Triangle Now Spotlight: Bull City Rumble

courtesy Ton Up N.C.

Kick-start Labor Day weekend at Bull City Rumble, a world-renowned vintage motorcycle and scooter festival in Durham. The two-day multi-venue event draws thousands of enthusiasts from all over the world for music, tech sessions, general merriment, and, the highlight, a juried bike show. There are categories for every type of vintage bike, from Ducatti to Vespa; points are awarded for well-ridden bikes, style, and craftsmanship.

Bull City Rumble was once an Oak City thing: Circa 2005, a modest group of vintage motorcycle riders gathered downtown for a rally in a parking lot. As the Rumble grew, so did Raleigh—the parking lot is now Red Hat Amphitheatre—and the bikes headed to the Brightleaf District of Durham,instead. Today, the Rumble is hosted by Ton Up N.C., a nonprofit group of enthusiasts promoting restoration, riding, and racing vintage combustion engine motorcycles, from post-World War II to the late ’70s. “We are purveyors of obsolete technology,” says club founder Marcus Rogers. The organization’s name is a reference to doing the ton, which means reaching 100 mph. In the ’60s, there was a British youth subculture clash between the slim-suited, scooter-riding “mods” and the leather-clad, motorbiking “rockers;” a rocker might challenge a rival mod to ton up and best his speed. Nowadays, the competition is friendly, but the rumbling spirit remains.  Katherine Poole

See event highlights at right; free;