Spring time and the smell of gasoline and old grease really stirs up the memories for me. Was thinking yesterday about past bikes and the excitement of spring coming. Living up in Rochester, NY for years where’s there only six warm days a year really makes you appreciate the coming warmth. What better way to celebrate than to go for a ride?
These are randoms from the pile/mess that exit on my computer.
Kevin's panhead in from of my apartment in Soho. Around '98.
First bike I ever built. I was still in college. Build it in my back yard. '92
New Year's day ride in the East Village. '99. My old Triumph. You might recognize the red & black bike too.
Times Square about ten years ago. I used to give everyone who visited tours of the city.
11th Avenue outside of Red Rocks. Taken by English Don.
Bear Mountain. Our favorite nearby destination when I lived in NYC. Around '97.
One of my first mentors. Spencerport, NY. Maybe ten years ago.
I picked up this ’62 Triumph pre-unit chopper about three or four years ago. It came to me via the good karma express. If you want the long version (and my friends know that is always my preferred route!), go here: ’62 Triumph Find
I intended to restore it just as it sits and ride it down to Maryland to show the man that built it. I couldn’t wait to see the look on his face after having heard stories about how much fun he had building and riding this bike back in ’67. Sadly, I received an email from his wife on Friday that he had passed. I was very sad to hear the news and bummed that I couldn’t make good on my intentions.
A couple weeks before I’d already decided this would be the next project. After a fiendish rush of shop improvements over the last month, I’m ready.
We tore into it last night. Frank, Bill and Sergei helped me carry it down from the second floor via the stairs. It is heavier than it looks. We then went through the boxes and bins of parts to save everything that was metal and discard all the cracked acorns and shredded paper from the squirrels who’d made this their home for a while. Amazingly, it seems that every single piece to this bike is present. Many will need some serious cleanup and plating. I’m sure some of it will have to get chucked.
I don’t like choppers at all. But this one is just so damned cool I’m gonna have to leave it just like it is. Shitty steering and gallons of Bondo be damned.
After stripping the motor and back wheel from the frame we set about rubbing out the paint with compound, then hand glaze. I think it came out great. Paint stays.
Thanks everyone for your help last night. It was a good time. This bike’s story continues just like it began. . . with a group of friends working together and plenty of cold beer. Chet would be proud.
Casey and I had an amazing riding day Sunday. Rode about 170mi. We left promptly at 8a, bundled up good for the 40F weather. At 70mph on the highway, it was REALLY cold. Easy enough to ignore when you know it’ll hit spring temps and be sunny as hell later in the day. Willpower and mental discipline will serve you well.
We hit a couple off-road sections which were fun. Went around a few “road closed” signs. Stopped for coffee a few times. Then we headed to Oley, PA for the 2011 Turkey Pro National, an annual memorial event for Snuffy Smith. Great turnout and even more cool bikes. The kind you don’t see every day. . . Vincents, Knuckleheads, rare Italian bikes, old Velocettes, etc.
Despite the crash on the way home, it was a great day that I’ll remember for some time.