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I MADE A NEW FRIEND

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Had a great time at a local car show last weekend. I made a new friend… and his owner had a killer 1948 Chevy pickup.

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ONE OF MY DREAM CARS

I had the opportunity to meet a nice gentleman a couple weeks ago that owned one of my dream cars. This is a 1967… Big Block 427… 4-speed, C2 Corvette in rare Marlboro Maroon color. This car was ridiculously nice!

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MARATHON MOTOR WORKS

I rode the Sporty down to the old Marathon Motor Works building in Nashville on Sunday. There was a cruise-in going on, plus I just wanted to see the building, so a buddy and I dodged the pop-up rain showers to check it out. What’s Marathon Motor Works you ask? Well… from 1907 to 1914 they produced the Marathon automobile, right here in Nashville. The building sat empty for many years, providing only a few country music video backdrops, but in the past few years it has been refurbished and is thriving with business. In fact, you know Mike Wolfe of American Pickers? His store is located here now. It’s called Antique Archaeology. The last two photos are from Mike’s store. Live music is a pretty cool touch and check out the old Cobra’s MC jacket for sale. You can read more about Marathon here.

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WHOOHOO… CAN’T WAIT!

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This morning I walked out into the garage, just to check on Otis and the Sporty. I do that more often than I should probably admit. I mean, who makes the effort to peek into the garage, just to stare at vehicles they’ve seen thousands of times before? Well… I do, and my guess is that if you have the right vehicle, a lot of you do too.

But… back to my point. It’s cold here in Middle Tennessee, like 21 degrees, but the sun is shining bright and is cascading through the windows…. bouncing off of Otis and painting the entire wall a glowing red. For some reason, it reminded me that the “Dark Months” are nearly over! I coined the phrase “Dark Months” a few years ago in an effort to describe the time between November 1 and March 1 when the days are short, the temperatures are low and good riding days are few and far between. They suck! But we’ve almost survived them again. It won’t be long before Otis and the Sporty start getting out way more often than they have been recently. Whoohoo… can’t wait!

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MORE OF MY ARTWORK

I recently had the honor of creating some more artwork for the good folks over at Both Barrels Promotions. This is a cool event. Vintage automobiles letting it all hang out on the drag strip.

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NO STORY HERE…

There’s no story here… just a pic. Why? Because it’s been so rare this summer that I have actually gotten out on the Sporty that I felt like I should capture today’s ride. I put in about 100 miles on my way down to a neighboring county and back. Got rained on a couple of times but it didn’t matter. I also rode to a local cruise-in last night. People were diggin’ the Sporty and one guy told me, “That bike is just enough. Not crazy custom… just enough to be bad.” Well.. thank you kind sir… I agree!

Hopefully, the heat wave of 2012 will start to let up soon, and I’ll have a little more free time to ride. Gonna be winter before we know it.

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SO… WHAT’S UP WITH THE TRUCK?

I haven’t got a lot done on the ’66 Stepside in the last couple of weeks but that is about to change. This week some major progress will be made… courtesy of a friend who happens to be a mechanical expert! I did tie down some piddly issues this weekend on my own. Got the seat issue taken care of (it now rides properly on its track and is completely secured to the cab floor) and spent a little time polishing the grill. It was a little narly looking. Man, I am pumped to get this baby road-worthy.

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1964-1965 CHEVY C10: WISH I COULD ORDER A NEW ONE TODAY!

If you didn’t know, I am fanatical for 1960-1966 Chevrolet C10 pickup trucks… particularly the ’64 to ’66’s. There is something about that particular body style that just does it for me. It goes all the way back to my childhood. Of course, by the time I could walk and talk, my dad was already instilling in me the “Chevy” way… but when my Uncle Gordon took me for a ride in his new, early 60s, two-tone, red/white C10, it made an impression on a me that still resonates… 40-some years later. I recently found these cool Chevrolet promo prints on-line and had to share them. They are from November 1965 and it looks like the Custom Chrome option with side trim molding and the Custom Comfort interior option were the way to go!  Wish I could order a new one today!

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RATTY OLD DOT HELMET

Last weekend I picked up a ratty old DOT helmet at a swap meet for three dollars. Tonight I transformed it into a one-of-a-kind… well, uh… ratty old helmet! First I pulled the inner shell and removed the disgusting liner. Next, off came the trim ring.

Next, I covered the entire helmet with masking tape to draw my “design” onto.

After carefully cutting my design out with a razor blade… or everywhere I wanted to paint green…

…I next peeled off my tape for all the soon-to-be green areas.

Then I painted, peeled off the leftover tape and re-applied the helmet trim ring.

Then I added a decal to add some pizazz and hide my sloppy work…

…and finally re-lined it with a bandana I had laying around.

Here’s the paint and glue I used. (Glue was for attaching bandana liner.)

Yeah… It’s sloppy and goofy looking but I like it. Total cost… less that $15

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MAYBE ONE DAY SOON I WILL BE RIDING NAKED

As many of you know… I’m in the (slow) process of “bobbing” my Harley-Davidson Sportster and when I complete it, it won’t exactly be the most comfortable motorcycle I’ve ever owned. I’m not talking horrible, but I won’t be taking any weekend trips on it. So… I’ve been thinking. (A dangerous thing!) What would I really want for cruising or commuting to go along with the Sporty Bob? Certainly my interest in large touring H-D bikes is way-gone so they are out. I’d love to have a Sport Tourer such as the Kawasaki Concourse or Honda ST1300 but a daughter in college rules those awesome machines out on price alone. So what’s left? Of course, it would be the Sportbike family. But that’s a problem too. While I would love the performance and reliability of an R6 or CBR600, frankly… when I sold my Sportbike last year I vowed that I would never again own a bike that forced my body into a racing position. (Old age I guess.) But what if I could find that performance, reliability and wow factor in a more traditional riding position? Do those bikes exist? Yes they do… and they are commonly referred to as “Naked” bikes. These stripped down Spotbikes never quite caught on here in the US like they have abroad but there are some out there on the used market and they offer the ergos and performance I would be looking for at fairly affordable prices. Three in particular have caught my eye… The Ducati Monster, Honda 599 and the Suzuki SV. Here’s a look at all three in their 2004 versions.

2004 DUCATI MONSTER 620: Of the three, I like the looks of this one the best. Something about that tubular frame and racing red color seem to be screaming for my attention. Two things bother me about it though. I don’t know if I could ever get used to the clanky sound of a Ducati engine and my research indicates that maintenance on this bike is significantly more costly than on the other two. KBB  Retail: $3570

2004 HONDA 599: Some people feel like this bike looks fat and bulky. I disagree. I like it’s looks and while I have never ridden one, just looking at it, the Honda seems like it would feel more substantial than the others. I also love Honda’s reputation for bullet-proof engines. Performance specs are good as well… the downside to this one? Hmmmm… I’m really not sure there is one. KBB Retail: $3120

2004 SUZUKI SV650: I owned the “S” version (lay-down with fairing) of this bike for a while, and while it performed well, it always felt a little squirrely to me. More than once I was not happy with how it handled when pushing through the curves. Still, I think the non “S” version here might be a good option for what I would want… and it is also the most affordable of the bunch. To bad it doesn’t look better KBB Retail: $2850

Of course, trying to compare these bikes without riding them is somewhat ridiculous but these are my initial impressions. Let me know what you think… and who knows… maybe one day soon I will be riding naked!


PAW PAW SPRINGS

Not far from where I live is a 2-mile stretch of asphalt known as Paw Paw Springs Road. Most people in the area have never heard of it and even fewer would have any reason to travel to it, but I make specific trips to Paw Paw, literally 10 or 12 times a year and have been doing so for almost a decade now. The little winding back-road, filled with hills, over-hanging trees and beautiful scenery has become one of my goto destinations when I need a quick two-wheeled fix. I rode the Paw Paw tonight… and as usual, it was awesome!


THE DARK MONTHS SUCK…

A few years ago I named the time between November 1st and February 28th in Middle Tennessee THE DARK MONTHS. It’s that 4-month period when temperatures are low, sunshine is scarce and good riding days are few and far between. THE DARK MONTHS SUCK… but I do everything I can to beat them by riding as much as possible. In particular I try to make sure I get a New Years Day ride in each year but… this year the forecast is calling for an 80% chance of precipitation… so I had to keep the tradition going a day early. With mild temps in the low 60’s today, it was a perfect day for me and the SV to have a little alone time.. and tell THE DARK MONTHS to kiss off!

 

 


THUNDER ROADS TENNESSEE – MAY 2010

The May issue of Thunder Roads Tennessee is now in the stores. My column this month features a review of the new Harley-Davidson 48 Sportster. You can pick-up a copy of Thunder Roads Tennessee at most motorcycle shops in the state of Tennessee.


IS MOTORCYCLE SAFETY IMPORTANT TO YOU?

The month of May is widely accepted in the United States as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. I’m not sure who started this tradition but many organizations tout it including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), National Association of State Motorcycle Safety Administrators (SMSA), Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) and others.

If you are like me and have been around the motorcycle industry for any length of time, this is probably not news to you. And like me… it is also probably likely that while you have been aware of it, you have never done anything to promote Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.

To support this theory, I conducted a little social network experiment yesterday and posted the following to my Twitter account (www.twitter.com/BikerSwag) throughout the day:

May is recognized as Motorcycle Awareness Month. What plans do you have to help promote it? I’m looking for ideas.

I’m looking for some good ideas on how to promote Motorcycle Awareness Month to the non-riding public… got any?

My response? Nada, Zilch, Zippo. This is not exactly a scientific process but with nearly 700 “motorcycle-interested” people following me, I didn’t get one response from even one person saying they were doing anything to promote motorcycle awareness in May. Now, I know there are those are actively doing so but my guess is that most of us who are the most concerned about motorcycle safety do little to promote it. That’s going to change for me this year. Here are five things I plan to do this week in honor of Motorcycle Safety Month:

1 – Post something on my RANT to encourage my fellow riders to promote motorcycle safety. (You are reading it now) Here are links you should check out.

http://trafficsafetymarketing.gov/motorcycles/ShareTheRoad/index.cfm

http://www.msf-usa.org/downloads/Motorist_Awareness_tips.pdf

2 – Post MSF’s article “Ten Things All Car & Truck Drivers Should Know About Motorcycles” on all of my Social Networking sites and ask all of my friends to read it.

http://www.msf-usa.org/downloads/Motorist_Awareness_tips.pdf

3 – Print out and post MSF’s article “Ten Things All Car & Truck Drivers Should Know About Motorcycles” in the break room of my office building.

http://www.msf-usa.org/downloads/Motorist_Awareness_tips.pdf

4 – Invite a less experienced rider to ride with me next weekend. (I remember when I first started riding how helpful it was to ride with an experienced rider who took their time with me.)

5 – Post a link to the Tennessee Motorcycle Rider Education Program webpage on my website.

Motorcycle safety and particularly awareness by other motorists is something I am very concerned about. What about you? Is this something you care about? Will my 5 actions above make a difference? Please leave your comments below.


I LIKE CARS TOO… AND A SHAMELESS PLUG

Some of you already know that while bikes are a very strong passion of mine, I also love the whole HotRod, RatRod scene… and a lot of my work is in that arena. That’s why occasionally you will see posts here about cars (like this one and this one) and why every once in a while I may post something to showcase some of that work.

Like today… Below is artwork I created for an event coming up in July here in Tennessee. The client is using this for event posters, web banners and both Full-Page and Half-Page print ads in several Motorcycle and Car publications.

SHAMELESS PLUG INSERTED HERE: If you have an event coming up or business that needs artwork,  I’d love to help you out. CLICK HERE for a few other examples of my recent work. And… I offer a heavy discount to anyone who mentions my RANT.


REVIEW: HCI-105 JOCKEY STYLE DOT HELMET

The last thing I want to do is open a big debate about helmet laws. We’ve all been through that a million times and I’m not going to (nor do I want to) change anyone’s mind, regardless of what side you are on. Of course… living in a helmet law state… I really don’t have a choice in the matter anyway but even if I did I would choose to wear one most of the time. Still, I get frustrated with the typical lids that are heavy and hot. I’ve tried novelty helmets over the years… and while they feel great, I have never been comfortable enough wearing one to feel safe so I just don’t wear them at all anymore. Can’t somebody make a DOT approved helmet that has novelty helmet comfort? Well… I may have found one that comes close.

While recently cruising the Jafrum.com website I came across this little beauty here. The HCI-105 is a Jockey Style DOT approved half motorcycle helmet that weighs in at a mere 26 ounces. It features a leather finish, Stainless Steel Dual D-Rings, a Quality Plush Absorbent Liner and comes with a fabric helmet bag. But enough of the factory speak… how does this helmet stack up in the real world?

Well… In my opinion, very well. For starters, it looks great. I’ve always loved the novelty Jockey look and this helmet indeed looks great. In fact… it looks almost too great. I showed it to 2 riding buddies and both would not believe it was DOT approved until I showed them the bold DOT logo on the back and the confirmation on the inside tag. Don’t get me wrong… when you pick this baby up there is no doubt that it is DOT approved… none of the plastic, cheap-o feel of a novelty and the plush liner (about 1.5” thick) certainly makes it feel like a DOT helmet when you put it on… but this comes as close to the comfort level of a novelty helmet as anything I’ve ever seen.

If you are in the market for a new half helmet this Spring and want something light, comfortable and DOT approved… I would recommend you check out the HCI-105. You can grab one at Jafrum for only $44.95 at the time of this review. Here’s a quick link to check it out further:

CLICK HERE TO GOTO JAFRUMS MOTORCYCLE HELMET PAGE

One word of caution… if you are on the fence with size, opt for the larger size. It seems to run a bit small.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this product free from Jafrum.com. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Furthermore, this review indicates my own personal opinion of this product and should be taken as just that. Yours may vary and you should try this product yourself before drawing any conclusions about it.

© 2010 Biker Swag, All Rights Reserved. No part of this review may be reproduced in any format without express written permission.


AN INTERVIEW WITH BRYAN DUNCAN

When I was a freshman in high school a friend invited me to a concert that was taking place at a nearby Chicagoland church. I wasn’t all that thrilled with the idea but I went anyway… mostly because I knew a certain young lady I had my eye on would be there… but, when I walked through the door I was surprised to see that this was not your typical “Jesus Music” event. Most “Christian” concerts in those days consisted of a solo performer with an acoustic guitar playing folk tunes but this was a full-on band with superb musicianship and a dynamite, powerhouse of a singer. The band was Sweet Comfort Band and the singer was Bryan Duncan. I immediately went out and grabbed their first record “Sweet Comfort”, and over the next few years bought everything they did. I became a huge fan of the well-crafted R&B/Rock music and an even bigger fan of the superb vocalist.

It wasn’t until a few years later that I got a glimpse into the personality behind the voice. In 1982, and now living in Kansas City, I once again made my way to a Sweet Comfort Band concert. Before the show I visited the men’s room and as I was standing at a urinal taking care of business someone took their place at the next stall over and proclaimed, “You know, no matter how great you think you are, everybody is equal right here.” I looked over to see Bryan Duncan laughing at himself and realized that not only was he musically talented but he was funny too.

Soon after the band went separate ways and Bryan’s solo career took off with projects that had titles like “Have Yourself Committed”, “Holy Rollin” and “Anonymous Confessions of a Lunatic Friend”. There have been 12 others since then and together they have sold over 1 million copies.

So why am I telling you all of this on a biker blog? Well, recently I rediscovered Bryan thanks to a chance on-line meeting (yes Twitter does have some value) and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Bryan, who still cranks out some of the best R&B flavored music you will hear anywhere, has also become an avid rider. And the wacky personality is still in tact… so much so that Bryan now also adds writer (the book kind) to his resume and has recently had a book published that is a must for any biker called “Hogwash: One Biker’s Sarcastic Observations Of Motorcycle Madness”. With chapter titles like “How A Biker Knows He’s Gettin Old”, “How You Know Yer At A Biker Wedding” and “Things You Don’t Get With That HOG Membership Card”… I think you get the idea that the word sarcastic in the sub-title is well earned.

I recently got to talk to Bryan about a variety of subjects including music, addiction, God and of course Motorcycles and Hogwash.

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SWAG: Tell me about your musical development. Were you one of those kids who was a natural born singer?

BRYAN: I don’t think so, but I was born screamin!

SWAG: I don’t doubt that! Haha… So nature aside, who were your early influences?

BRYAN: Gospel of course, and then James Brown, Motown, and later Steely Dan.

SWAG: That’s interesting… I wouldn’t have thought of the Godfather of Soul as one of your influences but now that I think about it… I can definitely hear it. So when did you know that music would become your career?

BRYAN: I don’t feel like I ever arrived at that notion…

SWAG: Ha… OK, let me rephrase that… when did music become your full-time gig?

BRYAN: It was when I got too busy to keep a day job. Around “Breakin’ the Ice” I think. (Ed Note: Breakin’ The Ice was the second Sweet Comfort Band album that came out in 1979)

SWAG: But enough about music… for now… this is a biker blog right? How were you introduced to motorcycles?

BRYAN: A guy in rehab had one… and I borrowed it after step four!

SWAG: OK, let me stop here and say… a lot of people might be surprised to hear that you were in rehab. You know… how can a guy in one of the most recognizable Christian bands in the world end up in a recovery program?

BRYAN: Dealin’ with religious people will put you in some kind of recovery.

SWAG: Haha… and I’m sure your honesty about your addictions affected your career in Christian music.

BRYAN: I probably lost half my career as a result.

SWAG: I was in the Christian music industry for a few years and I know that some people have a tendency to want you to be perfect and put you on some unrealistic pedestal… but the reality is that being real goes a lot farther.

BRYAN: They say in rehab I have to be honest with God, myself and one other person… someone I trust… but those I’ve shared with are usually more comfortable with me now than they were when they thought I was perfect.

SWAG: I hear you… Where would you say your relationship with God is these days?

BRYAN: Maybe better than ever… but there’s always some distance that I feel.

SWAG: OK… so back to motorcycles… the ride in rehab started your love affair with two wheels but what was your first bike?

BRYAN: I got a used Yamaha V-Star 1100 because it was a great bike for short people… I learned to ride it when I took a safety course. Matilda… my V-Star.

SWAG: Matilda… that’s a nice name for a V-Star! Is Matilda still your ride of choice?

BRYAN: I have an ‘o3 Heritage Softail now… named Jezebel.

SWAG: How often are you able to get out on Jezebel?

BRYAN: I’m a daily rider, mostly because of the gas prices in California!

SWAG: I understand that! Do you consider yourself more of an “around town” kinda guy then or do you like the long hauls as well?

BRYAN: I do both… I ride to almost half of my gigs… anything within a four state area, and sometimes I rent when I’m farther out mostly because of the time factor in getting to and from gigs… unless the gigs up in the Klondike!

SWAG: For me… riding is pretty therapeutic and I find myself thinking a lot when it’s just me on the bike. From a creative standpoint does riding contribute to your writing in any way?

BRYAN: I never thought about that… but I could of saved myself some therapy bills had I bought the bike in the first place!

SWAG: Well… you know what they say… You never see a motorcycle parked outside a shrinks office!

BRYAN: I have written a couple songs ABOUT two wheels. “Wanna Take My Harley to Heaven” was fun and I wrote a song for an ABC show that eventually got rejected… but it was a cool tune called “Some Wishes Come True”. We’ll do something with that one.

SWAG: Anybody who has seen you perform live… or for that matter noticed the titles of some of your solo albums knows that you have a sarcastic and wacky side. Where does that come from?

BRYAN: My dad was a joker… not sarcastic like I’ve become but I think sarcasm is the acknowledgment that I may not have the whole truth on my side… and then again you probably don’t either. And I always hated cut and paste answers anyway.

SWAG: Which brings me to your new book. What inspired you to write Hogwash?

BRYAN: Just ridin’ all the time… observing the weirdness that comes with any culture. Watchin’ people never stops giving you something to comment on!

SWAG: It must be exciting to kind of kick off a new… or I guess I should say… additional career as a writer.

BRYAN: This book was a good place to start writing books… ‘cause it was a short write and a quick read. And I didn’t have to rhyme every other line!

SWAG: I like the “top-ten” feel to Hogwash… because it is easy to read. It also leaves room for a lot more chapters…  Any plans for Hogwash 2?

BRYAN: Yeah… if Hogwash one sells enough to make it worth the time I guess… I’ve already heard stories from other bikers that would have been fun to include.

SWAG: What’s the easiest way for people get a copy of Hogwash?

BRYAN: Go to the website www.hogwashhumor.com

SWAG: You also have another book just released that you sent me a pre-release of. It’s also very entertaining and funny. Tell me about that.

BRYAN: The book that just came out is called “Dear God..Really?” Prayers You Won’t Hear In Church. It’s like a sarcastic devotional. The prayers are mostly thoughts you’ve had about other people and of course your own shortcomings.

SWAG: So… with all these great books coming out… where does that leave music these days?

BRYAN: Music has been the slow cog in the clockworks lately… no one has figured out how to really harness it again… Downloads are killing sales for all but the biggest bands.

SWAG: Still… I know your band Nehosoul is cranking out some great music and your original band Sweet Comfort Band is back in the studio… which will be really cool for us old-time fans. What can we expect musically from you this year?

BRYAN: The music I’m writing lately has a decidedly stronger pop sensibility with heavier guitar work!

SWAG: Ooh… as an old guitarist.. I like the sound of that.

BRYAN: Take Old Sweet Comfort Band and blend it with Maroon Five.

SWAG: Very cool!

BRYAN: I know… I’m kinda’ back to singin’ too high for my own good!

SWAG: Haha… Im sure you can handle it… you still got it bro! And thanks for taking the time to chat!

For more info about Bryan visit www.BryanDuncan.com.

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© 2010 Biker Swag, All Rights Reserved. No part of this article/interview may be reproduced in any format without express written permission.


5 THINGS TO HELP ME THROUGH THE DARK MONTHS

If you have followed this blog for long you know that I have affectionately named the time between November 1st and March 1st (when weather sucks, days are short and riding opportunities are few and far between) The Dark Months. I hate The Dark Months with a passion and struggle each year to survive them… but today I am clinging to five things to help me through this motorcycle-awful time…

1 – It’s a fact. As of today, December 21st, the days physically start getting longer each day. Yes!!! Before you know it, we will have daylight until 8:30PM… well not for a while but we have started our earthly tilt in the right direction.

2 – One word… SUPERCROSS! The most exciting motorcycle racing on the planet starts in less than 3 weeks. Things kick off on January 9th at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA and a preview show will air on CBS this Saturday December 26th at 2:30PM ET. I can’t wait. The weather may be frightful but starting next month my Sundays will be heating up when my man James Stewart goes for the 2010 AMA Supercross Championship!

3 – Three words… Sucker Punch Sally’s. Nothing warms my motorcycle heart more than a tasty old-school specimen and SPS are the kings. My bike may sit in the garage under cover right now but with www.suckerpunchsallys.com I can escape to motorcycle heaven.

4 – NFL Playoffs. Well, it’s not riding but it is pretty exciting… and takes my mind off the crap weather for a few hours.

5 – And finally… I just scored another interview with a major industry player for the blog that I think you will like. I hope to get everything finalized and posted in the next few weeks so be looking for it. CLICK HERE to see my last interview.


AN INTERVIEW WITH PAUL JR

Since 2003 the motorcycle industry as a whole has received a huge visibility boost courtesy of The Discovery Channel’s (and later TLC’s) reality based show American Chopper. The wildly popular show chronicles the day-to-day operations of Orange County Choppers, a custom motorcycle shop located in Newburgh, New York. Of course, unless you have been under a rock for the past few years you already know this… and you also know that besides manufacturing some of the most incredibly detailed theme bikes in the world, part of what has made the show so interesting is the often tumultuous relationship between father and son owners Paul Teutul and Paul Jr. Things have gotten so bad that Paul Jr has now left OCC to launched his own design company Paul Jr. Designs.

I recently caught up with him to discuss his past with OCC, his future with Paul Jr. Designs and a few other things.

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SWAG: I’ve often wondered what you were like growing up. Were you a good kid or one of those troublemakers?

PAUL: I was a pretty good kid. I hated school but loved my friends.

SWAG: What were your interests back then and what was your family life like?

PAUL: I was always very curious about how things worked and I enjoyed sports and building things. I had a pretty dysfunctional upbringing due to the fact that my father was a heavy drinker. Only by the grace of God am I.

SWAG: At what point did you become interested in motorcycles?

PAUL: I didn’t become interested in motorcycles until about 18. I was always around them but not that interested. Growing up we always had quads instead of motorcycles but my first motorcycle was a Yamaha RZ 350… it was a 2 stroke. I eventually sold it, but bought another one just like it and still have it to this day.

SWAG: By the time we were all introduced to you on TV you had already developed a keen eye for design and the ability to make your visions reality. What were some key things in your life that brought you to that place and honed those skills and when did you know you had the gift of design or that it would be your life’s passion?

PAUL: I was exposed to motorcycles at such a young age, but again had little interest. I had worked in the steel business for 10 years prior to television and then had the opportunity to have creative freedom with building motorcycles. Only then did I realize my God given creative abilities and started really exploring what I was capable of.

SWAG: OCC got a huge shot in the arm when Discovery began broadcasting a behind the scenes look at your business. How did the relationship between OCC and Discovery begin? Did they approach you guys or did you take the show idea to them?

PAUL: Discovery was looking for a motorcycle reality show on the east coast. They asked the co-executive producer of Survivor to find the show and he looked online, found us and almost immediately we began filming. We had no intention of having a show and we had no idea the phenomenon it would become.

SWAG: In the past 10 years you have designed some of the most recognized custom bikes in the world. Is there one that you are particularly proud of?

PAUL: Always what comes to mind is the Black Widow. It was the first bike for the series and not only is it one of my favorites; it seems to be a huge fan favorite as well.

SWAG: You experienced a tremendous amount of fame at a relatively young age. How has that affected your personal life?

PAUL: The good part about fame is you gain some financial freedom, become a role model and have the ability to have a positive impact on people around the world. Fortunately for me, I’ve lived in the same town all my life so I think that adds to the normalcy. The down side is that you lose your privacy and anonymity.

SWAG: You have worked with your father for a couple of decades. How does it make you feel to be on your own and calling all the shots now?

PAUL: It feels really good to be on my own, in my own company. I still own a part of OCC, so technically I own two companies. With that said there are a tremendous amount of challenges as well as expenses in starting a company, but I’ve been fortunate enough to have some unbelievable clients.

SWAG: Your volatile relationship with your father has been laid out there for anyone with a TV and a cable connection to see. First, how much of the rough side we see on TV is reality and how much of it is edited for the sake of a good show? And second, do you see a time when you might work with your father again? Would you ever consider going back to OCC?

PAUL: In the past our arguments, though always intense, could seem more frequent then they really were due to the obvious desire in production to use every one of them in the show. I wish I could say the fights were staged, but unfortunately that’s not the case and that’s exactly why I can’t see us working together in the same capacity. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I have been forced out of the situation, in spite of my ownership interest. I think my brother Michael said it best when he said, “It would take an act of God to get us back together.”

SWAG: It appeared that you and Vinnie DiMartino had a close relationship. Just out of curiosity do you have contact with him now?

PAUL: Me and Vinnie were very close. We grew up in the same town and went to school together. I see him on occasion, but our relationship is not what it used to be.

SWAG: By the way… the new website www.pauljrdesings.com looks great. It also looks like a lot of work… it’s very intense!

PAUL: The new website was very time consuming and continues to be time consuming as it is always changing.

SWAG: And speaking of looking great… the new logo is killer! Tell me about the process of developing it.

PAUL: It was important to me for the Paul Jr. Designs logo to be as good, if not better than the OCC logo I created many years ago. The idea behind the logo was to use my new company name, Paul Jr. Designs, and integrate it into the logo itself. I figured the “JR” that makes up the crown would be appropriate because that distinguishes me from my father, even though technically I’m not a junior.  As far as integrating the “JR” into the crown, it took both me and Rachael (Ed Note: Paul’s better half) to figure out how to make that work. I am extremely excited about the new logo and feel like it is diverse enough to be used on a variety of things.

SWAG: The new Coleman 10 Year Anniversary Grill you created is a testament to your skills as an innovative designer and to the fact that those skills are not just limited to motorcycles. How did the Coleman relationship come about and was your approach different with a non-motorcycle project?

PAUL: Being that the idea behind Paul Jr. Designs was to expand my work into new products, the transition from bike to grill was a no brainer. We set out to find a company that had a vision for innovation, and Coleman was that company. With ten years of working with some of the top companies in the world, Coleman is up there with the best of the best and they have been phenomenal to work with. I look forward to future projects with them.

SWAG: For a lot of us, you were and will always be the true talent at OCC. I know you are expanding your horizons with other product and that is way cool… but many would be disappointed if you stay completely away from motorcycles. Will we see a Paul Jr. theme bike one day?

PAUL: First of all thank you. As for custom theme bikes, I can’t wait to build the first PJD blown out custom chopper. I think I will find a nice balance between inventing and innovating products that are both practical and affordable, including building tricked out custom bikes for individuals and corporations. The future is a very exciting thing!

SWAG: Paul, thanks for taking the time to chat. I look forward to seeing what Paul Jr. Designs creates in the future! Any parting words?

PAUL: Thanks so much to the people who have supported me and continue to support me! I hope everyone finds my new company and new direction as exciting as I do.

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© 2009 Biker Swag, All Rights Reserved. No part of this article/interview may be reproduced in any format without express written permission.

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CALIFORNIA HELL RIDERS IN NASHVILLE

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My friends over at Boswell’s Harley-Davidson in Nashville held their annual Music City Bikefest this weekend. I had a great time and one of the highlights was getting to see The California Hell Riders perform their Wall of Death show. I’ve seen them before but it is always a treat to watch them on the worlds shortest racetrack (motordrome verticle walls!) doing various tricks. Here’s a few pics and a short video but check these guys out for yourself when they are in your area. They are a blast to watch!

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www.californiahellriders.com


DINNER DATE

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After about 25 years I still love to date my wife. Tonight we hopped on the Electra Glide and headed out through the country to one of our favorite little “out-of-the-way” towns for dinner. It was a beautiful evening with plenty of glowing sunshine and temps in the lower ’80’s. Of course, I had a camera with me. She hates it but after all these years she has learned to deal with the fact that I AM going to take pictures of her!

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BELL BUCKLE MOTORCYCLE DAYS

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Bell Buckle, Tennessee is a smallish rural town just south of Nashville that hosts an annual Motorcycle Days event each year. Not sure why the call it Day”s” because it is only one day… but regardless, it usually draws a good crowd. This years event was originally scheduled for May 16th but due to rain it was rescheduled for today. That probably explains why attendance was a bit down this year. Still… it was a good time and I’d guesstimate that there were 250 to 300 bikes on hand.

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One highlight of the day was a great performance by Middle Tennessee’s own Big Mike Griffin. Mike is one bad blues guitarist/singer and as usual his performance was superb. For more pics see below.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE MOTORCYCLE DAYS PICTURES

CLICK HERE FOR MORE PICS OF BIG MIKE’S PERFORMANCE


I SOLVE A LOT OF THE WORLD’S PROBLEMS

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Lazy, Sunday afternoons were made for one thing right? No… not naps! For me, they are the perfect time for random rides through the backroads of Middle Tennessee. Nothing is much better in my book than to hit church, grab a bite with loved ones and then hop on two wheels to meander aimlessly for a couple hours of introspective riding. I solve a lot of the worlds problems on these rides… (ha!) and I also rediscover why I love to ride motorcycles!

You know, it’s kind of funny… I keep thinking I may want to sell the SV but then I go ride it and change my mind. What a fun little bike! Above are a couple pics of the SV during a rest stop I made today (ain’t it cool?) and there’s also a pic below of one of the scenic views I got on my ride. Plus… I’ve included a time-lapse of one of my favorite roads to ride. It is 6 miles of Couchville Pike in about 14 seconds.

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I HAD TO DECLINE BOTH… UGHHHHHHH!

I had two invites to ride today. The first group was heading southwest through Franklin, Tennessee and beyond and the second was taking one of my favorite rides north through the backroads of Kentucky. Unfortunately, I was unable to get away until early afternoon… so I had to decline both invitations. Ughhhhhhh!

The riding day was not totally lost though. After tending to my other obligations, I broke out the Electra Glide and clocked a little over 100 miles on my own. It was a great day to ride. Here’s 20 seconds for you: