Skateboards & Motorcycles: Compare and Contrast
July 20, 2010
|Prev Post||Next Post|
Photo: Greg E. Andrews for the NYT
(center) in his chop shop.Check out this article from the NY Times about a skateboarder who switched his focus to motorcycles after being diagnosed with MS. More now than ever, there are interesting overlaps between skate and motorcycle culture, and people are drawn to them because of the possibility for customization, energy, excitement, and a sense of independence.
By Austin Considne
INDIANAPOLIS - WHEN Lee Bender learned in 2007 that he had multiple sclerosis, he knew right away that his all-consuming passion of nearly 20 years, skateboarding, would no longer be possible.
I was sponsored, skating quite a bit, traveling quite a bit, but that all came to an end, he said, referring to his time on tour representing skate gear makers. My balance is off, so anything that rolls underneath my feet is completely foreign feeling.
What rolls underneath his seat is a different story.
Though his own transition from four wheels to two was compelled somewhat by circumstance, Mr. Bender, a wiry, tattooed, 31-year-old from northeast Indiana, was not alone among skateboarders who have found new expressions of freedom in motorcycles.
On a baseball team, you ve got a coach yelling at you, go faster, do this, do that, he said. With skateboarding, I could do whatever I wanted.
Motorcycles preserved his independence, Mr. Bender said. I m in control of the bike, I do what I want with it.
And at least one motorcycle maker has noted the similar mind-sets of skaters and riders. Harley-Davidson is using star skateboarders to promote a new variation of its Sportster model.
We definitely looked at what these guys were doing and what other guys were doing, and what we saw was this trend toward raw and stripped down, said Paul James, director of product communications at Harley-Davidson.
For skateboarders who grew up dodging cars and often, the security guards who looked after their impromptu practice spots the requirements of a good bike can be reasonably straightforward: a durable machine that makes the trip to and from the skate park but doesn t draw too much attention, the deafening blast of its modified exhaust pipes notwithstanding.
Then there are the skateboarders whose urge to build something more personalized extends to motorcycles. The bikes are customized, but rarely are they chrome cruisers with stretched-out front ends and the high-rise handlebars known as ape-hangers. These are sleek stripped-down machines, recalling a style, popular after World War II, in which owners chopped away excess to make their bikes leaner and faster...
Read the full article here, plus check out a cool photo gallery and a video called "A Friendship from Boards to Bikes" featuring skaters turned motorcycle enthusiasts Rick Eusey and Lee Bender.