When Mike Shustak asked me to write a column about cars for Pawling Public Radio, I was at first a little apprehensive being that I have never really thought of myself as much of writer. I then thought, well, he asked me to write about cars. Classic cars and Harley Davidson motorcycles have been my hobbies for as long as I can remember. If it has a motor in it, be it a lawn mower, an airplane, or a dump truck, it fascinated me.
I think my real first attempt when I was a kid to build my own motorized transportation was to remake an old lawn mower my dad gave me to experiment with. I immediately disassembled it and try to find a way to adapt the motor to my Schwinn Stingray bicycle, not really knowing that a bottom shafted motor would not really work well mounted sideways on a bicycle held on by scrap iron and whatever other materials I could dig up from my dad’s workshop. Although Dad knew the project was never really going to work, he always supported me throughout my project interjecting some ideas for my design.
As time went on and in my early teens, I acquired my first mini-bike (much to my Mom’s dislike) and from then on there was no stopping me. From mini-bikes I, of course, had to get a street bike at the age of 16 when I could drive. I found a 1966 Harley Davidson Sportster that I was able to purchase for $600.00 (my life’s savings at the time) that had no electric starter, just a kick start. (If there is anybody reading this that owned a 1960’s Harley with a kick starter, you know what the term Sporster knee will mean.) When you would kick start these early model Sportsters, some times the kicker gear would slip causing the kicker pedal to release allowing your knee to overextend causing great pain or even sometimes strained knee ligaments; hence the term Sportster Knee.
I am going to try and write a new column bimonthly about cars or trucks, motorcycles or anything else with a motor. If anybody has any ideas or would like to tell me about their classic cars or motorcycles, you can e-mail me at email@example.com.
Drive safe and I hope to hear from some of you with your stories about your motoring adventures.
(Tom Meyers is a Pawling resident with a passion for motorcycles and classic cars.)