Burnaby is about to lose the coolest little club it’s ever known.
In a barn in an industrial park three blocks from the Brentwood SkyTrain station is a motorcycle repair shop that – for a short time – doubled as a gig-slash-party space.
Welcome to True Grit Moto
Barn 5A is home to True Grit Moto, a motorcycle repair business owned by Richelle Trelenberg.
It’s a biker’s paradise. The smell of grease and oil floats around like perfume. Trelenberg calls it “intoxicating”.
The space resembles the cozy home of an eclectic collector.
In a corner of the barn, Trelenberg hosted a vintage flea market. In another, a barber chair sits among a dozen motorbikes lined up in storage.
The other half of the barn is a workshop dedicated to the repair of bicycles.
Above is a high wooden loft Trelenberg built with another person in eight days.
At the top of the loft is a bar and lounge, capped at the end by a small performance stage and sound installation.
It’s like a 1970s basement, filled with sienna orange upholstered sofas and beige rugs.
Finished with her day’s bike repairs, Trelenberg triumphantly announces, “And that’s changing the brakes.”
She said the space started out as a motorcycle shop with workshops, but evolved to include the vintage shop, music shows and events.
“It’s like an open community space where everyone is welcome. It’s not just the man’s shop anymore. said Trelenberg.
Trelenberg described space as the person in high school who befriends the kid no one wants to date.
“A person opens this moment, and they just like, ‘Come in and chat.’ This space is this person.
It’s True Grit Moto by day.
In the evening, the space becomes barn n°5.
Barn #5: Nowhere Like It in Burnaby
The name is partly inspired by the No. 5 Orange strip club in Vancouver.
In the evening, Trelenberg’s events manager, Leesa Weighill, transforms the space into a ravers’ delight one day or a country cowgirl’s dream the next.
Trelenberg said Weighill presented him with a six-page business plan on how to organize small events in the barn.
In May, the events began: open mics, comedy shows, all-female electronic DJ parties and silent discos.
“She just started classifying people here, like singer-songwriters, magicians, comedians, dancers, flamethrower,” Trelenberg said.
Weighill (also a musician) described the barn as rustic grunge with vintage motorcycle vibes. The bikes give the space a new take on the warehouse party space.
“I think it’s the only place in Burnaby that’s like that,” Weighill said.
On a Wednesday night in early June, a dozen people gathered at 7:30 p.m. to show up for an evening of electronic music with up-and-coming local DJs like ZEYDA and CHɅCHØU.
It was hard to believe, with the deep house beats and laser light show, that this was set in the middle of suburban Burnaby.
The future of True Grit
Trelenberg has been in the space since July 2021 – but she is closing the barn as a repair shop on July 1.
Her business license allows her to be a mobile mechanic, but not to work on bikes in one location.
Barn #5 will see Pride events in July, but they will be on a smaller scale. Trelenberg is out for good on July 31.
The vintage shop is already gone, and it’s slowly cleaning out the attic.
As Trelenberg cycles out of the industrial park on her 1991 Honda Gold Wing (she named it “Goldie Honkers”), she prepares to use her fully mobile repair skills.
She bought an old postal van and turned it into a mechanic’s shop.
She wants to hold events and workshops all over the Lower Mainland, from Chilliwack to Pemberton and everywhere in between.
On Saturday, June 18, Barn #5 is hosting a queer party, “A Daytime Thing,” with DJs, dancing, and drinks. The party is gay-centric and inclusive of all identities.
A Daytime Thing: A Queer Party at True Grit Moto
When: Saturday June 18, from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Where: True Grit Motorcycle, Barn 5A (2350 Beta Ave.)
Cost: $11.62, tickets available online, $15 cash at the door (ATM onsite)