Pennsylvania ranked fifth among all states in rider crashes in 2017. Motorcycles are dangerous. We’ve heard this far too often. What’s more dangerous? Other people in cars. Getting into an accident isn’t something you can plan for, especially if you’re unfortunate enough to get rear ended by a drunk driver. After living in Pittsburgh for only two months, that’s exactly what happened to Travis Gaines on Stanton Avenue while riding his 1979 Kawasaki KZ400.
CB350 Cafe Racer
To me, it’s always great meeting younger people that are interested in building custom motorcycles. It’s even better when they build something truly impressive. On his own time and in his own garage, Andrew Frederick slowly put together this meticulous 1973 Honda CB350G that he calls “Princess”, simply because it requires a great deal of love and attention. This was his first true custom build and took roughly seventeen months to finish—hence the number seventeen on the tail.
1988 Sportster Chopper
Do you know what’s enjoyable to sit and think about sometimes? The evolution of our own personal interests. Time has a definite influence over our curiosities. In John Wagner’s case, the progression that led to his interest in choppers makes perfect sense. Dirt bikes led to skateboarding, which led to cars and more motorcycles. There’s a good chance this sounds familiar to many of you.
Do you ever think ahead about where your interest in bikes might lead you over the years? Motorcycles exist throughout the countless stages of our lives in various forms. They become a dependable accomplice connected to our past, present, and future. Down the line the stories will start to pile up—and so will the parts. This connection of man and machine manifests in someone like Greg Gump—a true motorhead with a passion that stretches through generations.
“I bought a brand new skateboard two months ago, and I haven’t even touched it yet,” Brian Petronchak mentioned while we photographed his stunning Triumph TR6 at Brady’s Run Skate Park in Beaver County. Balancing between building bikes, his job at a custom car shop, and his family can get tricky—especially now that he is a new father.
1977 Yamaha XS650
Steve Simqu works throughout the day as a CAD manager and project engineer. In other words, he does a lot of mechanical stuff. In the evenings he tinkers in the garage with his many projects. We first ran into each other at the 2017 Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, which you’ll read about later in this issue. He led our group out of Oakland to start the two-hour ride on his custom-built Yamaha XS650.
I must admit that I have a serious problem when it comes to Craigslist’s motorcycle section. I spend way too much time scrolling through endless pages for absolutely no reason and spending money I do not have. Sometimes, if I’m lucky, I will catch a brief moment of clarity that assures me I already have too many bikes and absolutely do not need anymore. Hell, I can’t even park my car in the garage.
'72 Shovelhead Chopper
Whether it takes months or years, your first build or your twentieth, there’s an extremely satisfying feeling that comes from building something yourself—especially a moody two-wheeled machine. From the realization that you’re starting a build to hearing the sound of the engine roar, the thrill looms throughout the whole damn process. It’s much more than just the finished motorcycle.
Riding off-road throughout his childhood while being inextricably surrounded by Harley-Davidson motorcycles made it certain that Pauly Covel’s interest in big twins would develop into something greater. His brother, Tony, mentioned that since he was young Pauly had a knack for fixing things around the house.
XJ750 Cafe Racer
More than just somewhere to put our junk, a home needs to be an environment that is both interesting and practical. Plunging into the research process takes time and can be quite exhausting. The countless options can leave us endlessly wondering if there isn't some place better. Additionally, many Pittsburgh neighborhoods are experiencing transitional growth, causing conflicting feelings from established residents.