There are patriotic tea baggers who might kick me in the head if they heard me say otherwise, but America doesn't have the market cornered on small town values. Hell, there are small towns in Europe whose bus benches are older than the Mayflower Compact. One such burg is Aarle-Rixtel in The Netherlands, home to a self-made funseeker named Paul de Jong.
"Coach" as he's known to an army of Dutch cyclers and grease monkeys has lived in Aarle-Rixtel for 43 years. Paul's workshop is the crown jewel in his small town's two-wheeled throne. Behind the wall of well-organized BMX bikes, parts and accessories at Paul's Boutique you'll find a cache of Paul's other passion: Harley-Davidson Sportsters. It's an obsession his lovely wife Carry shares with her Man in Black, and both Herr und Frau de Jong take the fun of building and riding motorcycles seriously.
When he isn't playing with one or more of the Dutch choppers in his expanding stable of American iron, Paul runs the oldest and most successful BMX boutique in the Benelux. And small town values being what they are in a village of 6,000 people, when the workday is done Paul tackles his patriarchal duties with equal zeal. The hat trick of BMX geek, chopper freak and doting dad might seem small-time to some people, but it's a simple life that suits Paul de Jong just fine.
Job: Paul's Boutique owner/founder since 1995
Coworkers: Three guys on the payroll: me, myself and I
Riding buddies: For BMX, my brother Bart, Sugar Hill locals, Albert, Gerrit, Sander and all the guys on the Paul's Boutique team. For MX: Bart, Maisplak Kings, Nikolai, Vereijken 199 and the guys on the Vans BMX team. On motorcycles it's my wife Carry, Andy Zeiss, Tilly, 3Hoek crew, Maat and Bernbuster. Hopefully I'll do an EDR soon
First time on two wheels: I got my motorcycle license in 1991, so riding for 22 years now. Motocross for 13 years and BMX for over 30 years. But since I live in the Netherlands everybody rides a bike before they can walk, so let's call it 43 years on two wheels
First hand-built motorcycle: A '75 Honda CB500, but my '72 XLH1000 ironhead has been modified the most, so that's probably the first one
Earliest two-wheeled adventure: I rode to Belgium to see Metallica play with just my bike and a sheet of plastic to make a tent. The CB500 ran out of gas on the motorway and I had to push it to a village to fill it up
Most recent two-wheeled adventure: I just returned from a trip between Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon with Andy Zeiss. We rode 600 miles in a day and a half and I ran out of gas on the motorway again! It started sputtering so I gased it to a hundred, pulled in the clutch and coasted off the freeway. There was a lady on the side of the road with a sign that said I NEED FOOD, and when I blew past her I screamed, "I NEED GAS!"
Current stable of bikes and projects: I recently bought another new project to complete my Sportster collection. Now I've got the following: a 1967 XLH900. This will be my daughter Avy's bike when she turns 18 in 2028. A 1972 XLH1000. This will be my son Boyd's bike when he turns 18 in 2024. An '86 XLH1100 that's still under construction. It was Rob Roskop's old bike from San Francisco. And finally a 2000 Buell X1 1200. Oh, and a KTM SX144 to hit the cornfields in the winter
Tool I wish I had but don't: I just bought a TIG welder last month, so I guess a CNC pipe bender is my next dream machine
Tool I have but wish I didn't: A crowbar
Heaven on Earth: Aarle-Rixtel, if I could move it to Hawaii!
Proudest moment: The birth of my children Boyd and Avy, they are awesome!
Darkest secret: Black. You will never, ever see me wearing anything blue
Deepest fear: Death
Biggest regret: 1997
Reason for being: To have as much fun as possible, to live fast, but not die too young
If I lost my right arm: I still have a left arm and it would save time and money at the tattoo shop, so I'd be fine. I would make a bike to ride with one arm and do the same as before
Thanks: To my wife Carry for all the support, Mum & Dad, brother Bart and all the cool people I have met in this crazy world—you know who you are—and last but not least, the entire Hardcore Drinking Team