Moto event magic maker: Tim Burke tells all

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“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!” — Wizard of Oz

Tim Burke is what many might think of as the “man behind the curtain” in his motorcycle community. When in reality, he is an “organizing wizard” and he is hard to ignore! Burke is the head of Ohio’s Cincinnati Café Racer Club; store-owner of a motorcycle retail lifestyle shop; a visionary of small and large-scale motorcycle events; and as a result, a well-seasoned event planner – and that is in his spare time. Burke, who is the mastermind behind events such as Queen City Mods & Rockers Rally, Motoberfest, and Garaged Brewed Moto Show, still maintains a “day job,” in the field of technology.

Tim’s email signature captures the essence of his efforts best, “events that build community with moto enthusiasts,” and that is exactly what Burke does from behind the scenes. We at Workshop Hero Nation convinced Burke to answer a few questions for us on how he found his way to the world of moto event planning. So, without further ado, and in true Q & A fashion, check out Burke’s answers and lessons learned along the way.

How did you get involved in the Cincinnati Café Racer Club?

I formed the Cincy Café Racer Club in 2011 after looking for a club like this and finding nothing more than the typical biker scene. Our current membership is close to 1,000. I like to tell people “don’t let the name fool you,” we love and welcome all styles of bikes and bike enthusiasts. If it has two wheels and a motor, most of us are fans.

Give us the “highlight reel” of the events you have organized:

We have created multiple events to help grow the moto culture in the Cincinnati area and to support a fun, safe environment for riding. The larger events like our Motoberfest offer live music and group rides – it is always fun. The Garage Brewed Moto Show has become our premier annual event. It is held each February inside of the Rhinegeist Brewery and offers food, beer made onsite at the brewery, and a look at more than 50 cool, custom bikes built by pro and amateur builders from all over the Midwest. We’ve had some spectacular bikes, interesting stories behind the builds, and it is great to hear how old friends were reunited over motorcycles at our events.

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What is the connection between the Club and events that you organize?

Our club is a non-dues paying membership, we are a social club of motorcycle enthusiasts. Dues are “paid” through participation and volunteering at events, our members are giving of their time and talent in an effort to make it fun for everyone. The ultimate goal is to grow and support our community and help to create a “cool” local scene.

What has been your greatest victory in event planning?

That’s a hard question, event planning is about dozens of small victories coming together to make a fun event. One that comes to mind is how we’ve been able to keep the Garage Brewed Moto Show free of charge for attendees. We have found that if you want ensure people come see and learn about motorcycles, presenting as few obstacles as possible has the greatest pay off. I have to add that this is only possible because of the wonderful sponsors we have that support the show.

What was your greatest lesson learned?

Surround yourself with good people. I’ve learned I can’t do it all myself and choosing positive individuals that are as enthusiastic about the mission as I am is the only way to succeed. When I fail to delegate, things get missed and it becomes overwhelming to try to achieve the goals.

What inspires you to do what you do?

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Nice people and I have found that the moto community is full of good people. It is not the machines that bring us together–they are just what we have in common–it is the friendships.

What is the biggest misconception people have about the motorcycle “culture?”

That there is only one culture. Within the motorcycle culture there are so many different styles, tastes, interests, and birds of a feather flocking together. Many have one stereotype in mind when they think of a motorcyclist, anything from the Sons of Anarchy-style gangs; to sport bike stunt riders; old guys with bikes more expensive than your house; the vintage bike owner; the long distance riders; the antique motorcycle museum collector; or the motorcycle garage custom builder. Whatever that stereotype is, it is too narrow. The community is as huge and as diverse as any group of humans with a common interest.

How does your Club work together?

Like any organization, there are hundreds of people involved and yet a few dozen are the ones who consistently give of themselves to make things happen. These “do-ers” are our core. They are what make our local motorcycle community special.

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Lightening Round

Burke gave us the scoop on his work with the Cincy Café Racer Club, but we wanted to know more about him. So, we cued up the game show format of days gone by and sent Burke to the “Lightening Round” for a few more questions.

Give us your life story in 5 sentences:

1. Blue collar upbringing in a family of five kids.
2. First motorcycle was a 1974 Harley Davidson Scrambler (burgundy).
3. Some art college (photography); lots of work, self-made entrepreneur in the tech and motorcycle industries; still trying to make it big.
4. Childless by choice (hence my ability to do events) with a lovely wife of 24 years and a dog named Siggy.
5. Trying to be a better person every day.

What are you most passionate about?

Motorcycles – specifically vintage BMW – but frankly, I’m distracted by all vintage bikes. I’ve always collected “things” since I was a young boy – stamps, matchbooks, beer cans, art, antiques, and of course motorcycles.

If you could be a motorcycle, what /type would you be and why?

I’d be a BMW R nineT – old school at its roots, but with shiny new clothes and dress shoes, ready for a night of dancing out on the town.

The best advice you have ever gotten?

You have two ears and one mouth. You should use them in that same proportion.

Mcfadden builds customized works of art – and a name for himself – with everyday tools and drive

Mike McFadden, chief, cook and bottle washer, of M&M Customs motorcycle fabrication shop has paved his way to success one customized bike at a time. Operating under the mantra “go with your gut,” McFadden has a track record that proves his gut is a force to be reckoned with.

McFadden is climbing the ranks and is making a name for himself amongst an elite group of award-winning bike designers. His list of sponsors include Continental Tires, DEI Performance Products, and Lucas Oils, and his mammoth awards collection highlights include “Best Custom” from Cafe Barber Vintage Days, Japanese Cafe, and People’s Choice Mid-Ohio Vintage Days; “Best in Show” from The Big Kahuna Café Racer Magazine Show; and a 1st from the 2016 Easy Riders Specialty Class.

“I tell customers that I can build them a work of art, but what I do best is build bikes that can be both ridden and admired,” McFadden said. “My work is for those who cannot or do not have the skills or the time to make a bike of their dreams.”

M&M Customs is what McFadden calls “a boutique shop” – it is small in its output (5 to 15 bikes a year) but large in craftsmanship and results. “I keep the number of bikes I produce low; I want to submerge myself in the process.” From fabrication to paint, all work is done in house with McFadden’s undivided attention and skill set.

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“I have more than 30 years of experience and I know what it takes to build something unique and keeping the number of projects small allows me to concentrate on each bike.” McFadden’s standard order of operations is frequent communication with customers – as the build progresses he sends photos and updates. “I want to give them the attention that they, and the bike, deserves.”

What fuels him is the feeling of appreciation that comes from others who have followed along the project’s journey. “My biggest source of pride is my paintwork.” McFadden suffers from the challenges of color blindness and as he tells it, this plays a “big mind game” on his self-confidence. “When someone praises my color choices and my work it definitely makes me smile.”

This success story has chapters that date back to McFadden’s childhood. His love of customization started with his Schwinn bicycle. “I would swap out the forks from other bikes and literally ‘force’ them to fit with the use of a hammer and a bit of elbow grease!” In time, he refined his methods at a local vocational school and in working for several top shops in the area.

It was tremendous loss that taught McFadden many life lessons and spurred him to pursue his passion. In his early 20s, both his best friend and his mother passed away from cancer. “My mom instilled in me the confidence to try anything and not to be afraid to fail.”

In 2003, the Discovery Channel aired its series “American Chopper” and it was then that McFadden had his “ah ha” moment. “I realized that I could do the same things the ‘big guys’ were doing on the show but without all the fancy and expensive equipment.”

Fast forward to present day and you’ll find McFadden and his M&M Customs continue to outdo themselves. With each new build, his motorcycle fabrication work — and his reputation — pick up steam. In recent months his exposure has grown to include features in magazines including Easy Riders, Ink & Iron, Lowside, and Bike EXIF, as well as features on industry websites Cyril Huze Post, The Bike Shed, and multiple guest appearances on national TV’s “PowerNation.” Beyond all the fanfare, McFadden explains, “what I love best is showing what can be done with normal everyday tools and drive.”

When asked where his personal preference and passion lies, McFadden will turn the conversation to old Japanese bikes. “The old Japanese bikes are bullet proof and have a lot of character left in them,” he explains. “To me, Harley Davidson bikes are like the main interstate – everyone is traveling it. Old Japanese bikes are like the old highway – it still gets you to your destination but on a different path, it may not be the easiest route but it will get you to the same place in the end.”

We at Workshop Hero save our Workshop Hero Nation ACE designation for those who are experts in their craft – they work hard, pursue greatness and live by the mindset “love what you do, do what you love.” Mike McFadden, you fit the bill and you are formally welcomed as the newest Workshop Hero Nation ACE.

Finders keepers with Frank Fritz

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They say “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure” and Frank Fritz has made a career out of proving that to be true. Fritz is co-host of HISTORY’s TV series American Pickers where he and Mike Wolfe hunt for treasures wherever the road takes them. Fritz has frequented musty attics, old garages, cobweb-laden barns and greasy garages, all in search of vintage “finds” for purchase and resale to collectors.

One of those collectors is Fritz himself – and one of his favorite collectibles is motorcycles. His love for the iron horse started when he was young, just like his love for picking. Fritz owns a personal collection of what he might call “cool, classic motorcycles” that totals more than 80, he even wrote a book on the topic.

What started as a childhood hobby collecting rocks and beer cans grew to include his current passions – old toys, oil cans, signs and motorcycles. “I’ve been into motorcycles since I was a little kid,” explained Fritz. “I started out on mini-bikes and then I went to dirt bikes and then to street bikes. I bought a low rider in 1979 when I was a sophomore in high school for $3999, the car I drove was only $200!”

Fritz has a resume in antique collection and restoration that is a mile long. He started collecting or what now has been coined “picking” in his early teens – it was his passion but it didn’t pay the bills. What did pay the bills for many years was his work as a fire and safety inspector and motorcycle safety instructor. It wasn’t until 2010 that Fritz left his inspector job and made the leap into television with the debut of American Pickers.

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We have dubbed Fritz a Workshop Hero Nation ACE for many reasons – he walks the walk and talks the talk of vintage restoration and rust removal and at Workshop Hero that is a match made in heaven.

As with most ACEs and their passion, there is always more to the story than meets the eye. Fritz loves the thrill of the pick but the real treasure he says are the people he encounters while on the road. “The best part is meeting the people,” he said. “The finds are so much more interesting when they come with a history and a story.”

Workshop Hero™ teamed up with Fritz to serve as its spokesman because Fritz is no stranger to rust – he has seen first-hand the damage and loss that results from rust and corrosion. Fritz became a fan of the Workshop Hero™’s Metal Rescue® and Dry Coat™ after using the products in his own workshop.

“I used Metal Rescue® Rust Remover Bath on several items I picked while on the road with American Pickers—rusty toys, an oil can and a couple of motorcycle chrome fenders. I was blown away by how well it removed the rust while at the same time leaving the paint and finishes undisturbed. I was hooked.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves and to you, Frank Fritz, we at the Workshop Hero Nation salute you!

With Jay Chaikin, everything old is new again

In a world full of woodworkers, antique collectors, “pickers” and masters of repurposing, Jay Chaikin is a rarity. His charm, gift of gab, and wheeler dealer approach may get his foot in the door but it is his skilled woodworking and his ability to inject “life” back into old, historic artifacts that is his true sweet spot.

Want to know how we define a Workshop Hero Nation “Ace?” Look to Chaikin and his work ethic, his mastery of his craft, and his passion to share his skills with those who are willing to learn and you will see a living example of a Workshop Hero Nation “Ace.”

It was Chaikin’s stint as a television personality on the National Geographic Channel that brought him, and his work, notoriety. Chaikin took his craft to the airwaves when he starred in the reality series titled “Abandoned.” The show debuted August of 2012 and filmed 13 episodes chronicling Chaikin and his team traveling the countryside in search of abandoned properties that housed hidden treasures – specifically hidden treasures that could later be restored and sold.

With Chaikin, it all began with this love for woodworking and history. While 1996 marks his official entry into the business world of building homemade furniture and running an antique store, it was a vocation that was a lifetime in the making.

“I love working with antique wood and thinking about the people that have used it throughout the years,” he said. “Even back into childhood, I appreciated and collected anything old. I was passionate about history and couldn’t look at an antique piece of furniture without thinking about the man who made it with his hands, the tools he used, the farm he probably lived on.”

Chaikin, with the help of his wife and business partner Ricki, launched JCWoodworking as a furniture business and over time it evolved into a reclaimed wood and structure business. The business had humble beginnings – Chaikin housed his workshop in a barn and in order to use the workspace he traded his labor to maintain the property the barn was housed on.

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“At the time, Ricki was in school, our bills were low and although we were broke, I quit my job and we decided to go for it. I owned virtually no tools at all and borrowed money for the bare necessities: a table saw, radial arm saw and bandsaw,”

JC Woodworking was established to take full advantage of Chaikin’s skills and passion for wood working and furniture and with it he began using antique wood to create beautiful flooring, build additions and to build barns. During this time, he would find the material for his furniture by going “on-site” to 1800’s dwellings and salvaging the wood.

“The best part of my job was going out to these beautiful, historical buildings and saving as much as I could. To me, being in a 200-year old barn or log home was like being at an amusement park. I loved everything about them,” Chaikin said.

JCWoodworking set the pace for the Chaikin family-business model and it was followed by Reclaimed Relics, a ‘sister’ business that works with objects within the buildings rather than the structure itself. Through the magic of word of mouth and the internet, it was Reclaimed Relics that caught the eye of a production company who was looking to create a reality show about historic, abandoned buildings and the treasures within.

“We thought the first email we received from them was a joke but we got the job and filmed an entire season of ‘Abandoned’ that appeared on the National Geographic Channel.”

Chaikin’s curiosity and Workshop Hero Nation “Ace-like” drive to use his talents to the fullest have been the fire that fuels him. Look for Chaikin in a return to television this fall via the Discovery Channel. Chaikin and his team continue their work to track down and repurpose vintage structures on “Renovation Wild.”

The rest, as they say, is history, just the way Chaikin likes it!

When it comes to metal, Fuller is all aces

Master metal fabricator; custom car and motorcycle designer; TV personality; author; publisher; apparel line distributor; addicted to anything on wheels; lover of the open road and now add to his rap sheet – Workshop Hero Nation”Ace” — Bryan Fuller is a true jack of all trades.

When it comes to metal, Fuller who has been with Workshop Hero for several years, has got it covered. Known in the industry for his expertise, knowledge and good-humored antics, Fuller is like your first bike – hard to forget.

As a young teen, time spent working on a car with his father ignited Fuller’s passion for his craft, one that for years he considered a “hobby.” Then, with the sudden loss of his father at the age of 20, Fuller with a recently earned biology degree from University of North Texas in hand, made the decision to take his passion and make it a career.

Fuller’s background in metal shaping is extensive. After time spent at the Wyoming Technical Institute where he learned advanced technical skills in metal fabrication, he spent several years working with hot rod designer and star of TLC’s “Overhaulin”, Chip Foose. Fuller was a member of the Foose Design Team that won the prestigious 2003 and 2005 Ridler Award for Best Car in Show at the Detroit Autorama and was also a lead builder on TLC’s “Overhaulin” show.

From there, Fuller launched his own custom bike and hot rod shop Fuller Moto in downtown Atlanta and was chosen to co-host “Two Guys Garage”, the oldest automotive “how to” show on Speed TV.

Fuller, in true Workshop Hero Nation Ace-like fashion, has an extensive list of awards and achievements including a win of the coveted GM Design Award in 2010 at The Specialty Equipment Marketing Association (SEMA) Car Show with the “Impaler” and the 2013 Birmingham World of Wheels Best in Show with a one-of-a-kind Cadillac hearse, named the “Thundertaker”.

This past winter was a busy one for Fuller who returned to the airwaves as the host of “Naked Speed” on the Velocity Channel, a new show dedicated to the design, build and ride of unique custom motorcycles. He also released his second in a series of how-to-build books, “Full-Bore Welding” published by his own publishing company, Full-Bore Publishing, AND, Fuller unveiled his most ambitious custom car to date at the 2014 SEMA tradeshow in Las Vegas, Nevada; a 825 HP all-wheel drive 1932 custom Ford roadster called the “Double-Down” Deuce.

“Bryan’s experience and passion for metals, combined with his great humor and outgoing personality, are the perfect match for our Metal Rescue® and Dry Coat™ products and to serve as a Workshop Hero Nation Ace . Bryan is the ultimate workshop hero – he knows how to get the work done and have some fun along the way,” David Yancho, Vice President, Workshop Hero, said.

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