Mokum* Moto Depot’s Mission: Make Ownership Easy
Recently BikeBrewers’ editor Ron Betist interviewed our buddy Dan (Nubbs) Sugrue about his plans to create a much needed space for motorcyclists and likeminded people.
But before we go into that first a little bit of history from Ron’s perspective.
Birth of the Amsterdam Classic Riders
Back in 2017 I got to know a guy in the States via Facebook. He is a Kiwi (New Zealander) and was living in the States at the time. His wife is a Brazilian diplomat and they had been stationed in various countries across the world. At one point he called me and announced they would be moving from New York to Amsterdam. He asked me to help him get set up. I did and we became good friends.
In the video below you will hear Nubbs and me refer to Jonathan, as our friend is called, a couple of times. It was ‘Captain Kiwi’ who connected me to Nubbs and suggested the three of us launch the Amsterdam Classic Riders community, which would be part of the New York Classic Riders. Now the world’s largest motorcycle community with over 6.000 riders connected in 42 cities worldwide.
Nubbs had also recently moved to Amsterdam and was trying to get to grips with living below sea level and it was rewarding to use my extensive network of riders to set up our community early 2018 and build it together with both my new friends from there.
In 2020 Jonathan moved back to Brazil. The good news is he has now joined BikeBrewers as our correspondent for the Southern Hemisphere. His first contribution will be published soon.
Fast forward 2021
Nubbs explains: “The Amsterdam Classic Riders have grown into one of the largest and most active groups within the worldwide community. Organizing rides lies at the heart of any motorcycle community, but having a drink or other social activities on a regular basis are equally important.
With our ever growing crew we have taken off our helmets at a variety of places around town over the years. Unfortunately there are no places in the city where you can easily meet with larger groups of motorcycles or where you can just drop in and have a coffee with another motorcyclist at any time during the day.”
Continuing: “We have been circling around Amsterdam and were unable to find the place which would cater for our needs. All our members are craving for a place where can just park their bike, have something to eat and drink and meet up with fellow riders.
Having a place big enough to house a little apparel shop or space to store your bike when you are not riding or even work on it and get help of others when things get complicated.”
“So besides the social aspect, what else motivates you to spend so much time and energy on trying to make this happen?” We ask him. Nubbs responds: “Let’s face it, motorcycle ownership in any city is hard and filled with numerous obstacles, which leads to barriers for some and struggles for others. The idea behind Mokum Moto Depot is to eliminate barriers and lessen those struggles.
We want to help make it easier for more people to take part in the joy that comes from owning a motorcycle, the mission being to help make that joy, less stressful for the motorcycle community as a whole.”
According to Nubbs Mokum Moto Depot is to be the social hub for the local motorcycle community, a place where everyone from any walk of life can come and share in the happiness moto culture has to offer. Do you need a place to store your bike? They will have you covered. Do you want to work on your bike but don’t have space to do it or the required tools? They will have you covered. Are you looking for a place where you can hang out and get to know other riders in a judgment-free atmosphere? That’s at the heart of the business plan.
Hunting for a Home
“Even though as a group the Amsterdam Classic Riders adhere to high standard when it comes to respecting the space of other people and try to avoid rubbing our preference for loud and smelly motorcycles into the faces of those who may not be as passionate about these things, the concept is to grow beyond our own community.” explains Nubbs.
“Whatever you do, it is impossible to not create noise if you are accelerating with larger groups of motorcycles. Even though it may be fun to watch occasionally, if bikes ride on and off every day in your neighbourhood it will become less pleasurable in the end.
Going outside the ring in search for a location makes a lot of sense. No residential areas and large spaces created for businesses. On top of that laws in most bigger European cities will ban combustion engines within a decade. And Amsterdam will be at the forefront of that movement.”
“With all those people working from home these days and empty business locations as a consequence, it must me not so hard to find something suitable?” Says Nubbs: “We never thought finding a location would be the most challenging part of getting this concept into gear.
We are itching to open the doors to welcome you, your friends, and your motorcycles we have our vendors lined up, equipment waiting to be delivered, events planned and ready for a date, motorcycles waiting to be stored, and worked on. But we are missing the location to house all of this.
The rapid growth of the Amsterdam Classic Riders mirrors the popularity of motorcycles in this city. Riding motorcycles is constantly increasing in popularity and a large segment of the riders are in the below forty demographic. For a lot of people it is not just an efficient means of transportation but also a lifestyle.”
The hunting season
As Nubbs puts it: “We will continue to look and hunt and we are sure we will find the idea location at one point. It is really what the motorcycle tribe this city needs. We are sure we can create such a cool environment for many to enjoy.
But we need all the help we can get to get this off the ground. Please help us spread the word about Mokum Moto Depot!”
*History of the word ‘Mokum’
Throughout the article and the video you will surely have been wondering where the name comes from.
It is an ancient Hebrew word for town or city (Hebrew: Maqom מָקוֹם).
Through Yiddish it ended up in local slang. This also marks the important Jewish heritage of the Amsterdam population. In the eighteenth century, the Jewish people in the Netherlands called every city “mokum” followed by the first letter of that city, but with a different Yiddish word starting with that letter.
Amsterdam was ‘Mokum Alef’ originally. Only the Mokum part is still left.
The main reason that Amsterdam kept the nickname Mokum was because the Jewish people were more accepted in Amsterdam than in other (European) cities. The lower social classes adopted the typically Jewish expressions and words.
The name Mokum Moto Depot was chosen to honour the Jewish heritage of Amsterdam.
If you think you can offer help to Nubbs, please contact him.