Easy Rider and Chopperguy

Thoughts on Easy Rider, biker cinema, and riding and working on a vintage chopper.

Thursday, September 26, 2002

I went for a ride with some fans of the site last weekend. The chopper ran great. I met James down at Easyriders of Minneapolis while getting my flat fixed. If you go down a few blogs you can read all about that. We met up at a Denny's on Friday night. Most people wouldn't think of this place as a biker hang-out. Then again, they do have posters of BSA's and Triumphs adorning the walls. I have met a few bikers there as well. The staff certainly treated me well, admiring my knee high boots and never letting my coffee cup get empty.

While there, James told me all about the problems he has had with his Captain America replica. He has one of the nicer looking Panzer/Paughco made replicas. I won't get into details here, but he does not have kind words about Panzer. He loves his bike, but it continues to nickel and dime him, not unlike just about every other chopper I know of. The Captain looks great and he thinks he may have finally worked the bugs out.

I followed the two of them to a little out of the way biker bar called Cahoots. This place seemed straight out of a movie. Bikes lined the curbs on both sides of the street. You walk in and you see nothing but middle aged, working class bikers drinking beer, playing pool, and listening to the live rock and blues band. They served me tap beer in a plastic cup. I like dives a lot, but this seemed to go above and beyond. This place did have one element that made it very endearing to me. I didn't see a television anywhere in it. These days it seems that you can't walk into any bar without having a television within sight. Another thing that makes the place one in a million, you can get Sonny Barger Beer.

While at the bar I got to talk to my other companion for a while. Rob has a chopped Suzuki Intruder. Now I tend to swear by American V-twins (for simplicity of maintenance) and the old British bikes like the Triumphs of the 60's and 70's. I have nothing against Jap choppers and in fact strongly encourage people to chop anything and everything from Indians to Schwinns. Rob's bike makes a great case for Jap bike chopping. The lines on it don't look all that radical. The bike sits low and has extended tubes out a raked tree. But he has also put some money into the engine as well. To put it as bluntly as possible, when he hits the gas, he gets gone.

My chop behaved very well that evening. Both of the guys had electric start and James had complained at one point about having to kick it on a couple of occasions. Of course I only have the kicker. When we came out from Denny's I did my usual routine of flipping the kill switch, turning the petcock, "tickling" the carb to give her a little juice, and then kicking her over. She fired right up on the first try. Again at the bar, it only took a couple of kicks for her to fire up. It doesn't always work that way. The first start of the day often takes a dozen kicks or so. Still, nothing like getting her to fire right up to make a guy feel big.

A very good night. We don't have too many of those left up here. The last few years we've had a few days as far out as November. I don't see that happening this year, but we'll see. A man can always hope.


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