The town of Paso Robles is best known for the vineyards that surround it, the many tasting rooms, and for the numerous wine-related events in summer and fall that bring free-spending crowds to the the area. However, in the spring life can be a bit dull, as the grapevines are just beginning to show their promise. A few years back the people in the city government whose job it is to lure in tourists hit upon the idea of a crafts fair in April, which would be held in the park smack in the middle of town. Very convenient, very popular, very well attended. And Karyl Lammers, who along with her husband owns a small after-market motorcycle shop in town, noted that while there were dozens of vendors the east side of the park was not filled up. In 2008 she and Mr. Sidecar, Doug Bingham of Los Angeles, suggested to the council that a sidecar gathering be organized and held in the park along with the sale of crafts and “recycled treasures.” The council agreed, and that first year some two dozen rigs showed up, along with a lot of motorcycle-riding spectators. Who not only admired the machinery but also bought food from the vendors and even purchased things like hand-knitted potholders and hand-carved tchotchkes (knick-knacks) from the crafts vendors.
Each year the event has grown, and this year was open to vintage solo bikes as well, with attendees coming from the local area, and from Los Angeles and San Francisco. The owners bring their bikes just to show them off, to natter with other owners, not for any prizes. It is the purest kind of rally, motorcyclists of all persuasions getting together because they like to hang out with like-minded people. On a beautiful sunny spring day some 50 outfits were on display, along with a number of solos. Maybe the most fun is to watch the people who came for the crafts fair, not knowing anything about motorcycles, wander over and stare wide-eyed at these wonderful machines. Perhaps a few converts are made. The event will happen again next year.