine and octane show
Caffeine & Octane at the BeachMatthew Jones
custom bike at caffeine and octane show
Caffeine & Octane at the BeachMatthew Jones

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