Writer's Ramblings
Staff

Staff

Gail’s vision started years ago and now it’s a reality. The plan for her new facility had been in the works long before the groundbreaking ceremony that took place on Feb 9, 2004. Her sparkling new 55,000 square foot complex, the largest dealership in the Midwest, officially opened for business on Nov 6, 2004. Gail’s Open House on November 26 and 27, 2004 was a very memorable event, but as it turns out, the real party had not yet begun!

From the Feel the Power web site: The comment has been, 'Wow what a big beautiful dealership.' Now they will be saying, 'Wow what a big celebration.' The sky is the limit to this Open House!

On April 2, 2005, Gail hosted the largest grand opening for a Harley-Davidson dealership this area has ever seen! The weather was perfect and an estimated 10,000 people participated in the event. There were so many people that local law enforcement had to control traffic at the intersection of Highway150, US 71 and the dealership entrance.

Live musical entertainment was provided throughout the day by the bands Ice Cold, and Racy Grace. Custom cars were on display from the South 71 Cruises car club, several vendors were spread throughout the parking lot, and radio stations 610 Sports, 98.1 KUDL and 99.7KY were there to cover the event. People also crowded around the new and expanded Dyno shop to watch the torque and horsepower gauges rise as big bore machines were wound up. For the kids, there was the inflated Moon Walk, balloon artists, caricature artists, a sparkle tattoo artist and free Frisbees. A large amount of food was served; to the tune of 15,000 hamburgers and hot dogs! Believe it or not, the sky wasn’t the limit! An Apache helicopter was brought in for display and the Skydive Kansas City team performed jumps.

Probably the most exciting entertainment though was the Harley Stunts team. If you’ve not seen these riders, you’ve missed out! The back lot was blocked off for their exhilarating demonstrations. With fine tuned, high powered, customized Sportsters and Buells, local riders Jeff Schneider and Aaron Cline performed a variety of amazing wheel stands, burnouts, power skids and many other challenging and daring feats. Black clouds rolled off the rear wheels and the smell of burnt rubber filled the air. They are an intensely exciting couple of riders and the crowd loved their performances.

This Grand Opening event was as gigantic as this gleaming new facility! Even with the volume of people present for the celebration, it was still amazingly accessible inside—a tribute to the new open floor plan. Bike serviceability has improved, and with 20 new bays, you should have very minimal wait for service. Should you be in for just a quick fix, take advantage of the customer lounge area, complete with cushy chairs, Internet accessible PCs, a pool table, a large plasma TV and hot coffee. On Saturdays, warm Otis Spunkmeyer chocolate chip cookies (my favorite!) are served. Did I mention bikes? Oh yeah! Well, there is a significantly larger showroom to display more than 75 of the latest H-D models. And you still have room to walk between them!

This is a place where you can enjoy yourself. Just drop in sometime, strike up a conversation with fellow riders or staff members, wander along the walls of custom parts, shop in the clothing area or evaluate the newest big twins and Sportsters. You won’t be disappointed. Gail’s new facility is a showcase that Harley enthusiasts will enjoy for years to come. Being part of this Grand Opening celebration is something you can share with your grandkids when you bring them in for their first Harley!

Story by Nic

Photos provided by Roger Fleener, with aerial photo by Michael Mihalevich

MidAmerica PowerSports Plus
(MAPSP) is a full service
dealership for all makes of motorcycles and most years and models. Their franchised
brands are MZ and KYMCO.
MAPSP is a corporation owned by four partners and has been in
business at 9909 E. Hwy 40 since April of 2004. In late 2003, Curtis and Paula
Fisher approached Dan and Rosanne Prindle, owners of D&R Cycle Repair in
Lee’s Summit, Missouri about a merger with MAPSP and the partnership began in
January 2004. In the first year of operation, the team of MAPSP is raising the
bar in Power Sports services and customer satisfaction. They are the first in
many areas of services in the Kansas City area.

Racing: They
a proud sponsor for the LARace Endurance Team running an MZ 1000S in the WERA
Endurance Championship.
Bike Event Sponsors for:
• Bikers for Babies
• Habitat for Humanity
• National Bikers Roundup
Certified Pre-Owned Motorcycles
They carry all types of used
bikes and specialize in Certified Pre-Owned Sport Bikes and Cruisers. Each used
bike gets evaluated for mechanical soundness and cosmetics against the following:
1. Compression Test
2. Leak-Down Test
3. Valves Checked/Adjusted
4. Spark plugs, air and oil filters, engine and/or transmission oils are replaced
5. Factory Pro EC997 Dynamometer Tuned
6. Oil/liquid cooling systems are inspected and maintenance performed if necessary
7. Suspension systems are evaluated and repaired if worn or leaking
8. Brakes are checked and replaced if more than 50% worn
9. Tires replaced if greater than 40% worn
10. Custom jury-rigs are removed and replaced with stock parts, if dented or
crashed, parts are normally painted as new or replaced entirely. Cosmetically
the bike is put back to as-new stock condition if possible.

All of their Certified Pre-Owned bikes come with a 6 month nose-to-tail warranty.
They strive to keep it simple, so the only stuff they don't cover is tires or burnt
clutches (you can smell them), cosmetic or environmental damage, and they cover
the brake pads to 5000 miles (if the pads wear out, they will change them without
charge). Besides these minor disclaimers, everything else is covered. Light
bulb goes out? Bring it in, and they'll replace it immediately. Transmission problems?
Chain worn? They will repair or replace any systems or parts as quickly as they
can be obtained.
Tires - Parts and Accessories
MAPSP can order any stock
part for your bike or ATV and they have many maintenance parts in-stock already.
For you Horse Power Folks they can order any kind of performance accessories/packages
and bundle those with an installed price and Dyno Test/Tuning unmatched by any
other shop in town!
They carry full lines of Woman
and Men’s riding gear/apparel at the best sale prices in town. Their kids
dirt riding gear is a huge selection at low prices! They also have a “Trade
Up” program in place for kids gear that will allow you to trade that new
gear that your boy/girl has hardly worn (but since grown out of), for credit
towards new gear.
Service Center
Dan Prindle runs the Service and
Performance Center and with over 30 years in the business of high performance
tuning, he is the man to see for both your service and performance needs.
Maintenance Center


• Complete rebuilds
with a full year warranty
• Machining


• Fork rebuilding
and servicing
• Boring


• Shock installs

• Honing


• Exhaust system
installs
• Valve Jobs



Chain and sprocket installs
• Welding


• Steering damper
installs
• Fabrication
Services


• Brake and clutch
work
• Race bodywork
mounting


• Tire mounting
and balancing

Racebike preparation


• Oil changes

 


Performance Center


Diagnostic Dynamometer
Step Test with 4-gas EGA
$55.00


Sport ATV’s
$65.00


Two Stroke (ATV &
Bike)
$80.00


Power Commander Tune
$300.00


Suzuki - Teka Tuning

$250.00


Rejetting
1 to 4 cylinders
+$200 to $700 to any
of the above


Aprilia/Triumph/MZ

$795.00*


*These
are Sagem ECU’s that are tuned with Tune-Boy Software and require
purchase of a key that belongs to your machine alone. Tuning takes a week
and the key must be pre-paid.


NKC Custom Apparel has been located in North Kansas City for just over four years now, but they have over 30 years of experience in the screen-printing and embroidery business. Since their start in Kansas City, they have made a tremendous impact on the biker community, providing event and rally T-shirts, and designing corporate identities for local and national bike shops and merchants.

NKC’s father and son team of Santo (Pops) and Santo Jr. Smiroldo, have put together a highly talented and caring staff, including some very imaginative graphic artists. And they are cranking out some of the best custom apparel in the area. They specialize in creating shirts, coozies, jackets, hats and other swag at rock bottom prices. This is by no means a small-time operation. You’ll find them at most of the local biker events as well as the larger biker rallies; and even as far away as Bike Week in Daytona Beach, Florida at the Arlen Ness Showroom/Shop.

They feature high quality T-shirts and jackets for corporate apparel, including sportswear, and as I already mentioned, some great biker T-shirts. If you don’t have your own artwork, no problem – they feature a terrific in-house art department. Just stop in or e-mail them your idea or chicken scratch drawing and they’ll help you create that custom designed logo or poker run shirt with an awesome turnaround time. Not being limited to just screen printing, they also offer embroidery on just about anything you can imagine, and even offer school uniforms for your little leg biter or teen. Check out their web site for school uniform descriptions and pricing.

Some of NKC’s satisfied clientele includes government concerns, local casinos like Harrah’s, and a host of local bike shop and builders, including Tom’s House of Speed, Pig Glow, Motorcycle Closeouts.com, Cycles n More, Hard Core Customs and yes, even Cycle Connections, to name just a few.

When they’re not busy as beavers working on designing and printing your job, NKC also has their own line of custom biker T-shirts for store resale at wholesale prices. Here’s a link to some of their shirt samples, or visit them in person to see their complete line.

This team of specialists understands the biker community and is involved in numerous local charity rides and events. And when Santo Jr. isn’t working on your shirts, you might even find him out riding with the rest of us on his custom Fat Boy.

When you need quality custom apparel by people who care and who are dedicated to you and your project, try NKC Custom Apparel. And as their company slogan states, “We Do It Right and On Time!”

By Wayne Thompson

Although he might not receive quite as much press as Jesse James, Billy Lane, Indian Larry or the feuding Teutuls of Orange County Choppers, Kansas City is home to one of the most talented up-and-coming bike builders in the industry; Kim Suter of KC Creations.

When you are able to launch your own brand of motorcycles, host your own radio talk show, be featured in numerous motorcycle magazines and publications, and are invited to be part of the Easyriders® Centerfold Tour for two years running, you must be doing something right!

On Thursday, December 23, we had the opportunity to do an exclusive photo shoot of Kim’s new 2005 Custom Big Inch Bike for our January 2005 cover page. This beautiful bike will debut at the Pomona, California show in January, and will be part of the 2005 Easyriders® Centerfold Tour. After the photo shoot, we talked with Kim and his wife, Cheryl to find out a little more about them and their successful business.

As it turns out, Kim and Cheryl Suter have been riding motorcycles since they were kids. Kim bought his first Harley as a senior in high school and immediately began “tinkering” with it. It wasn’t long before Kim's buddies started bringing their bikes to Kim any time they needed a wrench.

In 1986, Kim took his Softail Custom to Sturgis, and as he was leaving one of the bars, noticed there were several other Softail Customs parked next to his bike. He also noticed the only real difference between his bike and the others was the license plate and the paint. This was a major turning point in Kim’s life, because at that moment, he decided it was time for things to change.

Kim and Cheryl's strong business background comes from 19 years in the family gasoline business where Kim was Vice President and General Manager. As the years went on, motorcycles were taking up more and more of his time, so in 1995, with $35,000 in capital, two motorcycles in inventory, and a mission statement “To build the trickest bikes possible, with the highest quality components, at a reasonable price,” Kim left the family business and KC Creations was born.

For their first store, Kim and Cheryl converted a conveyor car wash building into an 800 square foot showroom. Within three years, they had outgrown their modest little shop, so in 1998 they moved to a 6,000 square foot facility in Merriam, Kansas, where they had a larger retail showroom and plenty of room for service work. Kim and Cheryl thought this would be their last move, however, with all the hard work they put into making their business a success, within three years, they had outgrown the facility once again and were in need of an even larger facility so they could expand. In January of 2001, after much thought and research, KC Creations moved to its current location, which is conveniently located at Interstate 35 and 75th Street in Overland Park, Kansas. According to Kim and Cheryl, they’re hoping to stay put.

Even though they may not be moving their business anytime soon, their business is definitely moving in the right direction. Always in search of the highest quality products and merchandise, and to stay on the cutting edge of the industry, KC Creations launched a new custom/production bike series; Big Inch Bikes Mfg.

All Big Inch Bikes come standard with quality components and have several options and upgrades from which you can choose to further customize your ride. Big Inch Bikes are NADA and Kelly Blue Book listed and can be fully financed and insured. The line of Big Inch Bikes includes the following six unique models that cover the gamut of motorcycle style:

2-Lo Magnum (Pro-Street Styling)
VRK V-Rod Killer (Ten-Second Street Bike)
Saturday Nite Special (Rigid or Softail Frame)
Top Gun Chopper (Softail Frame)
Enforcer (Rigid or Softail Frame)
Alley Sweeper (Rigid or Softail Frame)


In addition to the Big Inch Bikes, KC Creations is a factory authorized dealer for Big Dog Motorcycles. In fact, Big Dog Motorcycles of Kansas City is the eighth largest Big Dog dealer in the nation. If you’re in the market for a Big Dog, now is a great time to take advantage of their 2004 Model Closeout Sale, where you can get a $3,000 rebate and $0 down/120 month financing!

Can you say service, parts, paint and apparel? KC Creations has a highly trained staff to service all brands of bikes, and their parts department offers a huge selection of high performance and custom parts. Their in-house painter and artist, Scott Thomas, is one of the Midwest's most prestigious painters. Scott and his talented team will help you design the perfect paint job to go with your new KC Creation, and their shop is also staffed to take care of any touch ups or repairs you may need. If you’re in the market for the latest biker wear, you’ve come to the right place. KC Creations has their own line of T-shirts and outerwear, and offers a full selection of apparel from Biker Trash, Easyriders® and Big Dog.

We asked Cheryl a few additional questions that we wanted to share with you:

CC: What makes your business stand out from other businesses in your industry?
Cheryl: We think we do something that others in our business do not. We build bikes that are very rideable, yet are eye candy to everyone.

CC: What is the biggest challenge in business you have seen in the past few years?
Cheryl: The single most difficult and biggest change for us has been making the transition from a “bike shop” to a franchised dealership.

CC: How do you keep your customers coming back?
Cheryl: We are known to be on the cutting edge of the industry, so we try to have new and innovative products on the floor all the time. This keeps people coming back and the interest in what’s going on in our store is high.

CC: Do you participate in bike shows and other motorcycle events?
Cheryl: Yes, as many as possible. We feel that being out there is the best way to let everyone know what we do.

CC: Do you sponsor or participate in any charity rides or events?
Cheryl: Yes. At this time, our major charity is the Down Syndrome Guild. We sponsor and present “The Ride for Special Children” each year. We give to every group that participates or present rider oriented charity events.

CC: Where do most of your customers come from?
Cheryl: Our customer base is quite varied, as we have extensively marketed our company on a nationwide basis through magazine ads and personal appearances.

CC: What is the biggest change you have seen over the past five years in regards to motorcycling?
Cheryl: The number of women riders, the numbers of everyday people who ride, and how mainstream motorcycling has become. You can hardly go anywhere without making positive comments about the lifestyle.

So if you’re in the market for a custom built Big Inch Bike or are looking for a great deal on a Big Dog motorcycle, look no further than KC Creations. They are open Tuesday through Thursday from 9-6 and Saturday from 9-5 and are located at 7524 Frontage Road n Overland Park, Kansas. You can call them at 913-642-6712 or visit their website at www.kc-creations.com.

By Mike Schweder and Wayne Thompson

On Wednesday, October 13, 2004, Beverly Harvey opened the doors to her new shop at 4914 North Oak Trafficway in Kansas City, Missouri, with one goal in mind; “We want to bring the most unique clothing, gifts, and artwork the industry has to offer to our customers in a relaxed, welcoming environment. Come by the shop and have a delicious cup of coffee as you browse through the store. If we don’t have exactly what you are looking for, we will order it for you. Plus, if you have suggestions or ideas, just tell us, because Moto-Gear is here to serve you.”
Moto-Gear held their Grand Opening over the weekend of November 13-14, and between now and December 24, you can take advantage of their huge Christmas sale on all in-stock items, such as 30 percent off Demonia shoes, 20 percent off all gift items, 15% off all jewelry and belts, and 10 percent off everything else!

From December 5 through December 24, Moto-Gear has extended their hours for you shopping convenience. They will be open Tuesday thru Saturday from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. and on Sunday, from Noon until 6 p.m.

Beverly loves motorcycles and currently rides a 2001 Harley-Davidson Road King, which she nicknamed; “Big Girl.” We asked Beverly to tell us a little about herself and how Moto-Gear came to be.
'It has been a life long dream to have my own business. I have come up with many ideas and written many business plans over the years but this time things were different.
A few years ago two good friends of mine, Eric Roadcap and Eric McCormick had purchased brand new bikes and rode them almost every day. As Eric and Eric live in the same subdivision, it was inevitable that they would encourage me to ride. In fact, they tempted me every day by riding by on those shinny machines and waving as they passed by. On several occasions they inquired; “So, when are you going to buy a bike and come ride with us?”
Due to a motorcycle accident I had back in 1975 while in the Army (and wouldn’t you know it; I was riding on the back of someone else’s bike), I was not incredibly fond of motorcycling. In fact I think I even warned Eric and Eric of the dangers of riding, due to my unfortunate experience years earlier.
Unfortunately, my entrance and tenure with motorcycles is not a long romantic story by any means, but I do believe Moto-Gear was meant to be. After a short period of time I began to embrace the idea of riding again. I certainly loved the roar of Harleys as they would pass by, but never thought I could afford one, much less ride one. But I was intoxicated by the sound, and all that came with it.
I decided one day to find a used bike, and after a few weeks thumbing through the classifieds, I found a Kawasaki 750. Long story short, I rode it for a few months just to see if indeed I could handle a large bike, and to my pleasant surprise, the answer was yes.
Next, I graduated to a Harley; a customized 1994 Softtail. She had the custom chrome wheels, sprockets, and was chromed out to the nines. People turned their heads when I went by; it was a hot bike!
I will never forget the first ride on my Harley. Just firing it up was exhilarating. Then down the street, I remember thinking to myself; no wonder people love these bikes. It truly felt like steel underneath me; I FELT SAFE.
The center of gravity on the bike was great. I felt more comfortable and in control. I was in love. That day was probably one of the most important days of my life. Looking back, had I not ridden a Harley, I most likely would not have opened Moto-Gear.
I am a firm believer in fate and karma, and I do believe we are all one, all connected in some form that is way beyond our understanding. Things do not happen by chance. The situations, the people, animals, events that are in our lives, or things that happen to us are there for a reason. My connection with bikes was inevitable.
As fall grew near I decided I needed the apparel for riding. That is when I discovered the limited selection that Kansas City had to offer for riders. Except for a few shops, no one specialized in just clothing. Thus, sparked the idea.
Beyond filling a need in Kansas City for bikers, the idea for the business also fueled a life long dream. As a very young girl growing up in Dodge City, Kansas, when other girls were playing with dolls I was pretending to have my own business. Little did I know it would take another 40 some years to get there, but here I am; finally. A life long dream come true and in an industry I have fallen in love with.

I come from a long line of entrepreneurs. My journey for Moto-Gear is not just financial; it is also a personal dedication to those who came before me. I love motorcycles and cars. My father worked on cars all the time, so the smell of a garage is comforting to me. I have worked on many cars as a hobby, rebuilt auto engines, and had numerous sports cars. I love to drive fast and I guess you could say I live on the edge.

For the last two and half years I have researched, investigated, and educated myself on the motorcycle market. I have attended seminars, tradeshows, spent hundreds of hours on the web, read numerous books, spoken to men and women bikers and bike enthusiasts. I attended local bike events and National events, such as Daytona Bike Week and Sturgis; all in hopes of building the most unique motorcycle business Kansas City has ever seen.
My background consists of 17 years in outside sales, from Medical Supplies to Communications equipment, and seven years in Executive Management. I hold a Bachelors Degree in General Studies and a Masters in Marketing. I am proud to be a Vietnam Era Veteran via the Army and Airborne qualified. Yes, I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane. Actually, I was the last era of the WACs (If you know what that was), and I am damn proud of it. I have done many things in my lifetime, and looking back it has prepared me for this. For bringing to the public; Moto-Gear.
We are new to the Kansas City motorcycle market so if you have an event you would like us to be part of, please contact us. We will be involved with many local events and shows, sponsor charity events, and most importantly, bring to the Kansas City motorcycling community the latest and greatest products the industry has to offer, in a fun environment. We have some surprises in store for you Kansas City...look out, here we come!”
Moto-Gear is conveniently located at North Oak Trafficway and Vivion Road in Kansas City, Missouri. Their winter hours are Tuesday thru Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Sunday from Noon to 4 p.m. Make sure to stop by for a cup of coffee and some great savings!

By Mike Schweder

Gail’s Harley-Davidson has a fabulous new home at the northeast corner of the intersection of Highways 71 and 152 in Grandview, Missouri. The migration process began with a groundbreaking ceremony on February 9 and culminated in the first day of business at the new location on November 6. The open house celebration at the new 55,000 square foot facility took place on Friday and Saturday, November 26 and 27. The throngs who came to shop and tour the new dealership were impressed by the building’s attractive design, convenient layout, and by the wide variety of Harley-Davidson motorcycles and merchandise on display. On Saturday, Rukus provided musical entertainment. In keeping with the tradition established at the Belton location, Kelly and LeAnn prepared free burgers and hot dogs, served with all the trimmings. A stock car and junior dragster sponsored by the dealership were on display. Inside, members of the American Heartland Chapter of the Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.) greeted visitors and conducted guided tours. On Saturday afternoon, Shriners of the Ararat Pipes and Drums
unit marched and played to the delight of children and adults alike. Video from the “Open Road” TV series was shown on the big screen TV in the customer lounge, and TVs in the showroom showed video of the dealership’s construction. Radio coverage of the event was done by 610 Sports, 98.9 The Rock, and 99.7 KY.

The employee count at Gail's has increased to 52. I wanted to hear about the benefits of the new location from the unique perspective of several key members of the staff. I asked each to describe what the new dealership means to the customers and to the employees.

Darrell Moffit, Service Manager: The move has been an exhilarating experience. My employees think it’s awesome. They have much more space and better lighting. It’s all better from floor to ceiling, and it needed to be done. At the old building we ran out of space. We were elbow to elbow. Here, once a customer drops off a bike for service or repair, it can remain inside until it’s returned to the customer. The only time it will be outside is when we test-ride it after the service is done. Bobbie and D.W., the Service Writers, have plenty of indoor space to greet customers and attend to their needs. It’s a win-win situation for everybody. We currently have six technicians on staff and will be looking to increase staff by two or three after the first of the year with one devoted to PDI. That’s the pre-delivery work done on all of the new motorcycles. A new bike is removed from the crate and set up from top to bottom according to factory specs. From belt tension to handlebar settings to switch housing settings - everything from A to Z. We have 16 lifts in the service area. There are large windows in the customer lounge to allow customers to watch their bikes being worked on. It’s great!

John Crabb, Executive Director: For our customers, we are finally going to have space available for us to be able to carry more inventory with a wider variety. We can have special events without people having to be elbow to elbow in the dealership. Waiting in checkout or restroom lines will be a thing of the past. People will have a lot more space to enjoy the experience. For the staff, the way they do their jobs has changed. We are now set up to be a lot more interactive with our customers. We want the employees to be able to hang around with the customers and do their jobs at the same time. Our staff is very accessible to all of the customers that come in now. Areas are open so we can’t hide behind a counter. A customer can walk up and lean against a counter with an employee, on either side of the counter. It’s a lot better experience. Don Rooks and I share the title of Executive Director. We can both participate in any area we want, but we focus in our areas of expertise-myself in parts and motorclothes and Don in motorcycle sales. We are both getting more involved in all aspects of the business to see things from a different perspective. I might look into an area I don’t work in all of the time and contribute a new insight, and Don can share his insight with me. We are really trying to look at the details in every area so nothing is overlooked. We feel that the facility is really something to see. There was a lot of thought put into the layout, the openness, and the amenities we have here. We think of it as a Disneyland for the Harley enthusiast. It has a little bit of everything including a burnout pit. Once the weather warms up we’ll be able to take advantage of all the new features. The increase in parking area is huge. We currently have over 300 parking spaces for cars and 90 for motorcycles. Once our Rider’s Edge Course area is paved we will have two more acres of parking. That will really come in handy when we have big events and rallies.

Don Rooks, Executive Director: I’ve been with this dealership since the beginning; right at 27 years. I have about 35 years working in the industry and 40 years as an enthusiast. This is pretty exciting! I’ve got to say that I’m as excited as I have ever been in all those years. I couldn’t be any prouder to be part of it. I could never have envisioned the motorcycle industry reaching the point were it is today. This is my future for as many years as I have left. It’s certainly Gail’s future. Everything we have done here was done with the idea of making it easier for the customer, and obviously we hope that by doing the right things the right way, it returns to us a good business. Gail takes better care of her customers and her employees than anybody I know. Obviously, we are able to do a lot more of everything here. All of the merchandise is openly visible. It’s easier to show and display the products. The showroom capacity increased from less than 20 bikes to more than 75. It creates a whole additional exciting atmosphere that we didn’t have before. Harley-Davidson told us it would take us two or three weeks to move everything we had to move and get ready to open, but we did it in four days. That’s because we have a really good staff. My title doesn’t mean anything. I’m just part of a team that tries to do a good job taking care of the customers and making it fun.

“Dyno” Mike Wilson, Performance Manager: In the new dealership, we have much more room, making it more comfortable for a customer to go one-on-one with the technicians, the parts guys, or the dyno people. We have several new additions to the Performance Center. First, we brought the machine shop in, and we plan to do a lot more in-house customization such as wide-tire kits and altering the way parts fit. Our new dyno has the eddy current brake that allows us to fine-tune the fuel-injected bikes better. It’s a way to load the motorcycle with the dyno so we can set all the different throttle positions. On a fuel-injected bike we have to physically set the throttle at 10 percent, 20 percent, 30 percent at every r.p.m. With the eddy current brake we can do that more efficiently. As fuel-injected bikes become more the norm, our performance equipment has to follow the trend. The dyno room is bigger, so we can actually get customers into the room next to the bike so they can get a better look at what we’re doing and understand why we are doing it. In the new dealership, our computer systems are a little more elaborate, and our phone system is a little better. The Performance Center has always been about getting the customers involved in the performance aspect of their motorcycles. We have two lifts in here, and the lighting is much better. Our quality and turn-around time will remain the same-it’s a one-day turn-around. We’ll still give you a one-year warranty on your motor when we build it. Even if they don’t do any performance modifications I encourage riders to dyno their bikes at least twice each year. There are things that can get out of adjustment, and you can lose one or two horsepower per month and not even realize it. If you’re down ten or twenty horsepower, you can feel that. Throttle cables stretch. You may have a bearing going bad. Maybe the oil pump isn’t evacuating the oil out of the motor fast enough. Lots of little things can happen. If you keep a current record of the dyno tests, you can compare your current run to the old ones and make sure everything is perfect. If you’ve lost ten or twenty horsepower in six months, you’ve got a problem, and we have to find it. When you think about the cost of a motorcycle, $50 every six months is not much of a cost to keep everything perfect.

Roger “FatBoy” Fleener, Customer Relations: Since September 7, I have been on staff as the customer relations person. My duties have not changed significantly with the location change. Part of my job is to make sure the customers are happy. When a person buys a new motorcycle, I visit with them and explain that they can feel free to come in and talk to me at any time. I can serve as a liaison between the customer and the dealership. I am able to call each one of them as they receive our customer satisfaction surveys. We want to be rated as a 10 as often as possible. We encourage our customers to return the surveys. That’s how we better ourselves as a dealership. A purchase-ownership survey grades us on their experience with the sales and financing people and other aspects of the purchase experience. Eighteen months after the purchase, owners receive a second survey. At that point they have better insight concerning the service department and other areas of the dealership.

CC: In addition to your duties with the dealership, you are also the Director of the American Heartland H.O.G. Chapter. Please talk about that.

Roger: That’s awesome to me! We started the chapter in March, 2003. The chapter has always been my passion. That’s where I cut my Harley-Davidson teeth. We have one of the finest groups of officers that I know of. I’ve been able to travel all over the country and meet a lot of people from H.O.G. Our group is very knowledgeable, but the big thing is that they all care. They don’t just care about themselves but about all 1,200 members. They try to plan rides that are diverse enough to handle the needs of all of those people. They listen. One of my ideas when I first became involved in this is for a group of volunteers to sit around a table. One person puts an apple on the table. Then I want someone else to put a banana on the table. Then someone else will add an orange. I want to build a horn of plenty full of ideas to give to the chapter. If my apple gets thrown out, that’s fine. We are known as a riding chapter. We all love it. It’s a passion. Lasting friendships are formed. We all come together no matter what walk of life we are from, and our common bond is the Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

CC: What does the new dealership mean to the H.O.G. members?

Roger: For one thing, it means having access to the bathroom before going on a ride. Gail has always been a heavy sponsor of the H.O.G. program. She realizes that the chapter is an extension of the dealership. Harley-Davidson requires every dealership to have its own H.O.G. chapter, and Gail is behind this one all the way. In the new dealership, we have our own H.O.G. meeting room with its own entrance. If we have a ride when the dealership is closed we can still get in and use the rest room before we leave. We are adding a B.R.A.G. unit-Buell Riders Adventure Group. They will share our meeting room. We look forward to joining with the Buell people and riding with them as one motorcycle family. The main thing about the H.O.G. chapter is the heart of the sponsor. She believes in us, in each one of the members. That’s what makes the difference. That’s why we are 1,200 strong, and we will always be strong because of Gail Worth!

Gail Worth, Owner and President: What the new dealership means to our customers is that they have a place to go to have fun. That’s what it’s all about, and that’s what it means to the staff also. We are just having a ball! You can read our motto above the main exit doors. It says, “Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in one pretty and well-preserved piece. The intention should be to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, worn out, and defiantly shouting, 'Wow! What a ride!’ ” That is what this is all about. That’s what we are all about. We want customers to come here and have a good time. People share camaraderie. We have a lounge where they can play pool, watch TV, play on the internet, or just relax on the comfortable couches and chairs. Then they can shop for whatever they want. If Harley-Davidson makes it we have it. There is so much more room. Just look at all of the people here today! If we were still at the old location, many of them would have been parked in the field across the street, and they would have been packed in after they got inside. Now they can spread out a little bit, shop comfortably, and just have a good time. Our new features include a burnout pit that’s already been put to use. There is a self-detail area where, after the weather warms up, customers can detail their motorcycles with products we will have available. Customers have a ton of new motorcycles to choose from. That’s true for parts and motorclothes too.

CC: Gail, thanks for making us welcome. On behalf of Cycle Connections, congratulations and best wishes for continued success!

Please note that the dealership has new phone numbers as well as a new address.

Gail’s Harley-Davidson
5900 E 150 Hwy
Grandview, MO 64030
Phone: 816-966-2222
Swine Line (Recorded H.O.G. info): 816-966-6530

Story and photos by Stripe

October 31, 2004

Wright Brothers Bikes

Ron Wright is the owner of Wright Brothers Bikes and has
been selling trikes in Kansas City for three years. Wright Brothers specialize
in Harley-Davidson and Honda conversions kits you can build yourself or have one
of his highly trained mechanics build to your specifications. All trike
conversions feature a D.F.T. manufactured fully independent suspension. For more
details about what Wright Brothers offers, check out their business information
page by clicking on the link above or just visit their web site.

I was able to sit down with Ron for a little Q & A about
his shop and as you can tell Ron has quite a sense of humor. But when it comes
to his passion for bikes, trikes and hot rods, trust me it’s all business. Make
sure you check out the pictures of some of Wright Brothers Trikes, an S10
conversion kit that Ron is also now offering and keep watching for some new cool
items that include a streamlined trailer for your trike.
CC:
What are your business hours?
Ron: We are open when
we are there and closed when we are not there.  Usually, the doors are open 9-5
M-F and 10-2 Sat, but don’t bet on it.  If you’re coming from across town, its
best to call first. Test rides are available daily by appointment.   By the way,
we ship do-it-yourself kits all over the world.
CC:
Are you the sole owner?
Ron: Yes, and no my
other brothers are not Orville and Wilbur, but they are bikers and are really
mean and ugly.
CC:
What do you ride?
Ron: A 2003
Harley-Davidson Electra Glide trike and a 2002 Harley-Davidson Softail trike, of
course.
CC:
How did you come up with the name of your business? 
Ron: Naturally.
CC:
How did your business get started?
Ron: The hard way. The
story of how the business got started, begins 20 years ago with the line; “I met
this chick…”
CC:
How long have you been in business?
Ron: Three years.

CC:
Have you always been at this location?
Ron: Yes. 'cept when we
wasn’t.
CC:
Why did you pick your current location?
Ron: Cheap rent, few
neighbors, and it’s hard for the ex to find. Also the area provides lots of room
for test rides and no one minds if your pipes are really loud.
CC:
What makes your business stand out from the competition?
Ron: Trikes are our
specialty, not a side line.  We ride trikes daily.  We convert Harley-Davidson
and Honda mostly, but any chain or belt drive bike is a candidate.   We also
sell three kinds of trailers to pull behind your bike, and one to pull your bike
on.
CC:
What was your biggest obstacle in starting your business?
Ron: The Government,
insurance companies, and bankers.  Oh, and Lawyers too.  Let us not forget the
lawyers.
CC:
What is the biggest change in business you have seen in the past few years?
Ron: From a marketing
standpoint, trikes are definitely more popular than just a few years ago.  The
baby boomers are discovering a new way to ride.  Trikes are fun and different. 
They’re really cool!
But from a trike
industry viewpoint, the wave of the future is independent suspensions.  There
has been much debate over that last decade as to the benefits of solid axel
suspension units vs. independent style units.  It’s pretty clear now that the
jury is in.  Independent designs are the choice of every new trike manufacturer
that’s come on line in the last few years.  Even some of the older trike
companies that used to make solid axel designs have switched to independent
designs.  Our primary product is an independent design that’s been on the
market, undergoing real world testing, for 11 years.
CC:
How do you keep your customers coming back?
Ron: Candy.
CC:
Do you do much advertising?
Ron: Graffiti has
proven to be the best use of our advertising dollar to date, but now that we
advertise with Cycle Connections, we are confident that our use of graffiti as
our primary advertising medium will soon be a distant, albeit fond, memory.
CC:
Let’s hope so. Do you participate in bike shows or other motorcycle events?

Ron: Yes, all that we
can.
CC:
Do you sponsor or participate in any charity rides or events?
Ron: Bikers for Babies
is probably the biggest, but there are really too many to list.
CC:
Where do the majority of your customers come from?
Ron: Earth.  We don’t
do any scientific polling on this matter, but I can say with confidence that 99
percent of our customers are from earth.
CC:
Do you offer any specials or promotions for bikers?
Ron: The only people we
sell to are bikers, and everything we sell is special.  But in honor of our new
affiliation with Cycle Connections, we are offering a deal on our bike cleaning
and polishing products and our Signal Sorcerer traffic light activator.
Anyone that can find
their way to the shop and mentions that they saw this article can get the second
cleaning product for half price, when they buy the first one at regular price. 
Same goes for the Signal Sorcerer.  Signal Sorcerers go for $19.95 and cleaning
products go for $10 - $20.  We need to add some fine print here; limit one deal
per customer, offer expires 11/30/2004, and all that other usual, reasonable
crap that some ya hoo will think doesn’t apply to them.
CC:
 You might want to explain
just exactly what a signal sorcerer is.
Ron: It is a very
small, very powerful magnet, about the size of a match, which creates magnetic
field powerful enough to activate traffic lights.  It’s perfectly legit; just
makes up for that lack of mass that makes traffic lights ignore bikes.
CC:
That’s too cool. What other information would you like our readers to know about
your business? 
Ron:
Don’t let people that don’t know what they’re talking about, talk you out of a
trike.
CC:
Nuff said.
So if you’re in the market
or just thinking about owning a trike, you really should give Ron a call and at
least go down to the shop and check them out. You'll be glad you did. Besides
he’ll give you candy.

Story by Wayne Thompson

September 30, 2004

Jackie's Leathers & More

Jackie’s Leather & More in Independence, Missouri, is located in the Colonnade Shopping Center behind the Salty Iguana Restaurant and Bar on 40 Highway. From the moment you walk in, you’ll feel right at home as Jackie and her husband John are about the nicest people you’ve ever met. First, they’ll offer you coffee or a soft drink and some chips, and then invite you to kick back and take a load off before starting your shopping experience.

Jackie and John Meditz are bikers who wanted to offer quality leathers to the riding community at rock bottom prices; and they’ve done just that. The store is jam packed with more biker clothing and accessories than you can imagine. They have the largest Orange County Choppers apparel selection in Kansas City, not to mention leather jackets, vests, chaps and rain gear for both adults and children. Jackie also does alterations and custom leather repair as well as sewing patches on your favorite jacket or vest.

The store offers a large selection of T-shirts including Christian, patriotic and motorcycle themes. They carry T-bag luggage, belts, riding gloves, helmets, bells, stickers, pocket knives, patches and just about everything you could possibly want to accessorize you and your ride. For the ladies, there is a wide selection of leather tops, purses, denims, hair ties, and jewelry. Did I say jewelry? Jackie’s carries costume jewelry, 14kt gold, sterling silver, 18kt Granchelli charm bracelets, watches and South Dakota Black Hills Gold. And we haven’t even mentioned the large assortment of collectibles, dolls and Alpaca rugs, many of which are biker-themed. You really need to come in for yourself to see the wide variety of merchandise at unbelievably low prices, and you can view the panoramic photos below to get a sense of the enormity of the store and the selection they offer.

Anyone who rides in will get a 10 percent discount off any merchandise in the store and that 10 percent savings is donated by Jackie and John to the City Union Mission. They also have daily specials up to 50 percent off on selected merchandise.

Let’s not forget to mention the all original 1942 Harley-Davidson you can’t help but see as you walk in the door. Come in and see what the old-timers rode!

Jackie’s is open Tuesday thru Friday from 10 a.m. to 5p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Also, make sure to visit Jackie’s web site at www.jackiesleatherandmore.com and watch for her soon-to-be online shopping experience.

Review by Wayne Thompson

What do you think of when you hear the words, “Trouser Mouse?” No, no, not that, you sick puppies! And no, it’s not a strip club. Trouser Mouse owners, Brad and Angel Mallen still laugh at the number of phone calls they receive asking how many brass poles were on the main stage when they opened. What you should think of when you hear the name Trouser Mouse Bar & Grill is a great place to hear live blues and jazz, enjoy your favorite beverage and grab a bite to eat. Okay, so the name is um…different, but you have to admit, you’ll probably remember it and you certainly won’t confuse it with another bar’s name.

Now, let me tell you how Trouser Mouse got its name. Brad is one of those guys who has spent numerous hours helping others. Because he’s a humble guy, when someone tries to thank or compliment him, he just says it took 'us' or 'we' got the job done. The usual response is, 'We? You got a mouse in your pocket?' So there you have it, Trouser Mouse.

The Trouser Mouse Bar & Grill brings the blues to Blue Springs, Missouri. To describe it, try to imagine a juke joint with clean glasses. Of course, where blues and bikers come together, there must be beer. The Mouse is open seven days a week, so you never have to worry about quenching your thirst. Brad and Angel carry a variety of domestic and unique imported beer selections, both on tap and in the bottle. For those who prefer wine, Angel will be happy to let you choose something from her wine cellar. She works hard at finding the best wines at phenomenal prices and passes that savings on to you. Naturally, the usual assortment of other libations is also available from their full bar. With Angel and Brad as bartenders, you can get just about any kind of cocktail imaginable. They may be newbies as bar owners, but both are quite experienced bartenders. If you get hungry, don’t even think about trotting across the parking lot to McDonalds – the Mouse kitchen staff will fix you up with a killer cheeseburger or any of their other great menu items.

One item you won’t find on the menu is “Greasy Squirrel.” Yes, there is a story. Before the Mouse ever opened, Angel and Brad worked around their daytime gigs to put the place together. From the carpet to the ceilings, they cleaned, tore down, and replacing things along the way. When Brad began working on the kitchen he found himself surrounded by broken equipment and a dimming flashlight. When he crawled behind the broiler, he caught a glimpse of what looked like a good sized squirrel. A closer look revealed a pile of grease from the oven above and a decaying floor below. It was a grease squirrel! As Brad put it, “That’s when we pulled everything out except the kitchen sink.” Obviously, the old owners didn’t like soap or know what a grease trap was.” Yuk!

Angel and Brad have hit the right combination for a comfortable neighborhood bar and blues club; something that’s been missing in Blue Springs and the surrounding area for too long. If you live in eastern Jackson County, it’s great to know you don’t have to go across town when you want to hear live blues and jazz. When they opened last November, live music was featured one night per week. Now, bands play every Thursday, Saturday and some Fridays. Wednesdays feature an open blues jam that showcases local musicians and talented rising stars.

As for the bands, you can expect anything from newer electric (think Joe Bonamassa), swing blues (like Roomful of Blues), to delta blues (such as Robert Johnson.) You can go to their website at www.trousermousebar.com to get directions and check out the lineup or call 816-220-1222.

The Mouse has an extensive CD collection that plays in the background when live musicians aren’t around, so if you happen to stop by on one of those days, you will still hear the blues. When sitting and listening to music isn’t quite enough activity for you, they have pool tables, dart boards, Golden Tee and a huge selection of board games. It’s not unusual to see couples walk over and pick up 'Connect Four’, 'Battleship’, or a chess set before sitting down.

Starting with your first visit here, you’ll feel welcomed. It’s a good bet that the second time you walk through the door, Brad or Angel will call you by name and ask if you’re drinking “the usual.” You may be a regular customer at some bars, but if you frequent the Mouse you’ll end up feeling more like a treasured friend than just a “regular.” A word of warning, though – DO NOT PISS-OFF ANGEL! Brad says it best, “I’m the nice one.” Although she’s is a beautiful lady, just don’t make her mad. Believe me, this is “Her House” and she’ll deal with you as she sees fit.

Any time is a great time to visit the Trouser Mouse, but plan to spend at least part of Sunday, September 19th enjoying Brad and Angel’s hospitality. That’s the date for their first annual blues fest for Hope House, also known as ”Mouse for the House.” This will be an all day event featuring nine blues bands, door prizes, raffles and a silent auction. All proceeds, including the $10 per person cover charge will go to support Hope House. The blues fest gives you a chance to help Hope House while being treated to the sounds of great local blues artists. The door opens at noon, with the first band starting playing at 1 p.m. Performances should finish up sometime around 10 p.m., so ride on out and help the Mouse support this wonderful organization.

One final note, although the Trouser Mouse doesn’t sponsor a bike night at this time, don’t hesitate to ride up on your scoot. The staff is biker friendly and welcomes anyone in search of a refreshing cocktail, a bite to eat, and great blues.

Story by P.S. Eggen and photos by Wayne Thompson

On Friday afternoon, June 25th, I hopped on the Fat Boy and headed southeast out of Kansas City. At the end of my scenic two-hour ride, I dropped my kickstand and walked into the Corner Gardens Bar & Pizzeria in Warsaw, Missouri. When I got there, several bikes were already lined up out front. There were various makes and models, including a nicely restored Knucklehead and Shovelhead.

I’ve been in a lot of biker friendly bars in my life, for research purposes only, of course, but I consider this place a true biker’s paradise. So, what makes the Corner Gardens Bar & Pizzeria in Warsaw, Missouri a biker’s paradise? What else would you call a tropical themed biker friendly bar that has an outside beer garden with a fountain and a beautiful view of the lake, ice cold beer kept at a chilly 32 degrees, great pizza, wings, and tacos, attractive bartenders and waitresses, live music & karaoke, billiards, darts, shuffleboard, pinball, Missouri Keno, and a 60” TV for watching a football game or NASCAR race.

Add an event calendar stuffed full of exciting biker events such as wet t-shirt contests, thong contests, and other fun events, then top it off with an RV Park located directly behind the bar. If this doesn’t sound like a biker’s paradise, I don’t know what does!

Owners Cliff and Shirley Fitzpatrick opened the Corner Gardens Bar & Pizzeria eight years ago when they decided to escape the hustle and bustle of Kansas City. Cliff told me, “We were driving down the street and as soon as we saw the beautiful view of the lake behind the building, we knew we had to have it.”

According to Cliff, this 40’ x 60’ concrete block building was built in 1910 and was used by MFA to store feed and grain. When Cliff and Shirley first inquired about the building, an air conditioning company was operating out of the basement. Once the building was all theirs, they added an outdoor beer garden and turned their place into “The Biggest Little Bar in Warsaw” with over 2,500 square feet of fun! Three years ago they added the Outback RV Park, which contains 19 spaces with full hookups. Even if you don’t have an RV, you can rent one from Cliff and Shirley to use as your base camp while you spend your days touring the beautiful Lake of the Ozarks. Since the Outback RV Park is only a couple hundred feet from the lake, make sure to also bring your fishing pole.

I could see a smile forming on Cliff’s face when I asked him how they came up with the name, Corner Gardens Bar & Pizzeria. Cliff said, “It’s on a corner, we have a beer garden, it’s a bar, and we have a pizzeria.” Simple enough! About that time, Shirley stuck her head through the plastic louvers that separates the bar from the beer garden to add “And we have the best bar, pizza, and tacos in Benton County!” To prove her point, Shirley offered me some pizza and even brought out her lion costume she uses to promote Piccadilly Circus Pizza, which is a franchise pizza business they operate out of their bar. In case you were wondering, yes, they deliver, and no, not all the way to Kansas City.

If you happen to be in Warsaw around lunch time on Tuesdays, make sure to stop by for their 50 cent taco special, and beginning Saturday, July 3rd, they will be sponsoring a Bike Day from noon until 6 p.m. with $2 off any pizza and $4.50 pitchers of beer. There’s an open dart tournament every Monday and Thursday night, and on Wednesday and Thursday evenings, Cliff fires up the karaoke machine so you can belt out your favorite rock, country or hip-hop songs.

The Corner Gardens Bar & Pizzeria isn’t a fancy place, but according to Cliff, “It’s a really fun place where people come to live it up and have fun! It’s not stuffy, like some of the other bars and restaurants around the lake, and we’re not uptight about everything. We like to have fun and live on the edge a little.” I did notice while I was there that Warsaw’s finest made a couple of passes by the bar in their shiny police car to check out the bikes that were lined up in front of the building and to see what Cliff and Shirley were up to now.

This fun biker friendly couple comes up with so many crazy events, make sure to keep your eye on our Local Rides, Rallies & Event Calendar so you don’t miss anything. Here are just a few of their upcoming events to give you a taste of what I’m talking about:

Saturday, October 30th – Halloween Contest. 1st Place - $75, 2nd Place - $40, 3rd Place - $30, 4th Place - $20, 5th Place - $10. Contact Cliff or Shirley for rules and times.

Saturday, November 6th – Chili Contest & Baked Goods Auction for T.L.C. 1st Place - $50, 2nd Place - $30, 3rd Place - $20. Chili contest at 4 p.m. with Scotty & The Soul Tones playing from 9 p.m until 1 a.m.


Along with having lots of fun, Shirley also told me about the TLC Work Center, Inc. which they are helping to open. The TLC Work Center is dedicated to the enrichment and quality of life for the adult Developmentally Disabled and Handicapped Citizens of Benton County. TLC will provide light industrial production jobs and quality job training for those who desire the skills necessary to seek employment, as well as inclusion in the community job market.

If your motorcycle club or organization is looking for a great charitable organization to sponsor for your next poker run or dice roll, please keep TLC Work Center in mind and give Shirley a call at 660-438-7637 for more information. While you’re at the Corner Gardens Bar & Pizzeria, don’t forget to ask Shirley to take you outside and show you the rainbow that is always visible from the beer garden. You’ll be glad you did!

The Corner Gardens Bar & Pizzeria is located at 317 E Main Street in Warsaw, Missouri. They are open Monday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 a.m. and on Sunday from noon – midnight.

Story and photos by Mike Schweder