Two numskull bikers who met on a motorcycle cruise in Malaysia discovered that they had more in common than their professional careers. Delving into the bolts and nuts of machines, exploring the largely unknown paths on two wheels, partying like a rockstar as well as innating the brotherhood of bikers; a lifestyle that glorifies the motorcycle to the extreme, as it represents a form of freedom and detachment to the world that is powerful, simplistic and inherently confrontational. A sub-culture based upon the camaraderie of shared activities. So be it, the almost fictional occurrences captivated them into a vision of actualizing their own bikers' den just to begin with.
Armed with the battle plan, the bikers' den needed a name. It did not take long to come up with Handlebar. After all, it is a key component to control the bike suchlike how we steer our life, and that seemed to fit. Handlebar's logo was born over a few round of beers in mid-summer 1999, in the living room of their brother's house in Tokyo. An ape hanger in a diamond shaped patch. The ape hanger expresses free spirit and the diamond shape indicates a warning road sign. It is an icon that symbolizes celebration of freedom in every day. It made sense in their own terms. Months later, shit happened. Rebels without a clue, they recklessly kick started the first bikers' bar in Singapore on Dec 3 1999. Bikers' god, bless them.
Too much of our culture today has been commercialized, sanitized and watered down. Jesse and I (the two numskull bikers) imposed the raw approach without pretence for our new venture from day one; forgetting about happy hours, VIP cards, fancy promotions of all kinds and so forth. Occasionally we play sucky music, serve warm beer with overcooked steak, and have no real concept of reality or time, while unleashing our conviction (some are too obnoxious to mention) are examples of what we remained infamous for. Some segments of society look at us like a specimen under a microscope and determine that we are the misfits from Jupiter. Handlebar became a bad role model. In the midst of all hell breaking loose, we earnestly wanted to establish our own stamp for Handlebar to gain acceptance in our demanding society. Of course, this was easier said than done. Our somewhat unconventional iconoclastic ways was put on trial.
Success is an elusive thing. The reality of our adventure was just the opposite. Slowness of the place took the wind out of our sails. Further disheartening situations punching in at the oddest times have sucked us into a choking black haze. Without an instruction manual, we trusted our intuition while we watched our bank balance go below zero - it was a gloomy challenge. We were crushed yet simultaneously liberated, although our setback was not worthy to be compared with the worst possible disaster that could befall planet Earth. In retrospect, if we had not been so hard-headed and persevered, we would have shut our doors on a few occasions. But there always seemed to be a spark of hope, so we stuck it out.
Fifteen glorious years passed. A good amount of mistakes we have made but still managed to hang in long enough to reach a valley of our visions. It has been a wild ride. We wish we could say every move we made was carefully planned and executed. In actual fact, if the ideas sounded intriguing, we would just do it. The lessons came later. It is probably not the best way to build a business, but it has definitely been Handelbar's way. If you do not roll the dice, you will never get a seven. Mercifully, we have been supported and encouraged by many people during these years. A cross section from bikers, larger-than-life characters to very down-to-earth folks along with some authentic losers around the world have dramatically shaped Handlebar. All these contributed in some ways toward piecing together a cohesive as well as wide spectrum of Handlebar. Today, it is hard to express what Handlebar is or will mean to you. It has a certain mystique and enigma only experienced by walking into it yourself. A modest little magic that radiates from the bikers' wonderland. We have been gambling for years. Detesting the tough, appreciating the good and will continue to do so with a couple of crazy ideas in our heads. At large... while keeping on in pursuit of the lifestyle that we think we are in love with. We look forward to the future, wherever the road we are on may take us.
Did not mean to hurt your eyes or bend our ears with a long introduction. It is not our style. We would rather have barbecue or sex. Having said this, there is a constant rise of new patrons that have been inquisitive about Handlebar's history. We are also aware of a big circle of like-minded individuals out there that deserve to know Handlebar. We ain't saying we blazed the trail, but we sure as hell contributed our part to the bikers community and offered a genuine alternative to the rocket-speed city life. Before we split, just one more thing - anyone can start a bikers bar, but Handlebar's secret weapon comes from inside. A subconscious blend of a dreamy mind and a cup of untamed heart topped with some goddamn soul. That is the way it was and will be.
We would like to express our gratitude to all who continue to endure the crudeness, lewdness and general chaos of our timeless creation. We are grateful to everyone that helps us continue to be who we are. Keep your seat soft, ride high and live free.