Article and phots by Xavier Muriel, Originally published July 2019 in Cycle Source Magazine.
Hola Hermano’s y Hermana’s, well today is Cinco De Mayo, so I thought that would be a suitable intro to this month’s column. The day has been filled with the “where are you man, come meet us” texts, and as the day grew longer the spelling got much, much worse. All I could do was chuckle. I was busy banging and welding while thinking to myself “Man that’s gonna hurt tomorrow.” I’m sure I’ll get the obligatory “Bro, I’m so sorry for yesterday” texts and my reply will always be the same “No need, been there many times.”
I was taking a break from the build, eating my lunch, and staring at the bike… waiting for some sort of direction when I remembered something someone once told me “if you wake up grateful for the day and you do what you love, then it isn’t work.” I couldn’t be in a more agreeable headspace right now. Now, I’m sure there will be days when it does feel like work, but again I listen to my mentors, when they say to stop and go for a ride to clear your head, that’s exactly what I do. After all, riding is the most important thing about motorcycles, isn’t it? To build and be creative is only a part of the equation, to enjoy the ride is what it’s really about. Sometimes I get so caught up in the “what’s next on the list” that I forget to enjoy the fruits of my labor and get in the wind! Doesn’t the saying go “All work and no play makes Jack dull boy”?
I had been working my ass off; it was time to play. I was invited to The Handbuilt Motorcycle Show 2019 that took place in my back yard of Austin Texas. Man, what a turn out this year it was. Now, if you’re not familiar with the Handbuilt Show, we’ll ya need to be. It’s an invite-only show held every April at the same time as the Circuit of The America’s Formula One Grand Prix races Austin. The Handbuilt Motorcycle Show is exactly that, a collection of some amazing builders and fabricators from around the country. I was very honored and humbled to be a part of the exhibit. One of the coolest things about the show is that it showcased all different style of motorcycles, every style of bike you could think of was their Choppers, Sport bikes, Flat Trackers, Drag, Cruiser, and even some electric models. The HAAS museum even had some of theirs on display. There was one in particular that blew me away, a sleek, slammed futuristic model with acrylic rims. Now whether or not it can do the El Diablo Run I’m not sure, but it definitely was a work of art, the body panel fabrication alone was fantastic. My overall favorite offering was a Panhead by Christian Sosa from Sosa Metalworks. I couldn’t stop staring at it, so clean and fluid that it made me really appreciate the time and energy that’s put into these machines. The three -day event was filled with things to see and do including Hooligan racing and stunt shows; there was definitely something for everyone who attended.
Having been around all those amazing displays of craftsmanship, reinvigorated my drive to get back to my new metal shaping equipment and get some time in on them. Like everything I do, I tend to jump in with both feet and have a sink or swim mentality. That’s exactly what I’ve been doing with all my metal forming equipment, after all, “there’s nothing to it, but to do it.” I’ve gotten some great direction and pointers from some terrific guys who have put plenty of their time into these tools, so I feel like I’m heading down the right path. After all, it’s only metal; it only does two things shrinks and stretches. I’m really excited to see what the next few months brings, all I have to do is practice, practice, practice. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and we all have to learn how to crawl before we can walk. If you’re willing to push the limits of what you think you can or can’t do, then you’ll always be open to learning. When we sit back and criticize others and their work, we stifle our own growth. Be positive, after all there’s enough negativity in the world. With that, I wish you safe and happy riding my friends, be kind to one another and to yourself. God Bless