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Black Sunday Vintage Motorcycle Swap Is Like Black Friday's Cool Older Brother

Nicky Bowe got his first motorcycle at the age of 14 in Waterford, Ireland. “It was completely illegal,” he recalls in his Irish brogue, “but I still had one.” Racing bikes was popular where he grew up. Specifically, it was the Waterford Freewheelers that got him into motorcycles.

“Seeing them ride around as a kid was amazing — thirty bikers roaring past you. My mother said I would go crazy when I saw them. It’s something that gets in your blood that you don’t have to snort,” he laughs.

Bowe has probably served you a drink at his current job at Fritz and Franz Bierhaus in Coral Gables or his former outpost, Churchill’s Pub, where he was known for his shaved head, colorful tattoos, bawdy sense of humor, and Irish accent. He also owns Donkey Barn bike shop, and with help from fellow shop owner, Metal 305’s Alex McKenzie, hosts a massive vintage motorcycle swap meet each year, Black Sunday.

Five years ago, when the two met, he says, “The whole cafe racer vintage motorcycle scene was taking off in Miami. And it’s getting stronger.” It’s a scene that the two foreigners (McKenzie's Italian) wanted to foster.

This is the fourth year they’ll be putting on Black Sunday. The first two were at Churchill’s and the last one was at Will Call. But Tony and Ziggy (one name each — like Prince and Cher) of Live Nation, who also collect antique bikes, offered up the Fillmore Miami Beach’s loading dock for the event. PBR got on board and Bowe says, “made it happen.” Once Ms. Cheezious signed on, he said to himself, “We’re on to something.” Also confirmed as sponsors are Jameson and Absolut, which will have the crowds raring to go all day long with no shortage of bloody Marys. In the past, Black Sunday had 25 to 30 vendors, but for 2015, it’ll have more than 50 from all over Florida. 
When we met up with Bowe, he’d just come from getting maintenance done on his 1971 Norton 850 Commando by John Long of Long’s Motorcycle Sales and Services. He says with admiration, “John Long knows British motorcycles better than anyone in Florida.” Bowe tends to focus more on Japanese bikes.

Working together is a huge part of the bike community in Miami. He says ten shops opened in the past year and it's a tight-knit community full of collaboration. “Everybody has something to bring to the table, and it’s not about money.”

Black Sunday is a way the motorcycle community can meet up and buy parts off each other, “not rip each other off, and show off our classic bikes for bragging rights,” he says. Other bike nights in town include Thursdays at Seven Seas on Red Road. Bowe mentions that the bikers come by Fritz and Franz afterward for giant pretzels.

Bowe was well known for his place behind the bar and on the stage at Churchill’s, but he admits that he couldn’t be happier at his new job. When the former owner of Churchill’s Dave Daniels sold the bar, Bowe says, “I thought I was gonna go through a six-month depression.” But Fritz and Franz’s owner, Harold Neuweg, is a longtime friend of Daniels. Now, Bowe says he wouldn’t leave unless it was to open his own bar. They’ve even named Daniels as Fritz and Franz’s Ambassador of Soccer.

The Fillmore is a huge step up for the event and Bowe says the venue has everything they would ever need for a successful day easily on hand — including a huge parking lot. There’s no charge, and the proceeds from the alcohol will go to support Cynthia of the Litas of South Florida, who recently lost a leg in a motorcycle accident, and a fund for the child of Chris Graham, whose story you can read about here.

Also, expect an exciting surprise live musical guest. 

Black Sunday. 10 a.m. Sunday, November 29, at the Fillmore Miami Beach, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; 305-673-7300; Admission is free. 
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Liz Tracy has written for publications such as the New York Times, the Atlantic, Refinery29, W, Glamour, and, of course, Miami New Times. She was New Times Broward-Palm Beach's music editor for three years. Now she plays one mean monster with her 2-year-old son and obsessively watches British mysteries.
Contact: Liz Tracy