In our modern times life can be crushingly easy. We often have to take the stupid route to test ourselves, take some risks and find some excitement. Riding old motorcycles is on the surface a glamorous practice. It’s also a road full of breakdowns and disappointment. When they run right though, out there on the open road, they are hugely satisfying. To keep an old bike running you need to be able to at least maintain it yourself and know how to listen and feel the bike as it’s running to know when something isn’t right and needs attention.
When you fix your own machine you feel a great sense of accomplishment and a wave of manliness washes over you. This is amplified if you have actually built the bike up yourself. ‘Deathcat’ Tom is a man who not only builds bikes, but actually fabricates components to produce fantastic vintage Harley Davidson choppers. This photo was taken in his lair.
We like spending time in our own sheds and we love to visit the lairs of others. It was a real treat to chat to Tom and have a look round his workshop and see some of the bikes that are current works in progress. A set up like this is not created overnight. Neither is it available to just buy with cash. Time is spent learning, listening, making mistakes, trying things out, collecting parts and tools and stories.
Just imagine how cool it will feel for Tom to ride on the Panhead chopper in this photo when it’s built up. He will feel invincible and it will be worth all the difficulties.