About a year ago, a few local vintage motorcycle enthusiasts decided it was time to start having regular outings with those with similar interests. So they set up informal gatherings where they can share information, insight, skills, and experiences.
The result was Tri-State Vin Moto, which holds monthly “rave ups” at Evansville restaurants on the first Thursday of each month.
“We have people like myself who are more interested in restoring bikes to their original appearances,” says Barry Schonberger, one of the group’s original organizers. “But we also have people who are interested in converting bikes into café racers or street trackers.”
The rave ups draw in both foreign and domestic motorcycles. The ages of the bikes vary, since some consider machines from the 1980s to be vintage, while others have much older bikes.
Randy Lientz displayed a 1965 Triumph Bonneville T120R at the 2013 Shrinersfest. That’s when he met Schonberger, who approached him about forming what is now Vin Moto. Lientz works in marketing at AXIOM, and with the company’s art director, Jason Snader, he helped develop a logo and Facebook page for Vin Moto.
Like many of the others in the group, Lientz has a long history with vintage motorcycles.
“My connection with vintage Triumphs goes back to my high school time when Steve McQueen was ‘the King of Cool’ in movies, and he raced them,” says Lientz. “Like music, vintage bikes take me to another time.”
Ralph Trautvetter has been riding since he was 15; he’s 71 now. He owns a very rare restored 1956 Ariel Square Four, which he bought just two years ago.
“Modern bikes handle so much better,” says Trautvetter. “I didn’t know that until I got back on this one. I had one of these when I was 15. It handles terrible. But it is pretty and it is fun to ride.”
Tri-State Vin Moto meets the first Thursday of each month, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. For more information, visit the group’s Facebook page.