WHEN YOU were a little nipper, growing up and flicking through the bike mags or car magazines, if you’re anything like me, you would have imagined yourself owning your dream vehicle; actually owning that mag-wheeled Charger or Harley-Davidson chopper. But how exactly did you picture it when you were day-dreaming about it? Did you see yourself driving down the main street of your town and waving to everyone you know? Were you driving past your high-school while the hottest girl was staring at you in awe? Or were you alone on a deserted highway, cruising along at 130 km/h, listening to the purr of the motor?
Now, question two, since you became an adult and obtained one of those ‘dream vehicles’, did the scenario you pictured in your imagination ever actually happen?
Again, if you’re anything like me, probably not exactly! Being as big a day-dreamer as I was while at high-school brings with it inherent problems. I mean, as a 16-year-old, my dream was to ride across Australia with my best mate on two immaculate old-school choppers, stopping along the way for adventures. Oh, and we had to be on some sort of ‘mission’, and this had to somehow fit in with whatever career aspirations I had at the time and, of course, had to be within my extremely limited financial means… not to mention that my best mate at the time had absolutely no interest in motorcycles! You get the picture.
Top Chop Moments
Just because I haven’t (yet) achieved said ‘fantasy scenario’ doesn’t mean I haven’t experienced other great moments of Chopper Nirvana. I mean, the hundreds of sexual encounters I experienced in my mind as a 15-year-old didn’t all eventuate either—but I did manage to stumble across plenty later in life that I would have had no chance of dreaming up! But I digress. We’re not talking about Penthouse Forum fantasies; I’m talking about ‘top chop moments’.
Yeah, riding a chop is damn fun 99 percent of the time. But occasionally I stumble across a moment—a snapshot in time—when it all comes together and just fuckin’ rocks. And somewhat amazingly, a recent ‘moment’ of mine was caught on camera. I say ‘amazingly’ because, for the large amount of riding I do, and for the huge number of photos I take, it’s very rare I get a photo of me riding along. So when a top snap like this is taken, I get a bit excited.
This pic was taken on the way to the recent Rat Rod Day in Sydney. A few of the boys had decided to meet at Daz’s workshop in Marrickville, then we would ride the 20 minutes or so to Taren Point for the show. Well, instead of five bikes, 12 showed up, including a pre-unit Trumpy bobber, a Panhead chopper, a BSA bobber, and no less than four unit Trumpy chops.
The pic shows me cruising along the foreshore next to Guy on his Panhead chop, with Buzz from Melbourne on his Trumpy chop in the background. If you look closely at my face you can see a half-smile or a ‘contented grin’, and you can almost read my mind: “How fuckin’ good is this!? It’s 10 am on a Saturday morning, and I’m riding along with a group of the coolest bikes I’ve seen in a while, heading to the best show of the Sydney hotrod calendar year, knowing that the day is young, the pub taps are full of beer, and the world is a fucking righteous place!”
When you have a particular taste for old-school British chops, a group such as this is pretty rare. Your particular Chopper Nirvana is likely to be something different. It might be riding with hundreds of bikes at the Hells Angels Poker Run. It might be alone on the freeway at midnight, or kicking your bike over at dusk after spending the night camped out in a frosty field.
I had lunch at the pub with Skol (Ozbike Publisher) the other day and he said something that really appealed to me: “You know, after all these years of riding motorcycles, all the different bikes I’ve ridden, all the different places I’ve been, I’ll still be out riding and thinking, ‘This is just so bloody great’.”
Here’s hoping we all have plenty more years of that feeling.
words & pics by Wasko.