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Article By: Xavier Muriel
Orignally Published In The May 2018 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
Well here I sit writing another column only a few days away from heading to Daytona for Bike Week 2018. This officially starts the new season of events. As in the past, I will be doing as many things for fun as I can, in between work. I’m honored once again to be involved in Billy Lane’s Sons of Speed vintage board track race at New Smyrna Speedway. This year’s race has some new and exciting classes including the addition of a 45 class. Based on the buzz that started when Billy made the announcement back in December this class has already gained some serious momentum. With the addition of many more riders the 45 class brings the event to a whole new level, which always makes for better racing. Word on the street is that yours truly will not only be riding in the vintage class on a 1913 Perry Mack but also piloting the Flat Broke Choppers/ Cycle Source 45 entry.
As always, the best part of the week is catching up with old friends and talking about the good stuff in life. Who’s doing what for the coming year and all the upcoming events! I’ve been invited as a builder to this year’s “Motorcycles As Art exhibit at the Buffalo Chip in Sturgis. If you are unaware of Mr. Lichter’s work, well then let me fill you in. Think back to picking up an Easyriders or a cool international chopper rag like Freeway and perused some amazing shots then chances are you’ve seen his work. Michael has taken some of the motorcycle industry’s most iconic shots of not only the machines but the people who have built, ridden and represent them. His works spans decades and is held in the highest regard and is looked at as the closest representation of the lifestyle we love and live. Many consider him the Annie Leibowitz of the motorcycle world. So, when “The Don,” asks you to be a part of his exhibit you don’t refuse… His annual exhibit is always a theme based, and 2018 is no different. The basis this year is ‘’Passion Built, From Garage to Gallery” pulling together a roster of builders who build as a passion rather than a way to pay the bills. All those participating hold “regular jobs.” The roster is chock full of amazing builders from all over the country including Cycle Source’s very own Chris Callen and Roadside Marty. You can get sneak peaks and some progress on the builds by following the show on IG at @motorcyclesasart. Never fear, if you don’t do the social media thing, I’ll giving updates on my project here in the mag as well. Now, having done what I’ve done career-wise for the last 20 years of my life and being blessed enough to have some mementos to remind me of them, I consider this invite along with the first feature of the first bike I built to grace the cover of this magazine among the highest in my arsenal. I am beyond honored and grateful to be amongst the class of builders for “Passion Built.”
Ya know, it’s funny who you meet when you least expect it. I was working in my garage not too long ago when a couple walked up halfway up my driveway when he very respectfully asked if he could continue in. I thought this was a cool gesture because any other way might get ya in trouble. He introduced himself, explained that he was my neighbor and had noticed my bikes and some of my buddies stopping by on theirs. As we got know each other, it turns out that he is a Texas State Trooper (which is always great to have as a neighbor) and wanted to see how involved with bikes I was. After telling him what I do and seeing my stuff, he asked if I’d be interested in helping him with a “project” that he ultimately wanted to give to his newborn son. First question asked, “What kind of bike,” he said “it’s a Honda”; I regretfully responded with “I’d love to help ya, but I’m really not familiar with them.” For some reason, and I tell myself it was out of curiosity I asked him if he had a picture, he did; when he showed me, I nearly fell on the floor. It turns out he had inherited from his father the very first bike my father had bought me in 1975. I invited him further into the shop and showed him a pic of my father on his Harley with my Lil Mr50 in the foreground. His is a year apart from mine. With nostalgia in my heart, I agreed to help him out. Later that week I went to his place, surveyed what appeared to be a complete 1974 Honda Mr 50 in various boxes and crates, but none the less a complete bike just waiting to be loved back into life. The biggest setback was that the tunnel on the fuel tank was rusted away. So, there’s where he and I begin our journey into reviving something that for him represents the future, but for me represents my past. A reminder of how it started and the journey that’s led me to this very moment. Needless to say, I’ve taken on this project on shear sentimental value. Stay tuned for more pics and progress.
Once again, I’m shown that it’s not just a motorcycle, it’s an artery that connects all of us to some bigger heart than we all can’t explain and honestly, I don’t want to even try. I love it just the way it is. Until next time my Brothers and Sisters be kind to one another and a Ride Safe… God Bless -X.