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Motosota uses a biker rally to unite Northeast

People from all walks of life gathered over the weekend for bikes, beer, food and music.
Image by Griffin Jacobs
This year marked Motosota’s sixth year in Northeast

Hundreds of people representing every subset of Minneapolis’ alt-culture came to Bauhaus Brew Labs in Northeast on Saturday, despite the rainy weather, for the sixth annual Motosota motorcycle rally.

Hipsters, craft-beer enthusiasts, university students and vendors selling everything from vintage bike rally shirts to freshly brewed coffee came to enjoy the industrial architecture, live music and the company of strangers.

Walking into the event, it seemed exactly like what one could expect after reading “Minneapolis motorcycle rally.” There were a few dozen bikes and mopeds in the center of a parking lot surrounded by vendors selling leather jackets and boots. The sounds of motorcycle engines, rap music and the tuning of country guitars filled the air.

Moto Collective, who organized the festival, wanted the event to be more than just an opportunity for Minnesota bikers to show off their rides. Moto Collective founder Aleks Nedich said the annual event is a place to show up with a bike or scooter to come to hang out and people watch.

Nedich said they teamed up with the Minneapolis Vintage Market to bring together every type of urbanite. It was hard to tell if the ‘90s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally t-shirts were being bought more by ironic college students or sincere biking elders.

One of the more interesting aspects of the event were the barbers and tattoo artists. Tim Rivard, a barber at Barbers Above the Gym, said barbers had been involved in the event for five years. He said the relationship between barbers and bikers was “copacetic,” a perfect combination of people who liked slick bikes and slick haircuts. The event was a unique way to meet clients outside his regular purview, Rivard said. Sure enough, attendees wore dreadlocks, pink hair dye and classic pompadours.

The most common theme of the event was products made for bikers but enjoyed by everyone. This was certainly the case for Zambezi Kitchen, which sold a high-protein snack for bikers on long road trips. Zambezi Kitchen’s founder and CEO, Mwila Kapungulya, described it as “beef jerky without the junk.”

“[Zambezi Kitchen] would have been here four feet deep in snow,” Kapungulya said. Kapungulya’s resilience encapsulated the vendors’ attitudes toward the poor weather. A vendor selling clothing with mental health awareness messages gave a customer free apparel after a wind gust spilled coffee on her.

Nedich called the event “a last hurrah,” capping off bikers’ summer and bringing together people of all different racial, age and biking backgrounds. It was just that, a loud and vibrant sendoff that left bikers with a feeling that could last until the next biking season.

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