One Question Interview P2

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Here’s the second installment of our one question interview feature, if you missed the first, check it out here: One Question Interview P1. Everyone stepped up their game this week; your gonna dig what you read.

As always, I love to hear you guys (yes YOU) answer the question as well, so use the comments section to drop some knowledge/sarcasm/humor/wit/etc…With that said, onto the show. (Make sure to click read more to check out all the answers)

Question: What is the earliest memory you have surrounding motorcycles and how did it influence you?

Trent | Atomic Customs | atomiccustom.com
The earliest memory I have of motorcycles…
Well, I was 4 years old and my Dad took me out the Elks Lodge parking lot in Billings, Montana to teach me to ride my own. Now the Elks parking lot was nice and smooth EXCEPT for the back way into the property, which consisted of a gnarly, rutted out hillclimb! Of course this is where my Dad took me to learn. He took me to the top of the hill and told me to stay there while he walked down that rocky, rutted out, two track road. A few minutes later he yells up, “come on down!” I was scared and yelled back “I cant do it!” He yelled back “come on, you can do it”. Well, after several minutes of this back and forth I finally went for it. I actually made it about half way down this hill, gaining quite a bit of speed in the process before crashing the rest of the way. Years later, Dad and I were talking about those old days and I was giving him shit for traumatizing the fuck out of me (that memory is burned in my brain to this day) He replied “you learned to respect motorcycles didn’t you??”

Yes, I did.


Wayne | Acme Choppers | www.acmechoppers.net
To answer your question, I have two very specific things that stick out in my mind. The first is when I was 3 years old my Dad was rubbing out a fresh black lacquer paint job on his Sportster gas tank. He was sitting at our kitchen table after dinner, and I just faintly remember watching him rub that tank back and forth for what seemed like forever. Growing up in my house it was common after dinner to see myself, my brother and my Dad working on mechanical projects at the kitchen table.

My second memory was from when I was 4. My uncle Nick, who was about 17 years old at the time, had a Kawasaki dirt bike. He was your typical stoner dude and the year was 1978. He looked like a California surfer with his long blonde curly hair and his tan (to this day I don’t think the dude wears a shirt all summer long). He took me for a hell ride!! He put my little ass in the seat in front of him and started ripp’in wheelies up and down the street, and going way too fuckin fast. Anyway, I pissed my pants. No really, I pissed my fuckin pants!!! Not because I was scared, but because I had never felt anything like that before and just lost control. I cried my ass off when he made me get off the bike, all I wanted to do after that was go fast!

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Matty VonHarvardboy
My mom, the 40 year veteran of the catholic school system, thought it was a good idea to strap her 3 yr old into the side car of an Indian 841 - the first memory I have is of holding onto the front edge of the sidecar and of how wet the wind made my eyes.

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Steve “BrewDude” | Brew Cycles | www.brewracingframes.com
I road my first minitrail in England in 1969. I bought a Trail 70 in 1971. I was 14, no license and road that bike more than the newbys of today. I put 6000 miles on it that summer. Dad said it was OK for me to ride on the street but lay low and don’t get caught. By the time I was 17 I had bought and sold 17 motorcycles of my own and had several repairs, portwork jobs and was also doing forward mount suspensions on MX bikes. Dad came home 1 day and said he no longer could get in the garage and told me something had to be done ASAP!! So I rented a warehouse and opened SG Cycleworks in 1974. My Dad was the biggest influence, he is turning 80 a few months from now and still rides on a regular basis.

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Chris “Nardi” | www.chrisbernardi.com
When I was very young my father brought home a 70’s mini bike but it just sat in the garage not running. We never did get it running and I have no idea what happened to it. I remember my mother not wanting me to ride it.

I didn’t really get into motorcycles until college. A lot of my friends in college had sport bikes and were always doing something to them. I grew up in a shop fixing cars, trucks and lawn mowers so I had a pretty good mechanical background. I’d work on their bikes for them and they would let me ride them around. A good friend was in a bad accident and totaled his bike. We went to the race track and bought a smaller bike with a blown up motor and fitted the much larger motor in it. Made our own fiberglass and Kevlar fairings and completely rebuilt the bike.

When graduating college, I didn’t have the money for a new sport bike like I was used to riding. I picked up an old Triumph that was falling apart. I rebuilt the motor and rode it like that for a while. I couldn’t stand riding around on a bike that looked like shit. Over the next winter I took it apart as far as I could, painted and polished it and put it back together. This was my first time working on an old British bike. I had no idea what I was doing or if it was going to work. Surprisingly it fired right up and worked great. I rode that bike about 10,000 miles with very few issues. After that I was hooked.

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Ken | Biker Radio Magazine | www.bikerradiomagazine.com
Two things. Both memories were with my Dad. He was a High School teacher (Auto Body) and every now and again I got to go with him to the school for one reason or another. Well, they had a driving school area out back with traffic lights and signs, all paved and painted and a friend of his was there with a bike. I was offered a ride on the back. I was about 8 and this bike was big. I was terrified by the noise and the power but went for the ride all the same. Fast forward to a few years to when my Dad was living in the county on the top floor of a rented house. There on weekends, I made friends with the kid downstairs. He had a Yamaha 80 and a corn field. I tried it once and I thought back to the noise and power of the first ride and at that very moment I ‘ Got It ‘. Bought my fist bike at 15 and painted the annual sticker on the plate (not too illegal) and rode it for two months before I could get my license. I have had a motorcycle ever since.

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Josh “2 Wheel Nation”
It’s hard to think of any way I couldn’t have been influenced by my exposure to bikes early on. The earliest memories I have of my childhood seem to center around my dad’s 81 KZ1000, a bike I now own thanks to a family friend. I started riding on the back at about 3. He used to strap me to the sissy bar with a belt because I had a habit of falling asleep on long rides. I guess I just wasn’t impressed with the conservative approach he took to riding with a toddler tied to the seat. I forgive him though; the speed seemed to increase with my age, and my ability to hang on. My uncle had a KZ1100 too, and he rode around with this crazy purple flake Buco and parachute goggles on (he still does this to this day at 52). He paid me $5 to wax the side covers when I was 7 or 8 and of course I put all kinds of swirl marks in it. He still reminds me of it every time he takes the bike out.

So bikes were always around when I was a kid, but my dad and his friends weren’t “bikers”. The superbike craze was on then, and that’s what they were heavy into. I distinctly remember my dad taking me over to a buddy of his’ house where he had an impromptu shop set up in the driveway. He was a part-time pro metric wrench and there were bikes lined up in the driveway for their spring tune-up. I just thought this was the coolest thing ever; a bunch of guys hanging out, wrenching, drinking beer, swearing. I remember watching the balance tubes come out and just being amazed as he revved and tweaked those inline fours to screaming perfection. The whole thing just seemed like some kind of crazy magic to me then. That’s the memory that seems to come back to me on bright spring mornings when I roll a bike into the driveway.

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Big Nick
I was probably 11 or 12 and my father and I took his cousin into Jersey City to pick up his Sportster from this dude Mark’s shop. Mark rolled the bike out and asked my cousin one more time “you sure you want this kick only?” The bike had been worked to the balls and had some crazy compression. My cousin laughed it off and went to kicking, the first kick put him right over the bars. He left the bike there and picked it up the next week with an electric start. On a side note, Mark was a nut; he worked in the shipyards with my father and did the bikes on the side, that’s if he wasn’t on a speed kick. The other thing I remember about his shop is there were two glass cabinets, one had a carb in it and the other had a pair of some chick’s underwear in it. Funny shit.

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Zach | Chop Shop | www.chopshopcycles.com
Well, well lets see… I was maybe… I don’t know what my first memory was however what stands out is a family friend had an old pan when I was like 5 or 6. That bike is what started it all.

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Kevin Baas | Baas Metal Craft | www.baasmetalcraft.com/
Motorcycles have been in my family long before I was even born. My father has had a Harley since he was 14; it was an old knucklehead that he hid at his friend’s house so my Grandma wouldn’t find out about it. Well unfortunately one day she spotted him riding it on the road followed him to where he parked it and found out what he had been keeping secret from her. He was forced to sell it and has never sold another bike since. We still bring up that story when we get together for beers and he can only image what that 500.00 bike would have been worth today! So getting back on topic, when I was 1 years old I received my first electric motorcycle and it even had apes, and can still remember riding it around the house pretending to be my dad. I used to burn around teh house non stop only to get off to chrge the battery and then get back on it. I eventually broke it beyond repair but my dad still has it as a memory of my first bike. I graduated from that into a briggs and stratton mini bike when I was 3 and had to have training wheels on it to keep it upright but again I rode the shit out of it every chance I could, that old scoot kept me going until I was in 4th grade, that was when santa Claus brought me my 1979 YZ 80. Again living on a farm, this thing was put through hell and back and brought me many fond memories of failed attempts at wheelies, jumps and crick crossings. I wish i would have had someone video tape some of the crazy shit I did on that bike. So to make a long story short I have been in to motorcycles since diapers and hope my 3 boys take in as much from me as I did from my dad.

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Ryzart | www.ryzart.com
I was actually a pretty late bloomer when it came to bikes. My earliest memory of motorcycles was about 12 years ago. I remember going to a bike show and seeing a bunch of bikers and I thought “Man those guys look real cool.” Tattoos, half naked chicks and bikes that would scare old ladies!!! As a matter of fact, seeing the cool flame paint jobs and airbrushing on the bikes is what started me on kustom painting. But it was only about 6 years ago that I got my first bike. I wasn’t even sure if I’d like it but my father-in-law let me ride his and man I was hooked! Before then I had gone through my mini-truck/lowrider phase. Now there is no turning back. Love everything about bikes: riding them, building/restoring and painting them too.

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Wes | Four Aces Cycle Supply | www.fouracescycle.com
I got a little red Honda Trail 90 toy when I was three years old. I played with it until the wheels fell off. My parents would never let me have a motorbike when I was a kid, although I burned for one. So the minute I moved out I started saving and got a 1975 Harley Davidson Sportster.

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The Infamous Doc Benway
My earliest motorcycle memory is riding around Freeport, Long Island on the back of my father’s bike (CB750) at a young age.
It’s one of those things I can still picture in my mind…his brown leather jacket (it WAS the ’70’s) & white 3/4 helmet. Because I was just a little applehead, at every stop my head would flop forward and bonk him on the back his brain bucket…good times.

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Jason McElroy | www.jasonmcelroy.com/
Back in 3rd grade we’d all run right from school down to the trails next to Chester Park (near Philly) where people had built jumps and berms and bowls in the dirt. There was broken glass everywhere and cast off shopping carts, refrigerators, and old tv sets dotting the landscape. The older kids, and some of the younger ones who had maybe stolen or built an old beater bike, would ride the trails from the minute school let out (for those that went to school) ’til the last drop of light was gone.

We’d hang out and look longingly at them going back and forth all afternoon, trying to beg for a turn. Standing around there you’d here stories bordering on folklore about the older kids in high speed chases through the streets on dirtbikes running from the cops. The first time they gave me a turn I couldn’t figure out how to shift gears and ended up spinning the motor insanely while running down the trail. Gripping the bars with ironfist strength, I was shaking violently with my heart pounding out of my chest with excitement. Holy shit!

I got yelled at pretty good for not upshifting and that was my last ride on someone else’s bike down there. A few years later, when we were in middle school, five or six of us all put in $20 on an old Trail Boss. That kind of money was hard to come by for project kids back then. Most of our parents had threatened to break our necks or even kill us if they ever caught us on a motorcycle. So, we kept it chained up to a tree down at the trails. One day it disappeared, but we had fun while it lasted.

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Scott | Choppertown | www.choppertown.com
My earliest memory surrounding motorcycles that was influential could have been when I was five or six years old. My good friend’s father owned a cool Triumph chopper. He kept it parked in the grass on the side of his house. Every time I went there I would just stare at it and thought how cool it looked. This bike seemed larger than life. Because of the weeds growing around it, it was obvious he didn’t ride it much at that time, so I never had the chance to see it roar to life until this one very exciting evening.

My parents use to have huge Halloween parties and on occasion they would choose a theme. This one year they had settled on a 50’s theme. That evening, while their friends were starting to arrive, I remember sitting around the house when I heard this loud rumbling sound from a distance slowly build and get louder and louder until it felt like my whole house was engulfed in its noise. My first thought was MOTORCYCLES! I ran downstairs at the speed of light and followed the sound until it led me to one of my coolest memories. It was my friend’s father decked out in fifties rebel clothing and sitting on that black Triumph chopper. WOW, I thought….that thing not only runs but it looked even cooler when it was liberated from its little grassy resting spot. I just couldn’t believe I was one of the proud witnesses seeing that Triumph out and about. He rode it over with his brother-in-law who was on another cool scoot. I don’t think I slept a wink that night.

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Duane Ballard | Duane Ballard Custom Leather | www.dbcustomleather.com
Jesus! I can barely remember High School and you want me to come up with an answer for this. Let’s see. The earliest memory I have of motorcycles is of my father allmost biting his tongue off going over a rise in the Az. desert WAY too slow. He had a purple ring around his tongue for years. I doubt it that made me want to get on one though. It was probably all the rides on his street bikes over the years. I blame my fascination with Jap fours on him. The last two bikes he had before he dies were a pair of Yamaha XS1100 specials. One set up for trips and the other stripped with all the go-fast shit he could afford.

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J.B The Wünderkid
A steady rise from “there!” in the distance…the fucking sound man! THEM-seasoned grit- incredible stories unknown to the likes of my father; raping a stone carpet pointed toward the lawless side of the Sonoran.

“This… is pivotal”

8 Responses to “One Question Interview P2”

  1. CJ Hanlon says:

    Man, lets see if i can dig back past the drug induced haze that surrounded my HS days! Seriously though, my first memories were of a neighbors getting a 1960 honda 125 cafe racer (still not sure what model though). I was 3-4 yrs old and he rode me on that thing and all i can remember (aside from the helmet being too big for me and falling down over my face) was the feel of the wind rushing over me and him throwing it low into a corner….i thought we were going to die. But when he returned to the house i couldn’t remove myself from the bike cause i just wanted to go out again but faster…..which he kindly did.

  2. hacksaw says:

    damn, i dont really know! when i was a small kid, i was always cutting out the pics of Caddilac ads in National Geograpic. ya know, the early 60’s cool looking ones. like Perry Mason drove.

    but bikes? fast forward a few years to maybe 1968, and somebody had a BSA441 and a case of Bud off in the woods. i cant say i remember much of that day, but it sure set the pace for a lifetime.

  3. StarWolve says:

    When I was a little kid (4 or 5) my dad had a pair of Honda Enduro bikes. I would sit on those bikes in the garage pretending to ride, until finally one day he gave in and took me for a ride around the house. He hit a rut and ended up crashing in the yard… I was okay, but he speared his collarbone with the clutch lever (they cut the balls off the end of the levers for clearance) He sold the bikes a couple years later, but I rode friend’s bikes until I could afford my own in high school. I finally gave him my enduro when I was in college to trade-in on a new Harley, and a couple months after that I bought my own Harley.

  4. Mark Foran a.k.a. Indian Mark says:

    When I was a kid my aunt and uncle had a cabin in northern Michigan. My cousins got dirt bikes when I was about 11. I got to ride one with my cousin. We’d ride for hours. It was the only time I really ever felt free. Even then school felt like prison.

  5. DJ Mangler says:

    I was about 4 or 5 years old with my Grandma and mom walking through the parking lot of House of Value in Hoquiam Wa and my uncle and his buddy came blasting up to say “Hi” on a old chop.(guessing a pan) My uncle was on the back holding a half case of beer, they were both drinking beer. They had all there work gear, hard hats, caulk boots and rain gear, tied on the tall sissy bar, they had quit there choker setting job to go get drunk and ride around. After that I was hooked.

  6. Your first motorcycle memory | Helmet Hair - Motorcycle Blog says:

    […] When did the motorcycle bug bite you? The idea for this post came from Grail over at Knucklebuster who asked the same question to a bunch of big wigs within the sub (k)ulture of (k)ustom motorcycles. But how about you, what is you first memory? If you enjoyed this post, subscribe today by email or RSS. […]

  7. Bongo Bro says:

    My first bike was a black Honda 50. My Dad “lent” me half the $500 purchase price. After a brief lesson on how to operate the damned thing, I was off and running…until that stop sign at the end of the street. Soon as I let out the clutch, it died. Found neutral…kicked it over…first gear…happened again. Actually happened about 30 times! To the prior owner and my Dad’s credit, they left me alone to kick and sweat and be embarrassed. But eventually I jerked away from that stop sign never to be seen again. I was off and running to my girlfriend’s house to show her how cool I was. That is until the next stop sign. And it all started again. The longer I was there, the larger the crowd of kids on their bicycles grew. After 20-30 restarts, one of the kids finally said something to me. “Hey Mister…ever thought of getting a bicycle?” Little did that kid know how much he motivated me to get that gas/clutch thing down in a hurry. I sure had some choice words for that kid that day, but have been forever grateful. Thanks, kid. Ever thought about getting a motorcycle?

  8. jason says:

    I rember during thanksgiving I must have been maybe 5 years old, my uncle who had a 70’s BMW took me for a ride…I held on for dear life in the cold new england november wind… When I was about ten my family took a vacation to Colorado and we rented a car and were going across the continental divide when three dudes in dusty grey bikes with bed roles strapped above the headlights roared coming the otherway down the mountian…I remember WOW…thats what I want to do…I remember my dad looked back to see the expression on my face…he already knew

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