10 Years on 2 Wheels - 2006 to 2007

I've been neglecting the blog but I've still been busy riding, wrenching, and taking tons of photos this year.  I couldn't let October go by without acknowledging a very significant milestone.  I bought my first motorcycle almost exactly 10 years ago today and, yes, it is the same exact same bike that has the black and red lace rattlecan paintjob that I still ride today.

I took this photo yesterday while riding through Wisconsin.  Yes, I swear it's the same bike.  I've just changed a few things and put a lot more miles on it.

I thought it might be fun to take a look back and post some photos from the last 10 years, one year at a time.  While you may have seen some, I'll try to post a bunch you haven't seen before.  Some will be a little embarrassing, but that's half the fun of old photos.

This is my 2004 XL1200C when it was brand new to me in October 2006.

I considered starting with a smaller bike but am so glad I didn't as I never grew out of it.  I found the bike on the website Car Soup.  It was at a car dealer and it was apparently used as a trade-in.  It was pretty much stock with 8,000 miles on it.   The trick was that the dealer was down in Burnsville and I live 30 minutes north.  My only experience riding motorcycles was at the weekend MSF course and I never made it past 2nd gear on the 250cc loaner bike in the community college parking lot.  I will never forget how nervous I was just trying to start the thing at the dealer and not look like a total dumbass.  The ride home was insane.  I had to work my way up to 5th gear and the wind felt ridiculously strong, I felt like I was going to get blown off the back of the bike.

Right away, I made my first modification.  I can laugh about this now, but I added this Willie G skull to the sissy bar.  I thought it was pretty cool at the time.  Obviously, I was born to customize motorcycles.

As Christmas approached, my wife and I immersed ourselves in all things Harley-Davidson including getting photos with Santa at not one but two dealerships.  I look so young without a beard.

With only a little bit of fall riding under my belt, I spent the winter making modifications to the bike to make it more comfortable 2-up and easily convertible for solo riding.  I added a cushy 2-piece Mustang seat and a removable windshield.  I swapped the sissybar for a removable one with a luggage rack.  For looks, I removed the tank trim and gas cap and added a Mustang tank bib and, of course, Willie G skull gas cap.  I swapped the derby cover, I added trim rings to the headlight and turn signals, and got a curved laydown license plate holder.

In February, I started taking photos at motorcycle shows, which I continue to do to this day.  This is the International Motorcycle Show (I don't think it was branded "Progressive" back then) where the Nightster debuted.  Remember the Nightster?  'Member??

My wife and I were back out riding in late March and performance modifications were next.  I ditched the stock muffler and air cleaner for a set of Python3 slip-ons and an Arlen Ness Big Sucker.  The air cleaner swap and carb jetting would end up being the only modifications to this bike that I didn't do myself.  My wife and I rode all over the place on the bike.

In June, we took our first multi-day motorcycle-only trip to the Minnesota HOG Rally in Duluth.  Yes, I was briefly a HOG member.  Again, I can laugh about this now.  It was hot when we left Minneapolis but it was freezing up around Lake Superior.  We had to buy extra layers and gloves.  We had fun riding around the north shore and into Superior National Forest.  We even took part in the giant HOG parade through town, which was very cheesy but kinda cool.

The culmination of my first year on two wheels was Sturgis 2007.  I rode the Sportster and my wife followed in our CR-V but we rode around 2-up once we got there.  We stayed in Rapid City and attended the back-half of the rally.  Seeing the Black Hills on a motorcycle was amazing.  Being surrounded by so many other bikes was incredible.  Here are some photos from the trip.  The craziest moment was definitely riding through the middle of a buffalo herd.  It was stupid, but awesome.

I commemorated the trip with my first (and still only) tattoo at Buddha's on Main Street.  I remember thinking that it might hurt at first but I assumed it would numb up as the endorphins kicked in.  Nope, I was wrong.  It hurt the whole damn time.  After he was done, the artist told be to put A+E ointment on it.  I had no idea what that was.  My wife and I rode out of town to a Wal-Mart where an employee rolled his eyes and took me to the baby aisle.  I am a little surprised I haven't gotten more tattoos over the last 10 years but I have no regrets about this one as it's deeply meaningful to me.

After it healed:

While we took 2 days to get out there, we came back in one.  The 600-mile ride back in a single day remains the longest day trip I ever had on my Sportster and my ass and back hurt so bad by the time I got home.  I could barely walk.  I covered 2,000 miles on that trip alone.

I put about 8,000 miles on the bike in the first full year of ownership.  It is still the most I have ridden in a single year.  I had so many good times, both solo and with my wife on the back.  We went out riding all the time - in the evening after work and on weekends.  We always enjoyed road trips together and the bike gave us a brand new way to experience them.

Be sure to check back soon for more old photos and stories.

Comment with Facebook


Comment with Chopcult (0)

Please Login to Comment

Recent Blogs

From Our friends at DicE Magazine

We are very pleased to announce that our @bornfreeshow 10 book is now available for pre-sale! The 270 page, hard bound book, features photography by Ben Zales and Shane Markland. The beautiful design and layout was handled by our very own, Jimmy Dean Horn.This is a limited run of only 500 books! These will ship out next month. Go to:

Enter to win our Ride To Born-Free Contest

We are fortunate to have the support from great brands and individuals that have supported the website and our crazy ideas over the years. One being our Ride to Born-Free promotion which has gifted thousands of dollars in product. The concept is straightforward: pack your bike with the necessary gear, enjoy the ride to Born-Free and share some photos using a particular hashtag for the chance to win. For Born-Free eleven we have joined forces with the following to award three lucky enthusiasts a plethora of goodies who use the #ridetobf11 hashtag. Please do us a solid and give them a follow for supporting our community.

One million thanks to:

Born-Free / @bornfree

Biltwell Inc. / @biltwell

Lowbrow Customs / @lowbrowcustoms

Loser Machine / @losermachine

DB Custom Leather / @duaneballard

Sweatshop Ind. / @sweatshopind

Basket Case Magazine / @basketcasemagazine

Old Bike Barn / @oldbikebarn

Gnarly Magazine / @gnarlymagazine

The Speed Merchant / @thespeedmerchant

Coffin Culture / @coffin_culture

Harley-Davidson / @harleydavidson

S&S Cycle Inc / @sscycle

Rolling Heavy Magazine / @rollingheavymagazine

Bison Motorsports / @bisonmotorsports

0Given / @0_given

No School Choppers / @noschoolchoppers

Twin Power / @twinpower

Metzeler Moto / @metzelermotousa

and last but not least the owners of

TO ENTER: Please share your journey on Instagram and included the hashtags #chopcult, #ridetobf11, #bornfreeshow and #BF11 to your post. We will announce the winners on Friday via Instagram. The three winners will meet at the ChopCult booth by 11:30 am on Saturday morning (6/22) to claim your winnings.

Be sure to sign up for your free roadside assistance card from our friends at Russ Brown before you hit the road. They will have your back 24/7. Tell them ChopCult sent ya!

Ride safe, and we'll see you soon!!!!!

Add Some Alpha 6 Color To Your World

Get your kit up to date with all of the Alphanamel colors. You will receive all 17 of the newest colors of Alphanamel since the beginning of 2019 in this megapack for $74.95 + Shipping and Handling (a $170.00 Value). The MEGAPACK includes two once bottles each of: Blood Orange, Hot Pink, Liquid Sunshine, Monster Green, Dark Olive, Army Green, Doug DORr's Green, Tan, Chocolate Brown, Dark Teal, Light Teal, Bright Teal, Raspberry Sherbert, Lemon Sherbert, Mint Green, Blueberry Sherbert, and Orange Sherbert. Go here to purchase yours! Be sure to use the code NEWCOLORS at check out.

Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!

Join Magoo and friends at the New Egypt Speedway, easy to get to, right down the road from Great Adventure. Buy, sell, have a good time with like-minded individuals. Get in line early to gain vendor access - $15.00 per spot. Follow the swap on Instagram for updates. See you soon!

Let's Go Racing! Hot Summers Nights Dirt Track Races

Join Meatball and the gang on Saturday Night for their Dirt Track Party. June 15th at Perris Raceway on Burton Rd, gates open at 1pm. Website/ Facebook / Instagram / Register for this race

This Weekend - The 20th Anniversary Smoke Out

Join Edge and his friends for the 20th Anniversary of the Smoke Out. This is Edge's final year with the event, so make sure to give him a high five for his years of service. Camping gates open at 10 am on Thursday, the Smoke Out opens on Friday. General admission and camping passes are available on site.

Smoke Out Event Ticket (no camping) at the gate:
Covers Fri and Sat - $40
Covers Sat only - $35

Camping tickets do not get you into the event.  Camping tickets are only available at the camping gate (behind the event area) during the event:
Camp Thurs, Fri, Sat - $45
Camp Fri and Sat - $40
Camp Sat only - $25

Click here for the full schedule

New Focus Feature: The Greasiest Moto Show

Big thanks to Alec Ozawa for covering The Greasiest Motorcycle Show for ChopCult. Go to to check out his article. Thanks!

Stolen Motorcycle Alert- Hollywood, CA

Stolen motorcycle out of Hollywood, California please contact the folks at TRIco or Ben with any information! Thank you.

Reposted from @tricostore - STOLEN!!! This bike was stolen last night from the Hollywood area between 7:45PM and 5:30 AM. Please contact PD or us directly. Possible dark grey Chevy Or GMC truck involved. Possibly Silverado. Missing left side view mirror. This bike belongs to our good friend Ben Zales and any info leading to it recovery is greatly appreciated. PLEASE HELP US SPREAD THE WORD!!

Stolen Motorcycle Alert - Queens, NY

Stolen motorcycle out of Queens New York - please contact @jessicacorallo with any information. Thanks for the heads up, @baby_girl_faunce.

Repost via @jessicacorallo - "STOLEN BIKE ALERT! 1974 HONDA CB 550 Some asshole stole our bike last night, in front of my apartment in Sunnyside, Queens.1974 Honda cb550
Please keep an eye and ear out for any info. Reward if found!"

HOTP: Issue #8 - Gnarly Magazine

Order Issue #8 of Gnarly Magazine, featuring lowbrow artists, pinstripers, sign painters, builders, hot rods, motorcycles, tattoos, humor, Kustom Kulture lifestyle, and more! Sixty-four pages of full-color glossy awesomeness!

Artist Spotlight on:
Danger Lindsay
Matt Johnson
Greg Lodato
Matt Beckner
Masters of the Brush - Learning from leaders in the Kustom industry at the Brushmasters Get-A-Way by Vince Lindsay
Charvel/Jackson Guitars Celebrate 40 years of Super Strat Innovation by Jeff Alexander
Rob Roskopp Face Skateboard Deck Step-by-Step Restoration by Jeremy Lindvig
Creature Features Host Rises Again - John Stanley Talks All Things Horror by Jeff Alexander
Featured Artist - Ben Brown
Creating Art for Freaks from a Land Down Under
Featured Artist - Kevin Kirkpatrick
Special effects makeup artist and sculptor
Heavy Cream
1988 Sportster Chopper Build by Nic Jacobs
Written by Jenni Mama Bird Jacobs
Featured Artist - Dave Parmley of Kustom Kult Studio
Master of the Mojave
A short story by Doc Clancy
Pop Surrealist - Bibs Lovelypam
Dear Dr. Pinstriper

Grab yours here.
Share This



ADVERTISE    |    CONTACT    |    ©2009 - 2017 ChopCult    |    REPORT ABUSE    |    CONDUCT

Chopcult on Instagram Chopcult on Pinterest Chopcult on Tumblr Chopcult on Facebook Chopcult on Twitter