A Trip to Steeltown Garage Bike Night

These days it seems that everyone is having a bike night. Some are for charity, some are for business promotion, some are just a bunch of guys and gals meeting up at the local Tim Hortons parking lot. With so many bike nights happening on a weekly basis, it’s sometimes hard to figure out which ones are worth checking out.

Now, first off, I haven’t been to all the bike nights taking place around Southern Ontario. The list would be exhaustive. But I do try to get out and visit as many as I can in my area. After a while, it starts to feel as if you’re having the same experience over and over again. Like Groundhog Day, except with motorcycles.

Enter the Steeltown Garage bike night. Steeltown Garage is a small retail shop and cafe located near the corner of James St. North and Barton St. East in Hamilton, Ontario. And despite the fact that it’s barely a year old at the time of writing this, their bike night was like a cool refreshing breeze on a hot summer day.

First of all, the location is right around the corner from the James Street Art District in Hamilton. It’s a part of the city, just north of downtown, that has been enjoying a nice facelift over the past few years. Recent renovations and building revitalization projects have really raised the character of the area from the somewhat dodgy image that it maintained just a handful of years ago.

As for Steeltown Garage itself, it’s not an overly large place, some might even say it’s rather small, but when you walk in the front door you’re instantly overwhelmed with its warm retro-european vibe. The shelves are lined with cool vintage style helmets, boots and other biker gear. On top of that, Steeltown has created quite an array of it’s own branded merchandise, largely focusing on shirts.

If you’re not in the market for some new gear, no worries, Steeltown Garage also serves up some pretty wicked cappuccinos, espressos and lattes. They have a nice range of hot and cold beverages available, including the Cafe Nieto, named after the 12+1 world championship racer Angelo Nieto. Their beans, like a lot of their products, are locally produced, meaning that when you spend your money there, a good portion of it is going back into the local economy. So even if you don’t own or ride a motorcycle, it’s still worth dropping by to hang out and have a drink.

So where were we? Oh yeah, bike nights… I went down for the first Steeltown Garage bike night of 2018. I was riding solo because all my riding buddies were either sick or working, but I really wanted to check it out, so I headed down alone. Sometimes a nice solo ride is just as enjoyable as riding with your friends and that night was no exception. But even though I enjoy a nice lone cruise, when you go to these types of events, it’s usually a little more enjoyable if you have at least one person with you to chat with about the bikes.

As I rounded the corner from James onto Barton, the line of bikes ran all the way down the street and almost out of view. After finally finding a place to park, I barely got my helmet off before this guy named Kevin came up and started talking to me about my bike. We chatted about our bikes for a few minutes, before another guy came up and joined in the conversation. And that was pretty much how the rest of the night went. Everywhere you turned, everyone was super friendly and talkative. The whole event had a really positive and outgoing vibe to it.

As for the bikes, there was a great mix of rides from every corner of the spectrum. There were sportbikes, Harleys, motards, cafe racers, sporty naked bikes, Nortons, old vintage bikes, new shiny bikes and even a few custom frankenstein looking bikes. As a sportbike guy, a lot of the bike nights I go to end up being 95% Harley dominated with a dash of all the other bikes sprinkled on top. Don’t get me wrong, most Harley riders are great guys who don’t care what you ride, but it was really enjoyable to go to a bike night that had an even mix of bikes in attendance. It was beautiful to see them all there together like one big happy family.

As the evening came to a close, I grabbed the last of my pictures and headed for home, still pumped from the exhilaration of great conversations and warm coffee. The ride home was one of the most enjoyable rides I’d had in a while. The cool night air whistled past me as my bike sliced through the darkness like a hot knife through butter.

There are a lot of great bike nights around that are worth checking out and I’m not saying that the Steeltown Garage bike night is necessarily better than any of them. Maybe I was just in a really good mood that night. But it was a really enjoyable time and one of the more memorable bike nights that I’ve been to in a while.

If you interested in going to the next Steeltown Garage bike night you can check out their website or facebook page for upcoming dates. They don’t hold them every week, so when they do, they usually get a solid turnout. If you enjoyed this article, please take the time to share it on social media. You can also follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more motorcycle adventures in Southern Ontario. Now what are you still reading this for?! Get out there and ride!

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I'm a motorcycle enthusiast, photographer and graphic artist. Lover of anything with two wheels and an engine, especially sportbikes. Gearhead with a sometimes frustrating obsession with carburated technology. Photographer who strives to capture the moment in a single picture. Graphic junkie with a desire to colour up the world of sportbike design and apparel.