Friday, December 30, 2011

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Drain your tank!

If you are going to store your bike for 3 years...drain you tank!  If you don't...your service bill will be higher than you want it to be.

Long time coming

I don't know if anyone even looks here anymore but I never even realized that the last post I made was in April.  Let me start by is not for a lack of interest, it is simply a lack of time.  If it would please you, you should know that I haven't visited any other blogs in as many days.  I don't always have anything to say but lately there has been some "self-checking" at the door for me.  My life is very different in so many was while in other areas it is very much the same.  Moving across the country was supposed to be a big change in arena for my family but in so many was it is still business as usual.  I can explain it best in this way:

Living in Florida is like living in a parallel universe in that the only differences in my day to day life are those that are unique to this state...everything else in the same. 

Sometimes I feel like this is all a weird dream that I am going to wake up from.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Last November, out of necessity, I embarked on a new career path teaching high school auto shop.  I can honestly tell you that I had never even considered teaching an option until the opportunity presented its self.  Why would I?  I did not attend a four year university.  Hell, I never even set foot in a College until my wife began to earn her degree several years ago (which she earned last summer).  Truth just wasn't my thing.  Besides that, I have only ever had a passion, I mean a REAL passion for three things my entire life; cars (specifically Mustangs), BMX and custom motorcycles.  I think that all three of these things compliment each other splendidly and to be honest, I have been fairly successful at all three.

From 1978 until 1989 my BMX bikes and I were inseparable.  It began with a Huffy Thunder Roads with the #54 plates and ended in 1989 with an Ozone Method Air that cost more than my first car (which I bought the same year).  I had dozens of them and whenever I bought a new complete bike, the first thing I did was disassemble it and put a bunch of my old parts on it.  I liked having the latest, greatest stuff...but I never wanted to have the same shit as the next guy.  I ate, slept, walked and talked BMX 24 hours a day seven days a week.  I managed my own trick riding team (Team X), attended Woodward BMX camp three years in a row (all on my own lawn mowing money) and competed Flatland at the "Expert" level with moderate success.  Matt Hoffman and the rest of the Haro team dined at my house and I was even invited to go in the Haro van to Ohio and back for a couple of shows.  I could quote the movie Rad word for word,  I published my own Zine (even though I am most likely the only who actually read it) and considered the entire experience a success...even if only a slight one.  I only quit riding once I realized that no self respecting girl (although I cant say that at 16 years old I was looking for any girl that was "self-respecting") was going to ride on my pegs to a school dance.  It was time to move on.

My love affair with Mustangs began before I could walk, talk, or even knew what one was.  So for all intents and purposes this chapter should have preceeded the one on BMX.  However, since this is an order of importance story, we can leave things where they lie for now.  My dad had a Chocolate brown 1965 Mustang fastback with a 289 "Cleveland" Hi-po.  It had Ansen front mags with Volkwagen tires and a four speed transmission.  Those of you that know Ford engines know that there is no such thing as a Cleveland 289.  However, there is a Cleavor (which is a Cleveland headed Windsor) and although this can be neither confirmed or denied as the whereabouts of said Mustang are unknown, we will just leave this story to the lore of yesteryear and allow my dad to bask in the glory of his youthful exploits on Telegraph road.  My personal affair began in high school and carried me all the way until I was thirty years old at which time I switched gears again, on a dime moving on to the next big thing in my  After fourteen years I had decided that I had achieved all I cared to achieve racing, building and modifying 5-liter Mustangs and I had no stone left unturned.  I set out to build a fast stang and did so.  My stock suspension, big block powered 5-liter Mustang was capable of 9 second quarter mile times without the aid of any power adders and could do so in street legal form.  The personalized license plate said it all:  "UDELOSE"...many did.

Motorcycling was in my future my entire childhood and adolescence, I just didn't know it.  At least I never thought I would catch the fever.   That fever has turned into a full blown addiction.  As a result, I quit my profession in the auto industry, opened a custom bike shop, started getting tattooed and built several custom motorcycles.  Growing up, my Dad was always dragging some ill maintained, barely alive motorcycle with an unknown origin and most certainly a checkered past back to his lair where each bike was carefully dismantled and the parts were inventoried.  Small parts were put in baggies and most parts were hung on peg board in our basement or garage unless they were too heavy or too large to hang.  I never gave motorcycles a second thought.  I didn't have to.  Growing up the son of a biker made them part of the landscape.  I knew about them without ever having worked on one and between the experience of building and rebuilding my BMX bikes and all of the mechanical repairs performed on my various Mustangs I owned over the years, my segue into the motorcycle realm was seamless.  Everyone was surprised just how fast I was able to transition into motorcycling as a profession...even me.  I have had bike on the cover of a motorcycle magazine and a few featured inside too.  Bikes that I have built have won trophies almost my height and just like my BMX bikes, the first thing I do when I buy a new one is dismantle it and put some of my old parts on it.  Like I said, I want the latest greatest shit, but I do not want some dork pulling up to me at a stop light riding the exact same bike as mine with the exact same chrome covers over the stock chrome covers as my bike has.

I have always admired someone who is really talented at something regardless of the talent.  When I see someone sit down at a piano I get mesmerized.  My former business partner Evan could do that.  I only seen him do it once that I remember but it was cool.  There are people that can juggle (which Evan could also do), there are people that can play guitar, shape metal, get the idea.  It takes years to master anything.  No matter what the skill.  Even Tiger Woods, who has spent his entire adult life in the limelight, spent his entire childhood playing golf and attending school instead of playing with friends and in general...being a kid.

I have been successful (to a degree) at everything I have tried.  Success is in the eye of the beholder (as is beauty) and as far as I am concerned there is very little left to challenge me.  Even teaching, which I have zero formal training in, has been pretty easy.  Have I mastered it?  No...but I am successful at it, as I am with anything I do.  I may sound pompous, and I have always been a little arrogant, but then I have tried to do a lot of things in my lifetime.  I just haven't mastered any.  Maybe that in and of its self is the talent that I HAVE mastered; the one that gives me the confidence to try new things even though the path to success isn't always clearly paved.

I hope that my children inherit my confidence to try new things but I hope that they also inherit their mother's desire to master a skill.  Between the two of us I think we make a good team!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Otterbox "phones in" a Defender case for Samsung Facinate

Please excuse the pun.  I have used Otterboxs' for years on several devices and unfortunately my Defender for Samsung Facinate disappoints me.  Since this is my BLOG I thought I would use this pulpit to preach the gospel of cellular phone protection here goes:

  • Same rugged materials as previous Defender cases I have purchased.
  • Excellent screen protector.
  • All access points are easily accesed (charge port, head phone port, etc)
  • Camera not obstructed
  • Priced where it should be.  This is the top of the line phone protection offered in the marketplace.  Heck of a lot cheaper than a new phone!

The "not so good":
  • Rubber cover fits poorly.  I expect to really "test" the limits of the Otterbox and I waited three months for the Defender to be released for my new device.  I think it should fit better.  I am concerned that once it is a year + old it wont fit at all.
  • the phone does not fit tight in the hard case.  I had to "shim" the case with folded paper to stop the phone from moving around in the case.  Not the quality I am used to from Otterbox products.
  • The plastic "cage" is easily removed.  I still have an Iphone 3GS and my Otterbox (Defender) is a "chore" to remove for cleaning but I know that it is secure.  I don't get that confidence from the Defender for the Samsung Facinate.

To conclude, I would always recommend Otterbox to anyone that asks me.  As a parent of two teenage girls that seem to go through phones like Grant went through Richmond I believe that these cases should be mandatory fare when purchasing a new phone.

Monday, March 21, 2011

An open letter to Dave Grohl

I dont use this BLOG as a spring board for anything other than to express myself and since I am pretty much 100% certain that Dave Grohl will never see this...I have no explination for what I am about to write here other than to announce my appreciation for Dave Grohl's musical contribution to my ear holes.

Like the phoenix rose from the ashes Dave Grohl pulled himself from the wreckage that was Nirvana.  After Kurt Cobain's untimely death surely was to mean the end of the line for the remaining members of Nirvana Dave Grohl immersed himself in music that was pure Rock & Roll. 

Anyone that knows me knows that I was not a Nirvana fan at all!  In fact...I hated (and still hate) everything about the "grunge" music "scene".  For me, it signaled the end of classic rock and heavy metal two muscial genre's (along with hip hop/rap) that I considered myself quite the authority on.

Picture this:  It was pre-internet Detroit, Michigan in 1991, I just graduated from high school and was begining what I thought would be my career path in the radio industry at Specs Howard.  I met a guy...named Jonah (Jay) Sharkey and he turned me on to Nirvana but it wasn't "Smells like teen spirit" was "Bleached" and I hated it.  Teen Spirit was "too commercial" for Jonah.  On a side note, another fellow class mate bummed a ride from me home once and Pearl Jam's Alive was on the radio (89X CIMX)...he told me that Pearl Jam would be "bigger than Zeppelin".  I told him he was "full of shit" and dropped him off some where in Ferndale.  I think his name was Jeff...either way, he was wrong.  My point is this, in those days you had to rely on a series of under ground channels of rumors, stories and at best...a few first hand tales from the DJ's on the radio for your musical trivia and research.  If you wanted to know the lyrics to a song you had better hope the band put them in the liner notes.  The entir record buying and music experience was much more exciting back then.  I am sad that my kids will never experience the thrill of ripping off the clear plastic from a new LP and hear the crackle of staic as you lower the needle to the face of a vinyl record for the first time as I did with Kiss's Dynasty LP in 1978.

Yesterday I heard Rope for the first time.  Holy sh!t...what a great song.  But then again, the Foo Fighters have many great songs.  It was like hearing Monkey Wrench again for the first time only better, more refined and harder.  Dave Grohl has never disapointed me on the radio.  I saw the FF once the same venue I saw my very first concert in 1979 (J Geils).  I dont know if it was the accoustics or just an off night but I left early...disappointed.  I have vowed to see them again.

Now for the real meaning to this reguritation of nothingness from my tiny pea brain...Dave Grohl might just be the last Rock-a-roller.  In the same vein as Jimmy Page before him, he embraces and accepts his role in what could be argued by some as the 3rd largest (or at least relevant) rock band in history (I for one credit the Beatles and Led Zeppelin respectively 1st and 2nd) but he doesn't let Nirvana alone define him.  He is always eager to make great music with great musicians (Queens of the Stoneage are more over looked than they deserve to be) and surround himself with talent and positivity.  No political rants, no drug overdoses, no self loathing...just raw, edgy, real rock and roll.

So to Dave Grohl I say "thank you" and to the rest of you I say "go buy the Foo Fighters new album".  Damn I wish it was on vinyl!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Horse Backstreet Choppers Magazine: Coming soon to issue #108

Here you go, a little flavor from Lakeland, Florida.
The Horse Backstreet Choppers Magazine: Coming soon to issue #108: "We're wrapping up issue #108 today, and I just put the finishing touches on the lay out for Eric Allard's 'Clementine' XS650 chop. This thin..."

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Two wheel genesis

I wasn't into Harley's ten years ago...I was into Outlaw street racing.  Fifteen years previous to that, I had hung up my BMX shoes for the last time.  I had similar success with BMX as I had with street racing and now custom motorcycles.  In 1988 I traveled with Haro's "B" team which consisted of Rick Moliterno, Joe Gruttola and team manager, Ron Haro.  Those legends not withstanding...that team also included the greatest vert rider ever...Matt Hoffman.  I had made friends with Rick Moliterno earlier in the summer whilst a camp counselor at Woodward BMX camp and invited them to have a home cooked meal with my family.  They obliged...I was in awe!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Suede Softail

Re-"did" by Cycle Stop USA
Diamond cut heads/jugs
Powder Coat:
Competition Coatings, Auburndale, Florida
Engine work - Cycle Stop USA/Plant City, FL
Danny gray saddle
Crane Hi-4 ignition
Paint by Liquid Illusions - St Louis, MO

English Softail update

I am building this bike for my bro in the UK Mic Powell.  I needed a little help so I enlisted some of my best friends in the industry:
  • Frame mods...Voodoo Choppers
  • Engine...Plymouth Cycle & Speed/Zippers
  • Transmission...Plymouth Cycle & Speed/Baker Drivetrain
As per usual, I will be hanlding all of the other component selection and final assembly.  Some of the other components will be:
  • WCC mid controls
  • Brembo brakes and hand controls.
This bike is being built to ride across Europe and will feature a 120 inch Zippers (built by Evan Edwards @ Plymouth Cycle & Speed Inc.) engine and six speed Baker DD6 gearset.

I will keep you posted!

Cyril posts release of new CFL

Sorry to simply regurgitate info from another blog, but this is good news for CFL fans (which I am).  Here is something Cyril doesnt have:  a photo of the first Daytec frame at the V-twin Expo
photo courtesey of Trish Horstman

Carry on!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Ridin weather

It seems like it is always ridin weather in Florida
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Sunday, January 23, 2011

A day at FNA

Spent the afternoon at Eric's...we shot Clementine for The Horse
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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wicked Wing

Just one of the coolest Gold Wings I ever seen
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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Another new day

Okay at this point I have come to realize that I am the only one reading this but who gives a flying eff!  I am going to write things in here as they come to me and maybe one day this will become relevant to someone somewhere.

In 2009 I decided that my life was not complicated enough...or at least that must have been what I was thinking.  Why in the hell else would I take 6+ years of self employment with a company that was finally well on its way to being a success and 15 years of marriage that was already a success...and totally throw everything into the air with no way of knowing where the pieces would land and move to Florida.  Florida was something that I wanted to do more than anything in the world.  Truth be told, my life was perfect in Michigan...all except for the part about living in Michigan.

I had already gotten out once, in 1981.  My parents moved me to Texas and I loved it.  In 1986 I was dragged kicking and screaming back to Detroit.  I hated it then and I hated it in 2009.  I needed a vehicle to initiate the move.  I hatched a plan.

Enter Cycle Stop USA.

Opened in October of 2009, Cycle Stop USA was going to revolutionize the service industry.  The only problem is that the market wasn't ready for ride in ride out motorcycle service yet.  Sales were marginal (to be expected with a new company) but the response was good.  People DO want to get work done on their motorcycle while they wait.  We just need to look in new places, not just the same ones we always have.

So here I sit inside my Lakeland, Florida pool home, regrouping and formulating a newer plan.  Will it work?

Absolutely!  You see...I never fail, but sometimes my ideas do!

Friday, January 7, 2011