I STARTED riding when I was 14 in Jandowae in Queensland. I’ve been riding motorcycles for 43 years. My first bike was a Royal Enfield that my grandmother and grandfather gave me. They were farmers and they swapped a horse for the Royal Enfield for me. I used to have trouble trying to kick it over. I spent many happy hours working on it to make it go better. I’ve still got scars on my leg from where the kickstarter used to fly back and belt me.
On the weekends, I’d go and sew grain bags up and drive tractors when I was 14 to get some pocket money to pay for parts and fuel for my Royal Enfield. It took a lot of work to make up 30 bob. I used to ride my bike into town through a dirt road. Back then all the roads in Jandowae were dirt. When it rained, the black soil used to build up on the bike’s tyres and forced me to stop to clean all the mud off the tyres. It was so thick that it would stop the wheels from turning. I remember falling off on a regular basis. I used to have permanent gravel rash and bruises and cuts. We weren’t required to wear a helmet back then but it didn’t seem to worry me.
I’ve owned BSAs, Nortons, Triumphs and Harleys. In the ’70s I used to ride my bikes around Toowoomba. Every Easter we used to ride from Toowoomba to Bathurst to watch the bike racing. Sometimes it was freezing cold but we loved it.
My career has been in construction where I was in charge of laying fibre optic and data communication cable. I’ve been working in WA in the mines for the last three and a half years. In the ’70s I worked as a dozer driver/operator in Moomba SA. I also worked for ODE (Oil Drilling Explorations).
I now have a 1981 American Bonneville Triumph that I restored to its present condition. This restoration was really enjoyable. The hardest part was to get the genuine parts.
I’ve always been a Harley Springer man. In 2007, when Harley bought out the CVO Springer, I bought a red one. At that time, I had a 2006 Springer that I’ve since sold. This red CVO Springer is my favourite bike because I like the 21-inch front wheel and it handles really well in all conditions. I especially like how it corners. It’s got more clearance in the foot pegs so it doesn’t scrape when I go around corners.
The bike’s acceleration is the best I’ve ever experienced and the ride is very smooth and comfortable.
It has a Race Tuner and an air-cleaner kit as well as a 110 cube motor.
In 2008, I bought the black CVO Springer. There were too many of the black CVOs around so, after three months, I decided to customise it into a Thor theme. My ancestors are Vikings. On the back fender there is a Viking ship and on the left side of the tank is Thor’s head. My wife says it looks like me. On the right side of the tank, there is Thor’s hammer. This hammer is also painted onto the front fender. I had Thor’s sword painted on each of the side forks as well. I have a matching tattoo on my left arm. It features a Viking sword and a Viking warrior.
I had the headlight chromed because I thought this looked better than the way it came with a painted headlight.
I’ve changed the bolts to chrome throughout the bike. I had much of the chrome work completed by Kunda Park Electroplating.
I’ve fitted the snorkel and I changed the indicators to flame covers.
This bike has won several bike show trophies. I am proud of how it turned out.
I do all my own work on the bikes except the painting. Aden Jacobi and Skinny Mick painted the bike.
I’d like to thank my wife because she understands when I’m tinkering in the garage for days on end.
The CVO Springer for 2009 came out much to my surprise. Harley usually only does a two-year run of same model CVOs. I had to have the 2009 bike to finish the series. I put a snorkel on this one, a Race Tuner, Vance & Hines two-into-one pipes and various other accessories. This bike has a 240 mm rear tyre. The ride is smooth and comfortable.
My next bike project is building a bobber. I’m researching this project now.
I use California Custom cleaning products on all my bikes. People say my bikes are in better condition than the brand new bikes that come off showroom floors.
I really enjoy riding each of my Springers. I attend the National Harley rallies and I am looking forward to going to the biker’s reunion in Toowoomba. The best part of being a biker is that all bikers are part of one, big family. Everyone helps and supports each other.
Pics by Jules @ Top Gun; words by Bill