Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Late, late nights and earlier mornings, I was a trucker for 16 years before I open the shop. Those nights were a lot of smoky bars, hotels and ladies of the night running around. Mile after mile, truck stop after truck stop, it sounds like a David Allan Coe song doesn’t it? Well this was my life before the bike shop, so I’m used to staying up late and working till the early morning hours. This is something I try to get Josh to do. To be self employed isn’t a 9 to 5 thing. Its takes all hours of the day to keep the shop going, money doesn’t sleep. A guy named Mitch called me not to long ago. He said he had some parts that he and his Father wanted to sell. I told Mitch to bring them up to the shop which he informed me that there was just too much to load up, and bring it to me to just “look at it”. So with Josh in tow, we headed for Mitch’s House. Mitch lives down river, that’s south of Detroit. My shop and house is North of Detroit, about 30 minutes. So getting down to Mitch’s was just over an hour. It was late, but it was still summer so it was warm. The sun was just setting as we pulled up to Mitch’s house. He and few friends were waiting out front for us. We talk for a min and then Mitch led us into his Fathers garage. There was a big line up of motorcycles, some projects but most were all riding. Mitch was building a very cool FXR with a twin cam power plant. As much as I liked looking and talking bikes with him we were there to work. Mitch had parts everywhere mostly in a trailer (which didn’t look like it would of made the trip to the shop), next to the house. He pulled some stuff down from the attic and then led us to the trailer. The trailer was piled up with old parts from all different makes and models. It was a lot to go though, we had bought some totes to put parts in and I was sure glad we did. I don’t think we would have gotten everything in the van without them. I worked in the trailer while Josh and Mitch loaded the van; after it was all done we sat and talked bikes for awhile. Before we knew it, it was midnight. We said our good byes and hit the road. Detroit is a very cool city; it’s a blast to drive though at night. Such a good night life in downtown it was about 1am when we got back to the shop, Josh was falling asleep; I was so jacked up from talking motorcycles, I was wide awake. Another late night, and an early morning was to follow. I had a FXR to pick up in the morning and a guy was coming down to the shop to sell us a 95 Softail. The late nights and early mornings continue these days but with less smoky bars and ladies of the night, maybe I’m getting older; or I just got a loving, sweet, tuff as nails wife at home that can whoop on me. Whatever the case, these days I don’t need to live like a David Allan Coe song. ~Boomer
Monday, April 18, 2016
Thursday, March 31, 2016
Have you ever bought a “good deal”? How about buying a “Good Deal” to help someone out? I’ve bought 100 shovelheads, most of the time Josh is pretty good about checking them out and getting them running. But every once in a while (like most people) I find a lemon, not all are winners or homeruns; it happens it’s the business. If the motorcycle world was easy everyone would do it, right? Now I’ve bought a ton of shovels that may have been, for lack of a better word, ugly or maybe needed to be put back together. And normally it’s no big deal. One bike I went and looked at with Josh it was winter and we were standing in a barn. It was cold, not much room to walk around it and really check it out; maybe I was feeling a little cocky that day, so I bought it. Josh and I loaded it up and headed for home. Now the guy said he was riding it when something happen, so it wasn’t running, he was up front about that. I told the kid to get it home and try to see if we can get it running. Josh got after it one night at the shop. It didn’t take much to get running but man it was leaking oil out of the back of the motor right by the base gasket. So we got the flash lights out and what we found was a bit shocking. The rear cylinder was cracked and half way out of the cases! I think what was more shocking was the engine was still running and sounded good at that. I told Josh let’s just take it apart, send the parts out into the chopper world. The bike didn’t look like much to me anyways. It had some good parts on it though. I managed to make my money back on the bike and little bit extra to keep the lights on (I give Josh a few bucks too; I can’t believe he makes me pay him WTF??). Josh has been in the shop for a long time, I think that when he was younger it played a big roll on his interests. He loves motorcycles and hot rods, anything with a motor really. I had an old Sears all state sitting in my shed for 15 or more years. My plan was always to put it out on the building, it would look so cool! But like most things we try and get done, I somehow never got to it. Randy is a really good customer, he always hanging around the shop. Randy is always working on some old bike. His grandson love working with him on those bikes; mind you he is all of 13 years old. Randy told him about the 1956 Sears, I had in my shed and the kids eyes lit up. So the next day Randy bought Jr up to the shop to do some dickering with me. After an hour and a tray of cookies we landed a deal. Jr would make payments on the bike for the next few weeks, until it was paid off. I didn’t really want to see the bike go, but I thought how it might change his life forever. After just two weeks the Kid had it all paid for and was ready to load it up ( I think grandpa may of helped out just a bit). Jr loaded up his bike in the back of Randy’s truck and he couldn’t stop smiling. Maybe that is the moment when that kid decides what he is going to do for the rest of his life. Maybe …… maybe not, but I know he has been working on it with grandfather every night since he bought that bike from me. I love seeing younger people play with hot rods and bikes, too many of them now days play video games, instead of going out and getting dirty. That type of thing didn’t happen in my day, or maybe that’s me getting older.
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
It’s cold here in Michigan, the snow is on the ground and winter is here. So let’s think SUMMER. My Last Bike Night was at my bar and the weather was perfect, the parking lot was packed and the girls looked great. I had live bands playing, FREE dinner for everyone and I was giving away a custom FXR. But I still managed to find an old shovelhead for sale. Rich had owned the bike for over 33 years; he had bought it when he was 19 years old. But just recently someone had let Rich ride an EVO, right then and there old Rich thought maybe it was time to buy a new bike. He had put a lot of work into the Shovel over the years. He changed the gas tanks, the front and rear fenders, he had added big leather bags on it. The motor looked great and just recently he had add a 5 speed trans to it and made it a kick only bike. Fab Kevin had helped him do a lot to the bike over the years. With my Bike Night in full swing, I couldn’t help myself; I had to go look at the bike, I love finding and buying the good deals. One look at it, and it was mine. The motor looked brand new in it; the transmission was all shiny and new. One kick, it started! The party was in full swing, the band was jamming. Some guys were doing stunts out in the parking lot it was a huge party. So I couldn’t take the old shovel down the road till later. The party continued late in the night, people were waiting and hoping there name would come out of the box to win that custom FXR. I wait till late to give the bike away because if I’m giving away free food and a free bike then I’m going to do it my way!! It was around 11pm and the bar was packed Josh had ran around cleaning and restocking beer, My wife sandy and Josh fiancé Heidi cleaned trash cans all night. We were all tired but it was that time to draw a name for the winner of the bike. I pulled a name and called it three times, could you believe the guy had just left? Moving on to the second name, the crowed was silent and before I could get the name all the way out a guy jumped up yelling it’s me I won it!!! He was beyond happy. And just like that people started leaving, the night was over I was tried but I wanted to ride that new shiny shovelhead I had bought. Josh and I went out to kick that old bike over and on the first kick it fired to life. We rode to a local watering hole, got primed up ourselves, and back out we went. It felt great riding a bike after the long night partying with family, friends and biker Folks; the cool summer air on my face I didn’t want the night to end, it was one of those night, in Michigan, where you can ride all night with no coat. Sadly with the end of Bike Night that means for us, winter was just around the corner but until then I was going to ride that shovel as far as it would take me, or at least to my home lol.