Last week we shared a little preview of a photo shoot at Skidmark Garage. Skidmark Garage is based in Cleveland, Ohio, and provides you with everything you’ll need to do any and all work on your motorcycle. Need tools, a bench, a tire changer, space, wi-fi, and other riders to count on for advice and support? No problem.
“It’s a space to wrench, help, learn, and hang.”
We sat with Brian to learn a little more about him and Skidmark Garage’s story.
bikerMetric: Why don’t you give us a intro into on who you are, what your story is, and what Skidmark Garage is all about.
Brian: The idea of a community garage came to me back in 1995. I was living in LA, where zillions of people live in apartments without access to a garage to park one’s car and/or own tools to work on that car. I was one of these unlucky ones. I envisioned a 4 bay garage with lifts that people could use to work on their own cars at an hourly rate. I was in my 20s and broke as a joke and the idea never got past the discussion stage.
I moved back to Cleveland in 2000 and soon bought my first motorcycle – a 1978 Honda CB750K. I quickly realized that my community garage idea is even better suited for motorcycles (no lifts, no heavy machinery, etc…) so I began saving tools. I found The Hildebrandt Building in 2014 after I met Pete Debelak, one of the owners of a community woodshop called Soulcraft, also located in The Hildebrandt. Prior to this, I was a teacher at Saint Martin de Porres High School.
Skidmark Garage is my attempt to duplicate, on a much larger level, that visceral and incredibly rewarding feeling felt when hanging out with my friends in the garage, knuckle-busting, solving mechanical problems, and jamming tunes. I have six bays identically stocked with all the tools anyone needs to do just about any motorcycle work. Everyone in here can be seen helping each other out and learning from one another at any given moment. It’s about having a third place to go; home and work is not enough for most.
bikerMetric: What’s the scene like in Cleveland?
Brian: The only “scene” I choose to expose myself to is vintage and/or non-douchebag. I know there are other bike scenes out there, but I only have time for one, unfortunately. All the people that I see at Nemeths and in Mods vs Rockers have been very kind and welcoming. A very big part of this scene is Pride of Cleveland and ClevelandMoto – I might argue that the vintage scene is driven by both shops. Everyone is into helping each other out and riding – the two most important parts of a scene, in my book.
bikerMetric: Disowned Customs runs out of Skidmark Garage. Last week we saw some sneak peak pics of your photo shoot. Lookin’ good! What do you like best about Skidmark Garage and Disowned Customs?
Brian: My favorite thing about this relationship is probably Dani’s willingness to stop what he’s doing for a few minutes to teach other Skidmark members (whether an hourly member or a yearly member) the proper way to troubleshoot and solve problems with their respective bikes. There’s no attitude on his part, so there’s no hesitation to ask on their part. I LOVE helping people with their bikes, but I also know a tenth of what Dani does, so I often defer to his advice – it’s such a great way to learn.
bikerMetric: What’s the hardest thing about either biz for you?
Brian: The hardest thing about keeping Skidmark afloat is figuring out how to reach my demographic without breaking the bank. The hardest thing about having Disowned here is watching him get all the attention – the dude’s a madman in so many ways.
bikerMetric: Who’s typically coming through the doors at Skidmark?
Brian: I thought it would be purely apartment dwellers using the space to store and wrench on their bikes. I found that this is only about half of the members; the others are guys that HAVE a garage, and sometimes even the tools, but love the social atmosphere of Skidmark. Many are first time bike owners that bought something old and inexpensive and want to get it working and also want to understand the bike. I have males and females, young and old, experienced and inexperienced coming through the doors.
bikerMetric: Where can readers see more of you and Skidmark?
Mods vs Rockers on August 7, 8, 9
3619 Walton Avenue Cleveland, OH 44113
Later this week we’ll be talking to Dani to hear about Disowned Customs and seeing more pics from their photo shoots.
Speaking of, props to everyone who made the shoot happen: Tana Kidwell and Bethany Capasso, the models, and Ryan Bloomfield and Molly Vaughan, the photographers.
Stay tuned for more!
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