July 8, 2015
By Chelsea Nicole Taylor
Once a year, the spacious Oak Canyon Ranch in Silverado is overrun with bikers and moto enthusiasts for one of the largest vintage chopper and classic motorcycle shows on the West Coast. With over 150 vendors, invited builders, live music, off-site camping, food, and a raffle complete with bike giveaways, it's no surprise that Born Free attracts thousands of motorcycle fanatics from all over the world.
Having attended the last few years myself, I immediately noticed the increased attendance for Born Free 2015, now in its seventh incarnation. Clearly we share a certain love for our own machines, and the custom ones we’ve come to drool over. But Born Free has evolved into more than just a motorcycle show. Riders travel from across the continent, each with their own tales of roads less traveled, and all for one weekend of two-wheel camaraderie.
Really it's an annual excuse for friends and strangers to network and bond over a shared passion, while also strengthening relationships originally established via social media. The more I thought about it, I realized that social media plays a significant role at these events. I personally have acquired many new friends, mainly through Instagram, that I eventually met in person at shows similar to BF.
This year, I had the pleasure of finally meeting my Instagram friend, Becky Goebel, who came all the way down from Vancouver, Canada. Giddiness took over when Becky had mentioned she would be at BF, and we were to have the unexpected privilege of meeting before a trip we’re doing together this coming fall.
I found it surprising how easy it was to recognize each other through the crowd. Once we made eye contact, we knew instantly who we were looking at. I was so happy to finally see her in the flesh and to know someone who came for their first year all the way from British Columbia! I appreciated how Instagram and Facebook had made such a pleasant introduction.
Though it was her first BF experience, Becky had a plenty of social media acquaintances waiting to welcome her. She told me how nice it was to put faces to the names and to shake hands with some of the girls that inspired her to make the long journey. The whole time I thought how Becky was really the inspirational one. I admired her sense of adventure and desire to join a moto community in a completely different country.
Born Free is something I look forward every year, not only for the bikes, but for the people I know I’m going to see. Being involved in the industry, I have many friends, from builders to vendors, and of course attendees, such as myself. I enjoy riding out in large groups with my friends and hanging out with the rest once we arrive. There’s something to be said about the technology that brings us all together for an unforgettable weekend, and that once it's over, that we're immediately planning for the next year.
Because sometimes, in rare instances, it's not just the journey, it's very much the destination.
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