Nick Dee, a passionate motorcycle aficionado, remembers Happy Days as a kid and being transfixed by Fonz wearing his leather jacket and roaring onto the set on his ride. That was one of Dee's early inspirations to a life of riding that this month saw him judge the Miss Venice Pinup Contest at the Venice Vintage Motorcycle Rally (September 13).
He will also act as an Ambassador at The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride (September 28), a worldwide charity event that involves over 250 city rides across 56 countries that is geared to raise monies to find a cure for prostate cancer. The Los Angeles event, including hundreds of nattily attired gentlefolk, will kick off from the Griffith Observatory where famous motorcycle fan James Dean filmed that classic knife-fight scene from Rebel Without A Cause. Then the group ride continues to Deus Ex Machina USA (motorcycle shop) on Venice Boulevard before heading to downtown LA.
Dee says there's a silent but strong camaraderie between bikers when they're on the road together, but there's also a Zen-like experience. For example, actor Johnny Galecki, star of CBS' top-rated television show, The Big Bang Theory, which premiered its eighth season on September 22, has ridden in similar charity events. He's been riding bikes since he came to Hollywood at age 14. He owns several dirt bikes and a Harley Softail. He only rides when his sitcom is not in production, explaining, "When I ride my Harley up north of LA, there's barely anyone on the roads. And you're just riding among pastures and vineyards. It's oddly Zen-like and meditative, and once you get bit by that riding bug, it's hard to get away from."
A lot of riders, who can never get that bug out of their system, will be turning up for the worldwide DGR event dressed to the nines. And, Triumph Motorcycles is one of the key sponsors of DGR, providing four Triumph Thruxtons to be raffled off this year.
The LA ride, like other DGR rides taking place worldwide, involves riding your custom classic while dressed dapper. The custom classic scene is alive and rapidly growing in every major city of the world. From London to Jakarta, motorcycles are being created that are admired on a global level via social media and the like. The DGR ride is a cool way to unite that scene and get the bikes out for a great cause.
One of the custom classics that will join the DGR LA ride will be the legendary Crocker motorcycle, and as Nick Dee suggests, "Back in the day, Crocker used to be called things like 'The Indian Eater' and 'The Harley Killer' and was known for its speed and top notch engineering. In my book it is the ultimate bike, old or new."
Michael Schacht, the sole shareholder of the new Crocker Motorcycle Co. based in southern California, will be proudly riding a Crocker "Big Tank" at the DGR LA event. Calling the Crocker one of the most beautiful motorcycles ever made, he reports that up to 300 V twin Crocker Motorcycles were built between 1936 and 1942 when the founding company stopped production. And their value has kept rising with an estimated price now at $425,000. Schacht says:
The American-made Crocker was considered the fastest production motorcycle in the world in 1936 when it launched the 61 cubic inch Crocker V Twin Hemi. Far faster then the Harley, Indian or any other production motorcycle anywhere, with exceptional handling. We currently produce concourse perfect parts for the original bikes and now with those same parts, we are manufacturing a continued production of the two original models in a limited hand built production, as was done in 1936-42.
One of the founders of the legendary Boozefighters Motorcycle Club (BFMC), which was the basis for one of the gangs depicted in the mythical biker movie, The Wild One, rode an original Crocker motorcycle. And, more recently, the "new" original Crocker Big Tank won the prestigious "Industry Award" at the Quail Motorcycle Gathering in 2012. It was also called the "Holy Grail" of motorcycles in a Guggenheim Museum coffee table book.
As for the new Crocker Motorcycle's prospects, Schacht enthuses, "People's interest for this new classic beauty remains extensive, and our passion around here runs high, so our goal is to continue resurrecting this amazing brand in the same vein as Al Crocker did."
Ramble on, Crocker and the DGR event!
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