Chopper Class With Mr. Baas
Originally Published In The September 2012 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
July is here and the hot days of summer have come on strong. One-hundred plus days have the roads dry and the bikes running hotter than ever; 70 weight oil has definitely become my friend! I am writing this article from Milwaukee at the Baas farm as yesterday was the annual Knucklehead Reunion at the H-D Museum. The trip has been smooth sailing. Our adventure of riding old bikes around the country began Friday morning with a 1939 Knuck, two 1947s and a 1948 Pan leaving my place around 9:30 a.m. with a 400 mile ride to Milwaukee in our sites. Carl Olsen came in the night before on “Ruby,” his sweet ‘39 EL. Dan Fry and Jason Schulberg showed up Friday morning and we all rolled out. As luck would have it, it has been hot and dry for the last few weeks and not even 2 miles into our trip, a nasty storm started ahead of us. After changing routes to try and stay in the dry pockets, it finally caught us, and before we knew it, we were all soaked to the bone. The rain was coming down so hard that you could barely see the road. Luckily, we found a nice dry bar a few miles j into the storm. After hiding out and having lunch, the rain finally passed and the skies opened up with some hot, humid weather.
The rest of the day went well, the old bikes ran great and we had sunny skies all the way to Milwaukee. We finally arrived around 8:30 p.m. and the Baas farm beers started to flow as we partied into the night, swapping stories and reliving old memories. On Saturday morning, we rolled over to the museum for the show. As always it was an incredible display of over 50 running Knucks, many cool old Pans, some awesome Flatheads, as well as Shovelheads. The day was great. I met many new friends and saw so many cool bikes I wished the day would never end. As the show was going full steam, I had the honor of being spotlighted by Bill Rodencal who was in charge of the day’s event. He introduced me over the P.A. and let everyone know that the new issue of Harley’s HOG magazine had a feature on me. He then turned the crowd over and let me talk about the chopper class. HOG magazine is distributed to over a million people, so I am excited to see how many new connections it will bring as I already have been getting emails about it.
The day wrapped up, and we all headed back to the Baas farm for the night. We settled in to another evening of laughter and good times. Good friend, Mario Sanchez, even stopped in. He now lives in Amsterdam, but was here for the weekend with his family. Today, as I write this, we are about to leave on the bikes and head to the Wisconsin Dells for a night there with Dad, Jason, Dan, Uncle Dean, Mark, and Ronnie. When I get back, there is plenty to do in the Baas Metal Craft compound as I have two bikes I am finishing up for their new owners as well as plenty of steel fabrication work. I have just finished a 1978 Shovelhead for my good friend and tattoo artist Josh Arment who owns Aloha Monkey Tattoo. I also have a 2003 1200 Sporty chop that is heading to South America in a week. These two bikes were my winter projects this past year, and now that they are done, I can focus on my own 1940 ULH and another Knuck project I have in the works.
Summer is flying by super fast. Knowing that fall will be here too soon has me really enjoying these bike trips as the memories made will help to keep me sane through the long, cold Minnesota winters. Stay tuned for next month as I will be doing a tech article on making some cool custom parts for bikes including a side mount tag bracket and a battery box. Until then, keep that vintage bike addiction alive, and remember to ride your bike; trailers are for boats!