There is no better way to celebrate a 70-degree day than to ride fins up, gills to the grill on a big motorcycle tarted up like a giant shark just to get a cup of Shenandoah Joe.

“Hey, it’s all about you and the machine and the road,” agreed fellow rider Trey Mitchell, as we sipped some java. “You can feel the humidity. You can smell the water when you ride over a bridge or near a pond. It’s all about the senses, the feel. It really is a passion.”

Mr. Mitchell knows moto-passion, and now he’s helped turned that passion into a program. With festival program director Nancy Damon, he’s created a Virginia Festival of the Book panel called “Driven: Motorcycles, Muscle Cars, and What Drives our Passions.”

The discussion will start at 6 p.m. Friday at the Woolly Mammoth restaurant and club, which features a motor motif, at 1304 E. Market St. The venue previously was known as the Black Market Moto Saloon.

Passionate panel

Mr. Mitchell, founder of the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Owners Club of Central Virginia and Virginia Foundation for the Humanities webmaster, will moderate a panel featuring authors Tom Cotter, Melissa Holbrook Pierson and local resident Earl Swift.

The authors have written books delving into everything from motorcycles to muscle cars and the people who live for and through them.

Mr. Cotter has written about finding moto-history in barns, garages, carports and backyards. Mr. Swift tracked down the history of a classic 1957 Chevy. And Ms. Pierson wrote about finding her perfect motorcycle, a Moto Guzzi, and has delved into the multiple personalities of participants of the Iron Butt Rally, an 11-day, 11,000-mile contest that circumnavigates the country.

Kind of crazy

“All motorcyclists are a little crazy, and Iron Butt riders are a special flavor of crazy,” Mr. Mitchell said, noting that classic car fans and vintage motorcycle owners are flavors all of their own.

Heck, he said, there’s probably even a flavor for people who ride two-wheeled replicas of sea creatures, but it’s likely fishy.

“The panel is about the people who are at the heart of the culture, it’s about their personas and what they are about,” he said. “It’s also about when it crosses the line from a hobby to an obsession and from an obsession into something diagnosable.”


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