Stories of Bike: Two Cities

The Shed goes behind the scenes with Cameron Elkins on his latest episode of Stories of Bike: Two Cities. The first episode of an epic three-parter based around Melbourne’s Kustom Kommune and Sydney’s Rising Sun, Australia’s only community motorbike workshops.


The first time I’d heard of a “communal motorcycle workshop” was via Rising Sun’s crowd funding campaign. It was also the first time I’d heard of Rising Sun.

My first thoughts were, “that’s a very new age and pretty cool thing to do!”. My second thoughts were, “how are they going to make this work?!”.

It wasn’t until after they’d completed the campaign that Heleana and Adrian, founders of the Rising Sun workshop, had approached me about shooting a Stories of Bike episode on them. We met in a café in Newtown, not far from where their pop-up workshop would actually be. I loved their story and their tenacity to get the workshop going. But with my other shoot commitments it was going to be a while before I could get around to them. I also suggested that it would be best to start shooting the episode once they had their own space, so we could show an “end result” of their journey.

So we parked the making of their episode for a while.

I can’t recall if, during our initial chat, Heleana or Adrian had mentioned Kustom Kommune. I’m thinking they must have, as it was all part of their story. Unfortunately, I lost my notes from that conversation, but I’m sure Kustom Kommune was talked about there. Anyhow, the two guys from Melbourne and their newly furnished workshop started popping up in local media. They had found a fantastic location and were very close to opening.

But it wasn’t until Harley Davidson had approached me with an idea of following a custom bike build between Rising Sun and Kustom Kommune that I really got the chance to be involved with both workshops.

To solve the problem that Rising Sun were having in finding a space of their own, Harley Davidson directed them to a short-term lease to set-up a pop-up store. Within a few weeks they were up and running with the workshop and serving some of the yummiest ramen I’ve tasted. And shooting got underway.

Both workshops were under a pretty tight deadline to deliver their custom builds of a Harley Davidson FortyEight Sportster. Both workshops were aiming to deliver their bikes for show at Throttle Roll, Sydney’s best custom bike show. At the time I’d completed interviews in Sydney and Melbourne, the bikes had only just been received and ideas were just starting to ferment.

For me, it was pretty exciting as it was really the first opportunity I’d have to follow not just one, but two custom builds from start to finish. Usually, I’d only hear about a build once it was done and announced to the public. So, here I was at the heart of two workshops, hearing their ideas for the bike and watching them prepare for something pretty special: bringing their members, the reasons for starting their workshops in the first place, together for the first time.

It was going to be quite an epic journey.

Post by Staff Writer


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