Tuesday, April 16, 2013

evil *

My cousin Jimmy had the coolest toy I ever saw. It was 1976, and the thing was already a few years old, so a pipe was missing and a peg was broken, and even though Evel's balance was now a little off, it was still the best thing ever!

My old man took me for my first bike ride on his '69 CL350 around the same time. I was on the tank, holding the crossbar and off we went from Pacifica to Half Moon Bay on Highway 1 -across Devil's Slide! That was it. Motorcycles from that day on. Add Evel Kneivel to the mix (nicknamed "Evil" because of his constant antagonizing of the po-po. Later changed to "Evel"when the stunt career started) and it was time to learn how to ride a bike, of my own.

As much as I wanted one of Evel's XR750s or one the Bonnevilles or that cool ass Laverda, I was still stoked to get that black and yellow Huffy. "Let's jump some stuff!"

Apparently Evel lost one of his first jobs as a miner because of trying wheelies with a huge Earth Mover. Rad.

The City. 1969.
Color Me Lucky.
Laverda 750
XR 750
"Oh fuuu..."
Later Fonz.
Not affiliated, but...

Monday, April 8, 2013


 It's always a pleasure to meet one of those guys. A guy whos' been around long enough to have ridin' these things before they used the word "chopper." A guy who came back from war and still wanted that "freedom" when he got home. He bought brand new bikes in the 50's, 60's and 70's and proceeded to make modifications without the help of catalogs or computers. A guy that would give the camo off his back to a "kid" he just met, because he knows good friends are worth more than their weight in gold. "Money don't mean shit to me because a loyal friend is priceless." His words.

 I just happened to meet Roger this weekend on his 72nd birthday, but I feel like the one given the gifts. His stories just kept getting better, and as soon as his Cranberry/Tequilas started to impose their will, the stories became a detailed timeline that would've embarrassed a few club members I know, AND he had some photographic proof- of which I'm "Not allowed to put on that thar internet thingy 'cause I don't have enough bail money!" His words.

 Since the prehistoric age, elderly members of society have often been considered the most knowledgeable. Wisdom comes with time and endearing moments- inconceivable to most youths.

Support your local grey beard... they may even share the, "Secret stuff."

 Bought the Triumph and 'Vette new in '62.

 Traded the Triumph for the '65 XLCH. He still has it, too.

 Flathead he built in the mid 70's. Still has the tanks.

His '65 XLCH he's had since new.

 A '42 XA that he "civilianized." How many of these have you ever seen?

 Late 60's HD scooter. SCOOTER!

 A veteran, Rog had the best gun collection... until a wild fire made their way with them in the 90's.

 Rog built this anvil as a "graduation test" from Military Engineering School in the 50's. It's made entirely by hand. Look at the perfect angles.

 Says it all.

Rog used this oil in all his bikes. "If it was good enough for air-cooled planes, it was good enough for air-cooled bikes."

Friday, April 5, 2013


Stopped by Perri Inc. on Melrose and saw this street art rendering of
The Fonz.
I guess he was the first "cool guy" I ever saw on TV- I was born in the early 70's- what did I know? Still have my old lunch box, too.
The first two seasons of Happy Days were definitely the best. The Fonz still wore the wind-breaker jacket like his idol, James Dean wore. Apparently the execs at ABC thought the Fonzie character too hardcore, so they added the leather jacket instead- really?!
The first two seasons were shot with one camera, on location and Henry Winkler had to ride "Fonzie's" '49 Triumph Trophy TR5 a lot. I say had, because Winkler wasn't a bike rider. The opening credits scene where The Fonz rides up the Cunningham driveway- was cut before he actually rode all the way up the driveway and crashed into the retaining wall on the other side. Who has THAT footage?!
The bike itself was put together by the one and only Bud Ekins -McQueen's friend and stuntman on The Great Escape. Ekins kept it until '95 or so, then sold it to a friend who didn't realize who's bike he just bought (Ekins never told him- until Cycle World tracked him down in 2000). I believe it went to auction a couple of years ago and sold for over a hundred grand. Heyyy!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Battle is the most magnificent competition in which a human can indulge.
It brings out all that is best; it removes all that is base.
All men are afraid in battle. The coward is the one that let's his fear over come his sense of duty.
Duty is the essence of manhood.

George S. Patton

I believe competition is good for business. Monopolies serve no one but the greedy. I always thought the Factory needed more American made competition to become more grounded when it came to their product and service attitude. That's why I had hoped the "Gilroy Indian" would take off and cement itself as the nation's other top motorcycle manufacturer. Unfortunately, The Indian Motorcycle Corporation went into bankruptcy and ceased all production operations in Gilroy in September of 2003.

In 2006, a private, London-based equity firm announced it's newly formed IMC and started producing the Indian Chief model in a North Carolina factory. Bummer was, they decided to sell the bikes with a focus on exclusivity rather than performance, and most went to the UK. WTF!?

In stepped Polaris Industries in 2011, parent company of Victory motorcycles, and announced it's intention to acquire IMC. They moved the operation to Spirit Lake, Iowa and this past March, they introduced the the new 111 cubic-inch "Thunder Stroke" motor at Daytona Bike Week. I like the vintage look of the motor, much more than it's S&S version in the 99-03 Indians. The new engine specs are pretty impressive... so far.

Personally, I hope the company works itself out this time. A profitable IMC can hopefully re-forge the iconic brand into a worthy opponent for America's other "iconic" brand.

The old:

 The new: