Friday, December 26, 2008

I'm taking a Holiday Break, so...

I won't be posting anything this week.
Be sure and come back to visit.

I'll do my best to make next year even better!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Toy Run 70's Style

Since this time of year tends to be a time of reflection, I decided to post some Toy Run pictures from Dec. 10, 1978.

Our local group of hooligans from Downey met others at U.S. Motorcycles in Lynwood CA.

In those days the Modified Motorcyle Association held Toy Runs in two stages. First, small groups from shops and homes would meet for the ride to Griffith Park. Then, once everyone was gathered at Griffith Park, a parade of bike would ride to Pasadena's City Hall.

The ride from the shops to Griffith Park was always cool. As your small group rode down the freeway it would hook up with other groups coming up the on ramps. To the surprise of many a caged motorist, bikes began taking over the early morning road. With the number of bikes growing so large you felt like you could do what ever you pleased. That translated into wild riding and the passing of beers (stashed in saddlebags), from passengers to riders and from bike to bike.

St. Nick greets bikers entering Griffith Park.

And they just kept coming.

Once at Griffth Park, it was time to check out the bikes, people watch, drink beer, and line up for the parade of bikes to Pasadena.

Each bike was given a yellow run flag.

Bikes and Bikers filling the spaces between the trees.

I believe the estimated attendance was 15,000 -20,000 bikers.

My crew.

One of the few bikes I shot that day was this well ridden chop. The sweeping sissy bar brace, long narrow springer, Sportster headlight and 15" radial car tire all scream Dick Allen/South Bay (beach cities L.A.), style.

The cops escorted and held back the cages at the lights and freeway ramps so there could be an unbroken 10 mile chain of bikes two abreast parading towards Pasadena. It was said, as the first bikes arrived in Pasadena, many bikes still hadn't left Griffith Park.

We parked on the outskirts of city hall to watch the non stop parade of bikes.

Your young author. It was the 70's. A time when everybody wore a mustache and nobody wore a helmet!

Plaid, denim, and bell bottoms ruled before the black t-shirt brigade completely took over.

Long bikes were still hip in 78.

The growing bounty on the steps of Pasadena City Hall. Stuffed animals are clearly the easiest toys to strap on bikes.

A few years later the MMA stopped the hard to coordinate two stage events. Instead they just became big gatherings (not really runs), that took place in a designated parking lot, like at the Sports Arena in Exposition Park.

They were all good times but, the two stage runs were the best.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Modified from the art I donated to the Mooneyes 2004 Xmas show raffle.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Blog, a Bike, and Inspiration

Then came Hirschberg... and an inspiring machine.

Today I stumbled on to this photo of Dick Hirschberg and his cool cut down 69 shovel. It was found on Irish Rich's new blog Homage. His blog is mostly geared to the honorable task of paying tribute to the Heroes that inspire him. A duty I try to do myself every now and then.

I was jazzed to find the photo since I'm always on the hunt for cool swing arm bikes to serve as inspiration for my 65 Pan. Looking at the photo, I couldn't help thinking of Then Came Bronson and not just because of his sailor's watch cap. The pared down big twin takes on a Sportster look aided in part with what appears to be a 18" rear wheel. It also has the same English (Lucas), style tail light/license mount and similar (bobbed), fender treatment as the Bronson bike.

The man that launched a million Watch Caps. I bought one myself.

Dick's bike was built the same year (1969), the show aired. Is there a connection? Bud Ekins did and coordinated the stunts for the pilot film and TV series. Rich's blog mentions that Von Dutch did engine turning, lettering, striping, and engraving on Dick's bike. We also know that Dutch worked off and on for Bud. Did Von Dutch have a hand in the Bronson bike? Was Dick's bike influenced by the Bronson bike, the other way around, or was this just the style of the times?

Bronson sans a cap. Note the tail light and bobbed fender.

Information for the Bronson Sportster can be found at:

I went back to that website to see what it said. I had read the information there before but, forgot the details. It has interview statements from Bud Ekins saying that he was the one who customized the Sportster and the other bikes used in the show. It also has a MGM press release listing all of the mods done to the Bronson bikes with additional comments from Ekins. Von Dutch is never mention.

Did Bud actually do the physical work or did he have Von Dutch or someone else perform it? Whoever actually did the work, the Bronson and Hirschberg bikes are more or less connected through the Dutch /Ekins relationship.

From the same era. A proud Kenneth Howard displaying his handy work. Although the fender is not bobbed, it features the same English style tail light/license set up.

Ideas, influence, and inspiration come from different sources but, in the end, everything is connected.

Somewhere I once read, "There's a little Von Dutch in all of us".

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Merry Finking Christmas

Ed "Big Daddy" Roth, by Pete Millar.

This is one of the original pieces of art on exhibit in Pasadena last summer. It was the cover art for the comic Pete Millar presents... Big Daddy Roth, Dec. 65-Jan. 66. Only four issues were produced. Like I said in earlier posts Roth and Pete are Hero's of mine. Both left us too soon.

Chopper Fest etc.

Random thoughts about the Chopper Fest, the Jack Off Journal, Old Timers ,Young Guns, and Bikes.

These musings are in response to reading the JJ. They are just my opinions and reactions from reading the posts. You might want to go and check the post yourself. All photos were grabbed from that site.

I almost never visit The Jack Off Journal but, because I didn't go to the DMCF, I figured there would be pictures posted of what I missed. I'm not member and after reading some of the other threads and about the show, it reminded me why, for the most part, I hate forums. Who needs a bunch of tit for tat B.S. between strangers, coupled with lot's of misinformation. Then there's that senior members thing.

About the show: Judging at shows always sucks. Also keep in mind that the name David Mann Chopper Fest, is mostly a marketing tool. "The Shop" used to just have a swap meet in December and a Antique show and swap in June. The first year of the Fest was the same year David Mann died and it was a tribute to him. My guess is that they wanted to make the December event bigger and since Choppers (thanks to TV), were back in style, it all fell in place.

In regards to what's in the show and how it's judged: I prefer true old school chops and bobs and I too would like to only see them featured in the show but remember, as the years progressed, the bikes Dave portrayed reflected the changing styles of the bikes featured in Easyriders. Also, the turn out wouldn't be as great.

As for Dave's art, one year I never even saw where it was displayed. Last year I found them poorly displayed in a building in the back of the Fairgrounds.

I'm not as totally jazzed with the pictures from the show as many of the JJ readers. Maybe it's my mood today or because I've seen a lot of the bikes before. Yeah some are sort of cool and others I can totally appreciate the craftsmanship but, I'm also really picky about what I like. Therefore, I always find it hard to completely like the way any one bike is done up.

Bobbers are supposed to be Bad Ass not Metrosexual.

The clean Bobber (above), that everybody seems to be drooling over is an example of what I mean. I saw it at El Camino and didn't like it much. It's pretty and a really nicely built bike but, does anybody else think it's a tad too fancy and bright? The color the fender trim and color coordination? Would you'd ever see a bobber like this in the 50's? Paint it all black (including the bars and headlight), take off the stainless trim and it would kick ass.

Then there's those the red wheeled white wall primer bikes (I hate'm), you see today. Seems everybody is forgetting history. Nobody ever built bikes like that until recently.

It pisses me off the way the term bobber is tossed about today. I need to do a post on that subject.

Another Metrosexual Bobber. Nice craftsmanship but... save the white walls and color coordination for a dresser. I spy a god awful red wheel with white wall in the distance.

This is more like it, but I'd still lose the green stuff. That's just me again.

Crappy, Slow, Built To Pose. Dumb shirt/Lousy art. When you were born don't mean shit. Cool dudes and "A" holes come in all ages.

On the subject of Young Guns vs. Old Guys:

For perspective, I'm 53 and have been into the bike scene since before I was old enough to ride. Does that make me an old guy? My guess is that many old timers have lost touch with the old style because they've kept moving on with the trends to the point where there's a disconnect.

It cracks me up that builders like Perewitz is now building "Bobbers". That's actually an incorrect use of the term as he's really just building an early style chopper. Maybe I'm wrong or not quite old enough but, I never remember him building that style of bike. All the old bikes I saw were pretty much those low stretched pointy bikes that some call Diggers. He admits the "bobbers" he's building now are simple to build and selling better than his usual customs.

Here's an example of a couple of things: differing taste and the way things change. It's a very cool bike and one of the ones I liked from the CF post but, I personally prefer primary covers on 60's style bikes.

It's also an example of a new take on an old style: The mid controls are done in a newer way. Same could be said for the pipes. I lean to a more a traditional approach to both.

These days, I seem to be more aligned with what the younger guys are building. I'm glad that they appreciate, keep alive, and embrace the old ways but, like what happens in fashion, it's a new take on an old style. For example: If you check the old magazines you'll find that almost nobody only custom painted the tanks and fenders on black framed bikes. They usually painted and molded the frames to match. The new way is not as costly and more practical.

Here's an example of custom paint, done only on the tank and fender. Nice bike but the front end being from a late model is too modern for me. I warned you, I'm picky!

One of the best bikes posted from the show, but again it begins to lose me at the front end. I would have liked it so much more if it had an earlier Sportster front end. I'd also lose the double lights. Picky, picky, picky!

Really the bottom line: Variety is the spice of life, you can't please everyone, to each their own, like what you want, and it's all for fun.We should be building bikes to suit ourselves anyway.

If I pissed anyone off, oh well... Screw you guys, I'm out'ta here.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Century Motorcycles Xmas Party

Too many things to do this time of year!

Kenny was tight with Century owner Cindy Rutherford. Note that this invite says 11th annual in 1987. They've been doing this for awhile.

Here in So Cal we had the Mooneyes show on Saturday followed by the Chopper Fest Sunday.

I'd been going to the The Moon show since the early nineties. It used to be a really cool informal (free), gathering at their shop and was the official Rat Fink Xmas Party. You could go check out the cool and crazy rods, bikes, and greet Ed Roth while he was striping and signing stuff. The good people at Moon also let other pin stripers and artist set up and sell there wares. In return they were asked to donate some art for the raffles. I did that myself for 4 years.

The Moon show outgrew the shop (cops shut it down in 1999 or 2000?), and it had to be moved to a larger location 3 times. Eventually Moon had to start charging the artists and began to let vendors set up. It lost it's charm. I heard if you were late you couldn't park. I stopped going and for the last 2 years sold my art at the Chopper Fest instead.

This year I wasn't keen to getting up at 4:00 a.m. or driving 90 miles so, I choose not to sell at or attend the CF.

Dig that crazy sign! I love this stuff. Today everything is pseudo mediterranean/mission style.

There's another annual party that I knew of but, had slipped my mind until I received an email from Keith Ball. He reminded me that Century Motorcycles in San Pedro was having their annual party Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sunday, I was running late and it was getting chilly so, I thought I could just ride by and turn back if nothing was happening. I got there about 2 p.m. and the crowd was wanning but found that Keith had just pulled in, a few bikers were still hanging out, and it was sunny. Then another buddy pulled up followed by a good friend of Keith's.

We interrupt this story for a quickie bike feature!

My buddy Ron's 58 Sporty was one of the star attractions. Excuse the less than perfect photos but, I had to post them.

Ron's an Ironhead and Performance Freak. You gotta see this bike in person to appreciate all the fine work.

Ron shaves, cleans, drills and massages every bracket and fitting before it goes on one of his machines. Rear drum is a rare XRTT unit.

Keith dug Ron's bike and plans to do a complete feature on

Now back to the story.

Century has been having Xmas parties since 1976 and also hosts an annual Father's Day party. It had been years' since I attended one so I was curious to visit the shop plus, I enjoy these types of small intimate gatherings more than large crowded events.

Another damn blurry pic! Keith's Sturgis shovel was also a crowd favorite. It was usually surrounded by several onlookers.

British bikes abound.

Hungry Bikers chow down while another eats up the sights.

This Vinnie merited a second look

Don't know the history but it's safe to say this bike's special.

Bikes were cleared out for dinning. The motorized baby carriage was later driven out front by Cindy.

Here's Cindy blowing minds and setting speed records in the worlds fastest baby carriage at El Camino. Photo: Gleeped from unknown blog.

Not just put up yesterday to look cool. When was the last time you were in a shop with history like this?

Bill Cotton memorial wall. Bill's Ashes are in the peanut tank. We should all have such a tribute.

Circa 1963. Not much has changed. Photo: Century Motorcycles website

Simple pleasures: Riding on a crisp day, talking with buds, checking out machinery, and visiting an old timey MC Shop, makes for a memorable time.

Friday, December 12, 2008

David Mann, Art Hero

I've been way over due to post some of Dave's stuff.

Summing it up. This ran in the "In the Wind "section preceding the center spread.

I'd been digging Dave's stuff since I first saw those tiny images of posters in the Roth ads. Choppers were mysterious machines so, I used to squint at those ads, trying to figure out just what the hell was going on.

In the Wind On Friday Night. This classic art was in the same issue (8/72), as the Bandit post below. Could be up the coast by Malibu or Ventura.

I like his early works the best. While not as detailed as his later work, there's a feeling and directness to them that just nails it.


Speaking of Keith Ball aka Bandit...

This could be mistaken for a Roth Poster. ER didn't use this shot, instead they ran a blurry one for impact.
Gleeped from Cro Custom's blog who gleeped it from Keith

I was 16 when I bought the August 72 issue of Easyriders and had no idea I would one day come to know this intimidating 6' 5" biker. I was fascinated with Outlaws but, thought he looked like the sort that might beat the piss out of a scrawny little wanna be punk like me just for crossing his path.

Still have this issue. I wonder, who was the hand model?

Bandit and Tractor from the 72 ER zine.

Soon after this issue, Keith joined the staff and eventually became the chief editor of the rag. He worked at Easyriders until 1996 and then split to start the online magazine

One of my favorite bikes... The Bandit Rat Pan. This bike was featured in a later issue as a joke test ride. Nowadays, way more dudes dig these types of scooters than back then. Stolen from

Seven years ago, I met Keith at the Beach Ride. I was peddling my goods and he being an art lover, stopped by my booth for a look. We became buds and I've been supplying art, bike concepts, and articles for his website ever since.

The big fella today. Ripped from

Turns out, Bandit is mostly a gentle giant, but don't dare get in his way.