Archive for May, 2012

“BIKERS WHO LOVE CARS”

May 28, 2012

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Photo by Genghis

MY VETTE “MARY:” I love her as much as I love my bike, Mabel.

HANGMAN AT THE SEEDY X-BAR & GRILL:

“Decided to treat myself to a new toy. 1975 L82 with a new crate motor, not a matching numbers car. I’ll run the numbers and find out what I’ve got. Needs work, all stuff I can do myself. Kinda glad it’s not matching numbers since I won’t be leaving it stock. It will retain the factory look but will be modified mechanically to suit my tastes. First blasphemy will be non-stock paint. Gotta be black. Other than that will look stock until the hood is raised and the heart of the beast is revealed. I’m not a Corvette guy, I’m a guy with a Corvette. And I’m a mechanic by trade. This is gonna be fun. The Bug has bitten. Is there a cure? I hope not.”

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The Biker Subculture has always been precious to me, ever since I took the plunge and plunked down $1,800 for my spanking new XLCH at Harley-Davidson of Manhattan in May of 1968. To me, this opened up a whole new world of excitement, freedom, and yes commitment to my motorcycle, and to the ideal of loving my motorcycle forevermore. It did however, also expose me to a world where its participants—hardcore bikers—held exclusionary views on other forms of motorvatin’ freedom, namely cars. Let me rephrase that, as Mickey Haller would say in court. A world where some bikers would exclude the validity of car love. I can say emphatically, that I am not one of those.

However, bikers are just people, who have committed ’emselves to their Harleys, just like any segment of general society that builds walls around itself, segregating and isolating ideals that exclude extraneous entities. That’s human nature, and nothing to condemn. It is however, unrealistic. That would be like stating that a group of people who love eating food, would love it to the point of exluding the ingestion of liquids. People need food and drink, that is our nature also, to seek what sustains us physically and emtionally.

“I hate cages!”

There will always be brethren in This Thing of Ours, who hate cars. They see ’em as the enemy on the highways and streets that we share with ’em when we’re on our righteous Harleys. That’s understandable from a tactical point of view, since bikes move and maneuver on an almost different dimension, than cars. But to me, that’s the only perspective to see cars differently: As a different sort of mechanical animal that moves differently than our Motorcycle Animals on our roads.

If you’re familiar with sports car racing, an apt analogy would be the difference between two classes of racecars that inhabit races and the racetracks, at the same time: The faster prototype cars in one class and GT cars, which are slower and larger. The prototypes are like our bikes: Quicker and more nimble than the GT cars, that share the same track at the same events at the same event. The two classes of racecars have to be wary of each other because of the speed and closing rate differences, otherwise, there’s no hate of one class by the other.

Hangman came to the party later in life than I did. Most of you know my history, that I loved Vettes before I loved bikes. I did have to sell my beloved other Vette in 1968 when I bought my first Harley, but that wasn’t because I stopped loving cars. It was only because I needed the money from selling the Vette to buy the XLCH. The love for cars and bikes has always been the same for me, like loving two of your children. Parents don’t love one of their children, to the exclusion of the other kid. My passion for cars and bikes has coexisted for the last forty years.

The exhilration when I’m sitting in the cockpit of ’72 Vette Mary, is the same as I feel when I sitting on the saddle of my Harley 74, Mabel. Whether the thrill and love comes from stepping on the accelerator or twisting the throttle, the end result in my soul is the same.

It looks like Hangman’s passion for both his Harley and his Vette, are just beginning, and I’ll tell ya what, Hangman. There is no cure! Later.

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“IT’S A FAMILY BEEF”

May 20, 2012

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Photo by Genghis

ALL HARLEYS: They’re all righteous and superior to Jap Junque.

HACKSAW AT THE SEEDY X-BAR:


“I never cared for jap choppers. But I dont let that control me. Bikes I dont like I just skip and turn the page to find the one I do. What you propose is throwing the baby out with the bath water. There are a few all Harley mags out there. But the Harley driven life style as exemplified by the Horse or Seedy doesnt exist anymore…..The truth is there are more young japbike builders today that share certain traits with bikers from the 70’s than Harley come latelys.”

19PANHEAD50 AT THE SEEDY X-BAR:

“We gotta agree to disagree man, ’cause from where I’m sitting I do see a Harley driven lifestyle existing. Just because you or I or anyone else here at the venerable Seedy X-Bar & Grill ride and love our vintage iron, thats not any reason to write off anyone on an evo or a twin-cam. Just because things may have evolved from what they were 20, 30 and 40 or more years ago, that doesn’t make it invalid.

Your calling guys ‘Harley Come Latelys’ because they are riding and loving their new era Harleys? I gotta say that there ain’t ONE JAP JUNQUE BUILDER OR RIDER out there that shares ANY trait with the bikers of old, and to say that, is like a slap in the face to all those who have gone before. Screw all jap junque, no matter if its a chopper or a stocker.

How can you say THBC exemplifies a Harley driven lifestyle? Seems to me its more of a jap junque lifestyle. And to me thats just another slap in the face to all of us who have kept the faith with our old iron AND all the guys on the newer Harleys. And ya don’t gotta bring up how great Hammer and E-Man are, this is not an attack on those guys.

You don’t think all those guys in the past that were riding their flatheads thought the OHV engine configuration of the knuckle was great, do you? Hell even today ya got guys on flathead Harleys and Indians that swear they are superior to the OHV design.

Thats debatable, but its a FAMILY beef to be talked about between FAMILY. There ain’t no way in hell that these recycled bomb casings from WW2 have anything in common with any Harley of any era. Nor the riders for that matter. Nobody can play Winston Smith and change history by burning it, or on some ill thought out whim. If ANY of the bike magazines out there had the eggs ta drop the jap junque and feature all Harley all the time the audience would be there. “

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I so thoroughly agree with 19PANHEAD50, that I could’ve left this article off at the end of his remarks, and this article would’ve been complete. His sentiments were so true though, on this emotional issue, I find myself het up, and just have to add my two cents.

Emotional? Yes, because this is 80 years of Biker Subculture history that we’re rappin’ about here, and that amount of Harley-Davidson History does not go gentle into that good night. No, it hangs around, obstinate and ornery, rearing its beautiful head to defend itself. Since the Biker Subculture is an amorphous entity, it’s up to us bikers to defend her honor. That, I’m happy to do.

“It’s a family beef.”

How true that is. Every time I pass another Harley rider on the mean streets of NYC, I make a mental note to myself: “There goes another brother from my family.” Every time I see a parked Harley, of any era, I think to myself: There’s another of Mabel’s (my ’71 Shovelhead) sisters.” I do mean Harleys of any era.

I thought this about the bike you see picture above, owned by a cop. I thought that of a later year, electric start-only Ironhead in a gray single-down tube rigid I’ve been seeing lately, on Avenue A in Alphabet City of the Lower East side. I think this of a guy I see almost every day, on a late model Sportster, who rides his bike with authority and pride.

The point is, all Harleys are sisters under the skin, and all the riders of these Harleys, are brothers under the skin. We are all part of This Thing of Ours, called the Biker Subculture.

It’s a family beef, man!

Yeah, baby! That’s right. I may not favor any of Mabel’s sisters who were born after 1983, but that doesn’t mean that those Harley sisters aren’t part of the family, or that their owners and Human Partners in Going The Distance in This Thing of Ours, aren’t brothers. We’re all brothers in the Biker Subculture, because we’re bonded by our love for the Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

From the 1930s to the present time, this has been true. Sure, some Thanksgiving family dinners may be uncomfortable, and include some bickering over personal tastes in H-Ds, but at least we’re at the same family table.

That can’t be said of Jap Junque and their owners, no matter how much revision of history is attempted. If a magazine wants to include Jap Junque at their family table, that’s fine. Just don’t try to represent that family table, as the Biker Subculture’s table. Let’s separate the wheat from the chaff, man.

As far as biker magazines showing and telling the truth about how Harley-Davidsons are the Veritable Backbone of the Biker Subculture not existing, or not surviving on the magazine racks of America, how about “Street Chopper?”

I just thumbed through an issue of Street Chopper, whose marque content was 99% Harley-Davidson, and I didn’t see a single Japanese motorcycle within its pages. Street Chopper seems to have found us as an audience, and it seems to be making a survivable profit. It doesn’t have to pander to Jap Junque to make it in the magazine business. I’m going to make it my business from now on, to buy Street Chopper on a regular basis. Later.