Let me explain a few things about myself. I am in my mid-thirties,I have three kids, a wonderful husband, and I love to cook. I look like a “girly-girl” My nails are always polished, I keep my skin soft. My hair, well I try anyway. But I have a job that never fails to get a few snickers, especially from “manly men”.
I custom design and build motorcycles. My husband has been riding, repairing, and customizing bikes since he was seventeen. I won’t say how long it has been because it makes both of us feel old. I have always enjoyed riding, but usually on the back where I could just relax and enjoy the views. I finally decided I wanted my own bike, but I wanted it to be my bike. As in it was an extension of myself.
We went to all the normal dealerships and looked through their selections. My problem was they were all the same. I wanted to be different. I didn’t want a bike the same as everyone else. Also, all the bikes were more masculine than what I wanted. Yes, I know Sportsters are meant to be women’s bikes, but every female rider has one already. What is the fun in that? I asked all the salesmen how we could make it a bit more feminine and custom for me. I was told that a lot of female riders use roses to make their bikes more feminine. Roses, really? Also after you buy the bike, which isn’t cheap, then you can buy all these other parts to customize it. Maybe I am weird, but why buy a bike you don’t really like, then spend a few thousand more to make it what you want?
I left the showroom feeling like I would never have my own bike. When we got home my husband made a great suggestion. Why don’t we just build you a bike? “Great! Wonderful! I want it to be purple with the metallic finish. I want to be the the only one riding, so I don’t need a back seat.” I told him enthusiastically. I thought I was done. Since I told him that I just thought the bike would appear in my driveway in a few days. Boy was I wrong! “Oh no,” said my husband, “if this is going to be your bike, you are going to build it.” What, I thought, isn’t that what I have him for.
My husband sat me down in front of the computer and began showing me different types of bike. I had to choose between choppers, bobbers, cruisers, touring bikes, sport bikes, then I had to decide on the engine, chain or belt drive, fat tire or skinny, whoa, my head was spinning. It took a while, but I finally made a few decisions.
We ordered the parts I had chosen. They came all wrapped up nice and pretty. My husband said we had to fit the parts on the bike to make sure everything fit properly. I had to put all the things together, and spin the tires to make sure nothing was rubbing. It was coming together but it was that plain steel color because we hadn’t painted it yet. I was hoping that would be soon.
I did want a few special thins on the bike we could not find at any of the suppliers, so my husband pulled out his wielding torch. I sat down prepared to watch him put everything together. My darling husband looked at me and informed me that I was going to learn how to wield. What!?! I burn myself when I fry chicken and he wants me to put my hands on this? Fine, let it be on his head when I wield my clothes to the bike. He gave me a few lessons, then had me practice. I liked it. A lot. This was more fun than I thought it would be.
After we got the parts fitting properly, fabricated the other parts, sent them off for painting and chroming, and got them back, we did the final build. My bike was done. It was absolutely gorgeous. I took it for a spin and it was perfect.
After that ride, I started thing about how many other people felt like I did. I talked to my husband about it and he agreed. We were going to start our own business. I love using my imagination to figure out how to make it look like vines are covering a set of handlebars and many other things customers have requested.
Yes, some guys at the rallies give me funny looks, or snicker when I say I build the bikes, but once I show them a few designs they usually shut-up quickly. My husband and I have fun working on these projects together, and the kids are getting in on it, too. It has been hard but fun. I plan on doing this for a very long time.