Howdy! Grab a chair an’ a beer! Well, I finally did something I never thought I’d do. I sold my ol’ Shovelhead… It’s been a long time, and a lot of roads since I got the original basket case. It had been sitting in some guy’s shed for years, an’ everything that wasn’t covered with rust was corroded or rotted off. Initially, I just took an SOS pad to what I could, stuck a set of rings in it, plastered bullet hole decals over the dents, and rode the crap out of it for a couple of years. I tore it down in the winter of 2002, and started to go through it with the intention of building it for my wife, and buying myself a new one. I’d just finished the engine and gotten the frame back from powdercoat when I got a call early one morning that everyone dreads, but hopes they will never get. The police chaplain called to tell me there’d been an accident, and my wife didn’t survive. After 33 years of marriage, I was suddenly and terribly alone. It was a devastating blow, and to keep my sanity, I buried myself in the Shovelhead project, devoting all my time and energy into every detail. After four months, it was ready for the road, and ride it I did…
In 2004, I’d been dragged back from the emotional abyss by my little Reggie, and we were married in July. By that time, the ol’ Shovel was getting kinda tired and showed the miles I’d put on her, so in 2009, I pulled her down and went through her again, adding more dress-up goodies and a five speed transmission, and when she was done, I entered her in Arlen Ness’s show in San Mateo, where she won a first place in the Shovelhead class.
By 2011, she’d been collecting dust as I rode my Softail everywhere, so I decided to tear her down again, and build the chopper I’d wanted since I was a kid. I went with a rigid, (since all real choppers are rigids), a springer front end, and many more updates, and I made sure that everything flowed properly. Nothing bugs me worse than running my eyes over a bike and having them stop at something that just doesn’t belong, like 18-inch apes on an 883 Sportster, for example. I even found billet mirror stems that match the angles of the short Z bars I chose.
When it was done, I entered it in the 2012 Easyriders show in Sacramento, where I won a second place in the Judged Old School Chopper class, and some kind words from “Clean Dean” Shawler of Easyriders fame. From there, she went into the pages of Easyriders magazine, and a feature in IronWorks magazine as well. Another four years went by, and I hadn’t put many miles on her. One thing led to another, and I found myself with more projects than time, so I put her up for adoption on eBay. I began to regret my decision with the very first e-mail from a prospective buyer. He wanted to know how wide a front tire he could run, how tall he could get the bars without changing cables, and several more questions about how he could purposely f**k up a beautiful motorcycle. I’d thought about pulling her off the market, when I got a call from a guy named Pete, in Las Vegas, who said he’d fallen in love with her, and sent the required deposit to stop the auction. I spent the next day detailing her to perfection for the last time, and when he drove out to pick her up the following week, he spent at least a half hour looking her over, and commenting on the things he liked the best, assuring me that he had no changes planned for her. It was sad to see her riding away in his truck, but I knew she was going to a great home. He even sent me a text a couple of weeks later to tell me that she’s a blast to ride, and he likes her better than his bagger. It makes me feel good that after putting heart and soul into steel and rubber, that someone else appreciates your creation.
Meanwhile, I’ve thinned the herd of projects, and hopefully, I’ll have time this winter to upgrade Reggie’s trike, since the world-famous pink and black paint is almost 10 years old, and getting really road weary. I want to put a six-speed transmission in it for better highway performance, and an 80-spoke sixteen on the front for looks. I also want to go through my Softail, with new fenders, stretched tanks, and new paint. It’s been candy apple red and black for five or six years now, and it’s time for a change. And yeah, I have another chopper project that I have about 90 percent of the parts for. When I finally get started on that one, I’ll keep ya posted on progress. You know us gearheads; we’ve got to be busy building something beautiful from boxes of rusty swap meet parts, or we’re not happy, and bein’ happy is what life’s all about! Speakin’ of happy, y’all have a happy Thanksgiving, ya hear?