Muffled Weekends at the Moto Shop

Photos by Salim Hasbini taken at Vax Moto.

Saturday mornings aren’t for sleeping.

Not for us, anyway. Sleep is for the weak and brunch is for the hungover. You struggle to get up, but your mistress calls you from her home. She’s waiting for you in the shop, along with your best friends, stale coffee, high octane gasoline, and of course, your leather.

The tools are foreign objects at first, every which one a piece of the motorcycle puzzle. They all seem to have a purpose, but yet they don’t quite make sense. You see a bolt. You infer it requires a socket. None of them fit. SAE vs. Metric suddenly means something to you. Moving on to the screws and washers, the breaker bars and torque wrenches – the shop takes shape.

Working in a shop is a moment for personal reflection without the need for introspective thought. You learn a lot about your patience, your temperament, and your style while dealing with an inanimate object that could kill you one day. Will you sit and go the extra mile to check over that bike? Odds are, if you’re patient and understanding, you will.


Working in a shop is a moment for personal reflection without the need for introspective thought. You learn a lot about your patience, your temperament, and your style while dealing with an inanimate object that could kill you one day. Will you sit and go the extra mile to check over that bike? Odds are, if you’re patient and understanding, you will.

The shop builds you up, as you build up your bike. Matching confidence with knowledge, it fosters individuality and independence as a mechanic. This is the gearhead’s boxing gym. These are the places we come to release our stress and be hypnotized.

The tools are foreign objects at first, every which one a piece of the motorcycle puzzle. They all seem to have a purpose, but yet they don’t quite make sense. You see a bolt. You infer it requires a socket. None of them fit. SAE vs. Metric suddenly means something to you. Moving on to the screws and washers, the breaker bars and torque wrenches – the shop takes shape.

Motorcycles give you freedom. This is part is true. They offer you a new perspective when riding and traveling. But what they can’t do is give you the time to enjoy them bit by bit. So you’re stuck in Brooklyn and ride around the neighborhood, maybe make an excuse to head up to Westchester and if you’re feeling really saucy, you’ll hit West Point. But that’s about it. You ride the bike back home, tinker a bit here and there and continue with your 9-5 during the week, holding on to those few months of optimal riding time in NYC.

The shop is your home the rest of the time. Even on days fraught with cold weather, it’s cozy and inviting. You spend time with the machine, learn about the aesthetics of design and acquire the knowledge needed for that day that you might break down on the 66. It’s a pipedream, but one that would need those years of scrupulous planning to execute. You meet new people at the shop. Some, like you, use it as their urban log cabin to relieve their woes.


Because in the end you accept the moments of pain, confusion, and even hatred for the machinery for the camaraderie and quiet words of a chosen few.