|Posted on Thursday, February 22, 2018 - 05:13 am: ||
And a Crusty...........
|Posted on Thursday, February 22, 2018 - 11:33 am: ||
Bill was my oldest friend. I first met him sometime before Kindergarten. He lived next door to my aunt and uncle, and when we’d go over to visit, I go play with him. We had several interests in common when we were growing up. One was our love for riding bicycles. We would ride all over Waltham and the surrounding cities and towns.
I remember one time, back in High School when Brother Terrance (our teachers were Christian Brothers) organized a ride out to Walden Pond during Spring Break. By then, most of the other kids had given up on bicycles, and were waiting to get their Driver’s Licenses so they could be cool and drive around. It was about 10 miles over hilly and twisty roads. Bill and I ran away from the group who were straining and panting on their 10 speeds while Bill and I were just cruising on out 3 speeds. We got to the Pond, then turned around and rode back to the group who were about a mile behind us. Once we got there with the group, Bill and I rode around the Pond on a trail through the woods.
Bill and I went our separate ways for a while after High School. He went off to college and I went to work. However, during that time, we both discovered motorcycles. I was into British bikes and Bill was into Harleys. However, our friendship rekindled around motorcycles.
I remember one night in particular when I’d had a very disappointing day while trying to get my ’53 Triump up and running. Bill had left his ’72 Superglide at my house for a couple of days while he replaced the broken bolt that held the ignition advance in place. He had both his car and the bike at the house and asked me to ride the bike over to his place. That ride was magical for me. It was the first time I felt what he felt riding it. It washed all the disappointment of my day away. I never forgot that ride and years later it influenced me so that I bought a Superglide of my own.
Bill had also had a memorable influence toward his choice in motorcycles. One day, when he was 10 or 12 or so, he was in the family car (a ’57 Chevy) with his mother and aunt. His aunt was a miserable old bat to did’t like anybody or anything. They were sitting at a traffic light, and a guy on a red Sportster pulled up beside them. Bill looked at the bike and thought it was the coolest thing he’d ever seen. His aunt made the usual negative comments about riffraff, but Bill was enthralled when the light changed and the Sportster pulled away and he promised himself that one day, he’d own a bike like that.
In 1978, Bill finally got a Red XLH. He flat loved that bike. He was working in the family store six days a week, and would spend hours looking at maps and plotting out routes that he could take on Sunday.
His highlight ride was a trip he took from Massachusetts out to western Nevada. It wasn’t his longest ride, but it was the Ride that really Hit Home for him.
In the meantime, I moved back to Massachusetts and bought a used ’78 FXE with low miles. Bill and I started doing a bit of traveling together. He bought a Superglide tank for his bike (the factory offered a kit) and he continued to ride the bike.
Life, however moved on, as it always does, and Bill sold the Sportster. He had gotten his Masters Degree in Geology and went to work in that field and didn’t have time to ride any more. It didn’t take long before he regretted it. He went through a series of bikes, but wasn’t really happy with any of them, but he finally bought an ’85 Sportster.
This bike was the antithesis of everything that Bill believe a bike should be. It had way too much chrome, and Ape hangers and it was festooned with every possible variation of Live To Ride - Ride To Live emblems, covers etc. The night Bill bought it, I went with him and I rode the bike to the Shop where Bill had Guido go over it.
About that time, Bill moved out to California. The Sportster was a project, and it was going to take a while to get up and running. In the meantime, Bill bought a couple of other bikes, but he was focused on the Sportster. He would regularly keep me informed on his progress. The Bozo he’d bought it from had done everything half assed. If something was supposed to have three bolts, he’d only used two. Little by little Bill was cleaning up the mess.
One morning, Bill was sitting in a coffee shop and overheard a conversation by a bunch of guys who were sitting behind him. They were talking about the Laughlin run. they were all going to trailer their bikes because they didn’t want to get them dirty; and besides, it’s 400 miles away. That’s too far to ride. That’s when he decided to build a bike that would look better the dirtier it got, and would be comfortable enough for long rides.
He decided that the bike would have no chrome, and it would be painted in Army surplus Olive Drab paint. He put a lot of thought into the bike and eventually, the Desert Rat became a reality. He found a good painter once he had everything sorted and the bike became a reality. His inspiration was a military look of around WW2 and he pulled it off really well.
The Rat became his daily rider And he got a Lot of compliments and even entered it in a show and got 1st place, but he still missed the ’78. So he started looking on eBay and finally found one that was pretty close to stock. He was eventually going to convert it to a replica of his old XLH. Bill shipped the ’78 to the shop where he was going to have Guido go through it and get it right, mechanically. We also began talking about a cross country trip on Sportsters. Bill wanted to ride the Desert Rat from LA to Boston, then he and I (on the ’78) would ride to LA while visiting various places on the trip.
Unfortunately, he died before we could do that. After he passed, his sister gave the ’78 to me. I’m hoping that some day I’ll get it rebuilt to look like Bill’s old ’78 as a tribute to an old friend.
Meanwhile, here are a couple of pictures of Bill and the Desert Rat:
|Posted on Thursday, February 22, 2018 - 03:10 pm: ||
^ Nice, Crusty, one of your best.
|Posted on Thursday, February 22, 2018 - 04:08 pm: ||
I found a photo of Bill on his ’78 that was taken in 1982. New England had gotten a fairly large amount of snow, and after getting all the shoveling done, Kathryn and Sandy had come by to visit on their cross country skis. Bill and I took out bikes out and took a few photos. I knew I had pictures of the ’78, but this is the only one with a good view of the sissy bar. One of the denizens of the XL Forum offered to check his stash of sissy bars, and if he has one, will let me have it for the resto. Anyway, here’s Bill on the ’78 during the winter of ‘82
|Posted on Thursday, February 22, 2018 - 04:39 pm: ||
I have to ask, did this Quido that you speak of once live in Denver and work on Bikes?
I once knew a Guido bike mechanic there.
|Posted on Thursday, February 22, 2018 - 05:03 pm: ||
No. Guido's real name is Guy. He uses Guido so as to not be confused with his son, whose name is also Guy. Guido has been the owner of an independent motorcycle shop ever since I first met him in 1972. The shop's name changed from Mack's Motorcycles to GP Motorcycles when it moved from Everett, Massachusetts to Chelsea, MA. A few years ago, it moved once again from Chelsea to Malden.
Guido is a true Master when it comes to Sportsters. He's one of the very few people I'd trust to work on my bike. I sent Bill to see him back in '79 and he solved a problem with Bill's engine that two different Officially Licensed Dealers couldn't fix. Bill didn't trust anybody else as much as he trusted Guido. Maybe I'll do a Snippet on him, one of these days.
|Posted on Thursday, February 22, 2018 - 05:14 pm: ||
Ok, thx for jogging my memory. Now I do remember you speaking of him many times in your posts.
It's just not that common of a name.
|Posted on Thursday, February 22, 2018 - 06:04 pm: ||
That is cool! I would ride that bike!
|Posted on Thursday, February 22, 2018 - 07:10 pm: ||
Outstanding. Bill's aesthetic would work on several of the Sportster builds my old boss has done here in Mur-Vil.
He now owns the #1 dealership in the company, also on the board of directors.
John, if you get to pass through and we can coordinate efforts, I'd love for the two of you to meet. One of my coolest bosses EVAR, and a brother from another mother.