Writer's Ramblings

Writer's Ramblings

Don Gray and the Metric Revolution

November 30, 2005
I’ve got a little surprise for all of our readers this month, and especially you metric riders. A new biker build-off series is coming our way, and Cycle Connections has a little exclusive for you. The series is entitled Metric Revolution and is slated to begin this winter. The show pits 24 metric builders against each other in competition. The producers chose 10 cruiser builders, 10 sport bike builders, and 4 rookie builders to round out their list of competitors. The show intends to prove that a custom bike does not have to be an American V-Twin to be a…

Diary of an Off-Season Motorcyclist

November 30, 2005
Dear Motorcycle Diary,Hey! It’s me, Chuck. It’s that time of year again when I get these quirky feelings in the pit of my stomach. I know what you’re thinking, and, no, it’s not because I just finished eating too much food during our Thanksgiving Day meal. It’s because the days for riding are getting few and far between, and my wife just doesn’t understand. You are the only one I can talk to and express my feelings. I know you won’t talk back. I know you will understand. I hate winter. I hate the cold. I hate the snow. I…

Reader’s Choice Best of Kansas City & Birmingham 2005 Opinion Poll

November 30, 2005
If you live or visit the Kansas City, Kansas/Missouri or Birmingham, Alabama area it’s time once again to cast your vote for your favorite motorcycle-related businesses, clubs and charity events of 2005. As we continue to expand we will add Reader’s Choice opinion polls in all major metro areas. With that said, you have until midnight on Monday, December 26 to cast your vote. After that the little Cycle Connections elves will begin tallying up the votes so we can announce the winners in our January 2006 issue. So without further ado click the appropriate opinion poll button below to…

David Mann Remembered - A Visit With Jacquie Mann

October 31, 2005
On Saturday afternoon, September 24, while working our booth at Hawg Wyld Cycle’s 5th Annual Birthday Bash and Block Party I received a call from Helen Garzee, a good friend of ours who had some exciting news she thought we might find interesting. Apparently, the Eastsider Bar & Grill located at 7321 E Truman Road in Kansas City, Missouri was hosting an event called the 1st Annual David Mann Memorial Bike Night. According to Helen, Jacquie Mann was supposed to make an appearance later that evening and several people were planning to ride there to visit with her and get…

Evel Knievel Visits Worth Harley-Davidson North

September 30, 2005
Sometimes you have to take the bad with the good. The bad would be hurricane Katrina and all the havoc and devastation she created. The good would be the folks at Worth Harley-Davidson North organizing something extra special to benefit the hurricane victims. The icing on the cake for me was meeting a man who was not only my childhood hero but also a national icon. I am of course speaking of the one and only Evel Knievel. Worth Harley-Davidson North brought Evel to town to meet fans and sign autographs on Friday and Saturday, September 9-10, and, as a…

A World Traveler Visits Sturgis-Marek Michel

August 31, 2005
Marek Michel from Houston, Texas, attended his first Sturgis Rally this year. When I met him on Sturgis’ Main Street he told me he didn’t know there were that many motorcycles in the world. Like most first-time Sturgis visitors, he was in awe. But among those thousands of motorcyclists, there were few, if any, who have duplicated Michel’s accomplishment of having completed two motorcycle world-tours.In 1974 when Michel was a student in his native Poland, he embarked on a journey that took him through Germany, France, Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Syria, Turkey, Libya, Egypt, Lebanon, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Australia, and…

Looking Through a Window of Time – A Visit with Russell Stuckey from Stuckey & Son Harley-Davidson, Kansas City, Missouri

July 31, 2005
Every once in a while you get a chance to step back in time firsthand. Most of these occasions are when someone from another age group gives you a glimpse into the past. My dad John bought a 1946 Knucklehead recently and we have been tinkering with it. We had some questions on technical aspects and knew whom we needed to go see. Russell Stuckey’s father opened Stuckey and Son Harley-Davidson in Kansas City in 1946. Russell worked for his father until he passed away and then took over the dealership, which was in business until 1981. Russell goes to…

An Interview with Dave Perewitz

June 30, 2005
Dave Perewitz has to be considered a member of the “old guard” when referring to bike builders. With over 30 years in the custom motorcycle industry, he has watched the trends change and the styles come and go. Through all of these changes he has remained on top of his game. With over 100 magazine covers to his credit and a customer list of celebrities as long as your arm, Dave proves time and time again his design and paint skills are always in big demand. With inductions into two motorcycle halls of fame and being named the 2003 Best…

Kim Suter – Behind the Scenes with KC’s Master Bike Builder

June 30, 2005
Kim Suter, Kansas City’s only member of the Master Builders Club, may have come the farthest in the shortest amount of time. With his own Big Inch Bikes line, he has provided customers with true custom motorcycles from a federally licensed manufacturer. With six models of Big Inch Bikes, he can provide something to suit anybody’s taste. CC: Is there anything new and exciting under construction at KC Creations this summer? KIM: We, of course, just finished a bike here for the Easyriders tour, but we’re trying to take one of our 2-Lo chassis and put a 330 on it…

Independence Police Raid Kingpin Tattooing

June 29, 2005
On Thursday, July 21, 2005, Independence police raided Kingpin Tattooing at 3618 Noland Road, looking for drugs, firearms, ammunition, photographs, logs and 'other' items. According to business owner John Monk, who has owned the tattoo shop for 13 years, they tore apart his shop and didn't find anything. He blames the raid on the fact that he is a member of the El Forastero motorcycle club, which police consider a 1% motorcycle gang. Apparently, the police had a search warrant that was reviewed and approved by a judge and said this was part of an investigation that started more than…

An Interview with Kendall Johnson

May 31, 2005
When anybody in the custom motorcycle industry needs horsepower, Kendall Johnson is the man they call. Kendall’s ability to squeeze every bit of horsepower out of a V-Twin engine is legendary. Not only is he a renown engine magician, he is also a cutting edge master builder. Kendall took time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions for Cycle Connections at the 2005 Easyriders V-Twin Bike Show. CC: Kendall, is there anything new and exciting under construction at Kendall Johnson Customs this summer? Kendall: Yeah, we’ve got a couple of new bikes, pretty high profile deals. I…

Behind the Scenes with Rick Fairless

May 31, 2005
Success hasn’t spoiled Rick Fairless. I have never met a more down-to-earth celebrity in my life. Rick has a deep appreciation for the successes he achieved through sheer determination and force of will. He takes nothing for granted and keeps his family close through his endeavors. He is a man to be admired not only for his rolling works of art but also for his work ethic. He’s not afraid to push the envelope as evidenced by his use of a Triumph power plant on his latest Biker Build-Off creation. Please keep in mind when you read this to add…

An Interview with Aaron Greene

April 30, 2005
Aaron Green took time at this year’s Easyriders V-Twin Bike Show to answer a few questions. The thing that struck me right away about Aaron was his intelligence. All one needs to do is listen to him for a few minutes to understand he belongs where he is. His love of design goes hand-in-hand with his respect for motorcycles. While soft spoken, he has very important things to say. Special thanks go to Aaron’s assistant Dante for all his help with logistics, as well as being a cool guy to hang with. Remember his name—you’ll be reading about him soon.…

Behind the Scenes with Billy Lane

April 30, 2005
Billy Lane took time out of his busy schedule at the Easyriders V-Twin Bike Show to sit down with us and answer a few questions. Anybody who says Billy has “gone Hollywood” doesn’t know Billy. He takes the time to make you comfortable and truly is as down to earth as anybody I know. Special thanks to Jennifer Schneider, Billy’s personal assistant for all her help. CC: Is there anything new and exciting under construction in your shop for this summer, Billy? Billy: I’m doing a couple of more hubless wheel bikes, a bunch of really cool bobber stuff, kind…

Gas at $2.15 Per Gallon? Another Great Reason to Ride!

March 31, 2005
I heard on the radio this morning that the average price of gasoline in the U.S. is at $2.15 per gallon and climbing. I just shelled out $2.09 per gallon at the local QuikTrip, and maybe it's just me, but doesn't is seem like not too long ago we were paying the same amount for premium? With no hint of an impending drop in sight, many people are parking their gas-guzzlers and riding their bikes to work. Spring is finally here, so why not? It's fun, it's relatively safe, and you can save one hell of a lot on gas!…

Tommi Ahvala - Champion Trials Rider

February 28, 2005
If you’re not familiar with the sport of trials riding, think about the most hostile terrain you can imagine – boulders, fallen logs, tree stumps, loose rock, incredibly steep climbs and drop-offs, running water, and thick forest. This is the domain of trials riders. Their objective is to ride through such obstacle courses while keeping both feet off the ground. The task requires incredible skill and balance. These riders sometimes seem to defy gravity. People who attended the Cycles N More Bike Show in Kansas City during the last weekend of January had the opportunity to witness an exhibition of…

Walt Sipp - Professional Road Racer

January 31, 2005
Many of us have dreams of traveling all over the country and racing motorcycles. Walt Sipp lives that dream. He’s a 28-year-old professional road racer sponsored by Blue-Springs Harley-Davidson. Walt recently took the time to meet me at Worth Harley-Davidson North in Gladstone, Missouri, to talk racing. CC: How did you get started in motorcycle racing? Walt: I started riding little dirt bikes in the California sand as a kid. I was born in Kansas City, but my family lived in California for a while. After we moved back to KC, I didn’t start playing with motorcycles for a long…

Reader's Choice - Best of Kansas City 2004

December 31, 2004
The results of the Cycle Connections Best of Kansas City 2004 reader’s opinion polls are in, and here’s how you rated Kansas City’s best motorcycle related businesses, events and people. Drumroll please…Best Bike Night Location1st Place – Paddy O'Quigley's (Lee's Summit, MO)2nd Place - Knuckleheads Saloon (Kansas City, MO)3rd Place - Frankie D's Mexican Restaurant (Kansas City, KS)Honorable Mention (in alphabetical order):Hooters - Barry Road (Kansas City, MO)Johnny Dare's (Kansas City, MO)Kobi's Club & Deli (Bonner Springs, KS)The Landing (Liberty, MO)Longbranch Saloon (Lenexa, KS)Midway Bar & Grill (Lake Lotawana, MO)One Block East Bar & Grill (Kansas City, MO)Russo's Pizza &…

Karl Eberle - The Man Behind Kansas City’s Harley-Davidson Assembly Plant

November 30, 2004
The Harley-Davidson Motor Company is likely the most shining example of continued success in today’s business world. Their grasp of the motorcycle industry is incomparable, and their growth is unprecedented. Now, with over a century of experience under their belt, brand recognition, combined with a widespread dealer network and customer kindred through the Harley Owners Group, they have become the envy of their competition. Much of their success can be attributed to highly effective relationship management. By placing a high value on worker empowerment and interaction and by emphasizing the relationships between employees, their unions, and their suppliers, the company…

Andy Barber - 911 Dispatcher and Painter

October 31, 2004
For a person who deals with stressful situations nearly every day as a 911 dispatcher for the Lenexa Police Department, there’s one thing Andy Barber of Gardner, cannot handle: a certain kind of deadline. “I can deal with the calls that come in,” he said recently. “Accidents, fires, stabbings, all that stuff, but if I’m painting a motorcycle tank for someone, and I know he’s expecting in on a certain day, that kind of stress can wake me up in the middle of the night.” Barber, who has lived in Gardner since 1990 with his wife Lois and their twin…
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