The Year in Reverse

When I dropped Willis off at Dogtopia and drove to Phoenix, AZ, last January, I had no idea how crazy 2010 was going to get. Five-and-a-half months still remains my high water mark for business travel, a personal record I set in 1990 as the product manager for Mongoose bicycles. In those days 7-8 trips to Taiwan every year were the norm, and my passport reflected that drudgery. Throw in three trade shows, a couple BMX races and a command performance at corporate HQ and you've got a round-trip itinerary to Burnout with extended layovers in Frustration due to weather.

At his boarding kennel two weeks ago, my dog's girlfriend informed me Willis's eighth 20-night package had expired while I was in Germany. That made it official: my current roommate spent 160 nights in a cage while I jetsetted around the planet for business and pleasure. This year's docket included five European distinations, three trips to Taiwan and two dozen weekends of bro downs and photo shoots with clients and friends. Throw in three trade shows, a couple bike rides and a trip to the dermatologist and you've got a pretty good year…


If you lived in a town with over 100,000 citizens in WWII Germany, Allied forces carpet bombed your home into oblivion. Sucks to be a Nazi. Bad Salzuflen in Bavaria survived the onslaught by supporting healthful luft, not the Luftwaffe. the German prefix "Bad" loosely translates to "spa town," but this little burg played host to Europe's biggest motorcycle show on my recent visit.


2010 was a good year for fun and productivity in Taiwan. On my third visit to the Flower Island I met a Chinese chopper builder named Winston Yeh, and wrapped up development on three new cast stainless-steel products in the Biltwell line.

In early November we hosted the Slab City Riot at The Range near Salton Sea. My friend Cindy DuLong visited Salvation Mountain, the man-made homage to zealotry and madness.


October marked the one year anniversary of my Spartankiller project. It's never taken me longer to be less far along on a motorcycle project. Strangely enough, I don't care. When it's done this bike is going to be a lot of fun to ride, and riding motorcycles—not merely trying to build them—is something I have promised to myself I will do more often in 2011.


Our SNAFU Crenshaw and Hawthorne completes made their debut at Interbike, and the guys at Sidewall did a great job showcasing these super-fun bikes to the world. I built one for myself, and it's the bike I've spent more time on this year than any other whip in my quiver. Not enough to lose weight, mind you, but enough to remember how bad my shoulders ache after an hour of bunnyhopping curbs. Next trick for this old dog: re-learning rollbacks.


Bill and I flew to the Big Apple on Virgin America to ride with 150 other Internet outlaws on the Gypsy Run 4. It was the first time I saw my friend Flatiron Mike in nearly three years, so the trip was special. I drove chase in Walt Gemeinhardt's raper van while Bill rode the wild thunder on a loaner bike. Good times.


It wouldn't be summer without a road trip, and this year our friend Joel Smith joined Billdozer and me on a caravan to the Corn Belt. ChopCult members from Oklahoma and Kansas hosted the Twine Ball Run, and it was a blast. No chase trucks, no greasy choppers: just booze and food and good times with new friends. I love being an Internet biker!


The Biltwell 500 was the trip that planted the seed for an EDR resurrection in 2011. On the Sunday after SoCal's Born Free II, 37 of the estimated 1,500 bikeriders who attended that event rode their freedom machines in lieu of merely standing next to them in a parking lot—a novel concept in modern bikerdom. Hell—I even rode my motorcycle through Mexico, something I hadn't done since 2007. Shakas and choppers for everyone.


Mild weather and cool vibes greeted me in May during a whistle stop through New England. On this trip I visited our client and friend Wayne Ahlquist at Acme Choppers in Laconia, New Hampshire, and Biltwell bro's AJ and Todd at Lick's Cycles in northwestern Massachusetts. Acme builds what are to my eye the coolest and most broadly influenced choppers in the game. Wayne's attention to detail and taste for old-school BMX aesthetic imbue Acme bikes with a style unmatched by show bike builders anywhere.


Mom treated us to a family vacation in Europe—her first—and it was awesome. Nuts don't fall far from their trees, so my style of hit-and-run sightseeing meshed perfectly with mom's personal taste for adventure. When it was over we visited five countries in 11 days by plane, by car and by train.

Dutch windmills, Buckingham Palace, Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower… we covered all the hot spots during our whirlwind adventure, with minimal bloodletting between us. Thanks for the great trip, mom. I hope it's one you'll remember. I know I will.


The Jin Pin is a slightly seedy but accommodating business hotel in Taichung that has been my home away from home for over ten years. I spent 30 days in the Jin Pin this year, starting with my first visit of 2010 in March. Say what you want about Taiwan; their IT and cell service kicks Europe's ass.


The Spartankiller really started taking shape in February, with the motor, primary components and polished Sportster mags all getting hung on the frame with care. That's when things ground to a halt. The year was less than 60 days old and already I'd visited Phoenix, Cincinnati and San Francisco. So much for my long winter's nap.

Cocktails and haircare products made strange bedfellows in Cincinnati the first weekend of February, when Mike D., Bill and I met Kyle and Tyler Malinky from Lowbrow Customs at Easyriders' V-Twin Expo. We hosted the first Biltwell Brodown at this cavalcade of chrome, and the whole drunken train wreck was so popular we chose to make it a yearly event.


My 2010 SX season started in Phoenix, Arizona. Before the race, Bill and I visited Foundry Moto for a ChopCult photo shoot. I followed up Phoenix two weeks later with a supercross sabbatical in San Francisco—my seventh year in a row. I guess you can say I live in a rut.


1 comment:

Flatironmike said...

happiest of holidays to you and Willis. best wishes for a rollingest and prosperous 2011.