Gear and Product Reviews
Staff

Staff

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

Whether you want to give your daily ride a new look or build a wild, show-winning custom, you need to meet Swampy Pete. He doesn’t work in the Louisiana Swamps or the Bayou, he is right here in the Midwest! He works out of several shops in Missouri and Kansas, and the fastest and easiest way to contact him is by calling the phone number above.

Swampy Pete can do mild candy repaints to killer, wild graphics. He obviously is a creative perfectionist who never lets a piece of work leave his shop without his and the customer’s approval. He will advise and work with you to get the design and color scheme you have envisioned on your motorcycle.

CC: What is your title?

Pete: Air Brush and Custom Paint Artist.

CC: How did you get your name Swampy Pete?

Pete: A friend starting calling me that years ago and it just stuck.

CC: How did you get started in the business?

Pete: After 16 years of not painting, my wife Rhonda encouraged me to pursue an art career. She is very supportive of my work.

CC: How long have you been professionally painting?

Pete: Four years

CC: Did you have a mentor?

Pete: No, but my grandparents were very artistic.

CC: Do you design the artwork or does the customer provide it?

Pete: Either or but, the majority of the time I design the artwork myself.

CC: What is the cost for basic graphic work and show-winning, head-turning custom jobs?

Pete: Anywhere from $700 to $5,000.

CC: How is price determined?

Pete: The level of detail you have, the price increases because more time is invested in the job.

CC: How many hours does it take to paint a tank from beginning to end?

Pete: That depends on the colors chosen, bodywork required, art work and the like. A real basic opaque color would take approximately 10-12 hours for just the tank.

CC: Can you detail the process for us?

Pete: *Remove oil and contaminants from base metal
*Sand to prep for body work
*Body work - all tanks are going to require some body work regardless of whether it is new or not
*Sand body work in preparation for Primer
*Primer paint
*Sand primer in preparation for sealer
*Seal
*Basecoat - if a candy, paint desired color over chosen base
*Clear Coat - this is my preference. I like to do the art work over the clear so I’m not rushed to clear the tanks before the window of opportunity closes
*Art work/Graphics
*Clear Coat - if pin striping is required, sand, stripe and clear coat again
*Wet sand, buff, and polish

CC: How many times do you have to wet sand and buff before its perfect?

Pete: That depends, but usually once if you spray your clear correctly. It’s a function of how good you are.

CC: What are PPG colors and how many are there to choose from?

Pete: PPG is a paint company. There are literally hundreds of colors to choose from and when you custom mix different colors or candy, your choices are almost endless.

CC: Where do you get your paint colors?

Pete: Generally, I prefer House of Color paint, but I have used PPG and Dupont.

CC: What are Pearls? Candies? Metal flakes? Dagger strokes?

Pete: They are different types of effects. Metal flakes are ground up material that reflects light. You see this a lot on bass boats. Dagger strokes are specific lines that start out thicker and gets narrow. There are thousands of flame designs to choose from, it’s like going into a tattoo studio and looking through all the books.

CC: Do you have a particular style or technique you use?

Pete: 90-99 percent of what I do is freehand. There are stencil kits, but if someone is spending big bucks they don’t want to see a duplicate design on another bike. Also, doing freehand saves the customer money because I draw it, cut it out and actually use it on the bike.

CC: Where do you find the places you work out of?

Pete: Through some of my referrals and friends.

CC: Who do you admire in this industry and why?

Pete: Cris Cruse and Craig Fraizer. I enjoy looking at their artwork and their inspiration.

CC: Where do you see your business in five years?

Pete: Painting more show bikes and cars. I would like to have my own shop and have Rhonda as the office manager so I can focus on the painting versus the administrative work.

CC: Tell us about the DARE truck paint project.

Pete: This was the first paint job I ever did. I knew the DARE officer who convinced his boss to hire me to paint the truck. The truck was recently involved in an accident damaging the driver’s side. So I was again hired to repair the damage and match the artwork. Three years of experience really expedited the process the second time around.

CC: How long did it take?

Pete: Approximately 80 hours the first time.

CC: How long does it take to design and paint a helmet?

Pete: It depends on the design and how much detail the customer wants.

CC: What is your dream project?

Pete: A theme bike or car, wild in nature. My oldest son wants a bike and a car and my other two kids just want cars, and of course, they want me to paint them.

CC: Have you painted anything for your kids?

Pete: Yes, I painted my son’s rollerblade helmet.

CC: I bet he has the coolest helmet on the block! What has been your most bizarre custom request?

Pete: A pumpkin head helmet. A DARE officer brought the helmet to me and said, “I don’t care what you do to it, I just don’t want to get beat up at Sturgis over it!” I used a candy tangerine color and went in the house, got a kitchen knife and then started painting. It was a little demented, but fun to do.

CC: Where does most of your business come from?

Pete: Almost all of my customers come from referrals. I also had a display at a bike show a couple of years ago and that brought in quite a bit of business. But a happy customer is the best form of advertising.

CC: You are awesome at doing portraits; do you see your business expanding to that area?

Pete: I would like to do more, especially drawing the owner posing with their bike.

CC: Wow! That would be a cool gift for a motorcycle enthusiast. What advice would you give to someone wanting to make a career in this business?

Pete: Lots of practice.

CC: What do you want Cycle Connections readers to know about you and your business?

Pete: I’m a perfectionist. I won’t let something out of my shop unless I’m proud enough to put it on my own bike.

Okay, so if you’re looking for that custom paint job, whether it’s traditional, extreme or anything in between, call Swampy Pete at (816) 506-8547. He works mostly out of Scotty’s Carriage located at 1105 Ashland Drive in Cameron, Missouri.

Story by Goldie Arnold
Photos by WTA

On Saturday morning, May 15th, more than 50 riders packed into the small parking lot at Clay County Choppers in Claycomo, Missouri to help kick off their grand opening. There were many great specials throughout the store, and Julie, the eye-popping, bikini-clad Easyriders® Magazine April Fox Hunt winner, posed on customers bikes and autographed photos. Julie is scheduled to appear on the cover of Easyriders Magazine this fall, so make sure to watch your newsstands.

Owners, Karen and Dave Foster, and manager, Steve Lauderback welcomed customers as they arrived, while Kristi Organ was busy working the counter. Clay County Choppers has a full staff to support your every need, including a full line of parts, accessories and apparel. They perform state inspections, and if you're looking to sell your bike, they can fix you up by displaying your bike by consignment. Shop manager and fabricator, Chris Tinoco, was on hand during the grand opening to show off some of his recent works of art, and the very talented painter, John Kissinger was also on hand for all your custom painting needs. Mike Piedmont does the polishing, while John Shaeffer handles used parts, which includes the posting and selling of many items on eBay.

Talented artist, Dave Louden, works from a small office in the front of the shop, and while I was visiting him earlier in the week, he was preparing to ship a hand-painted helmet to actor, and fellow rider, Lorenzo Lamas. Apparently, Dave met Lorenzo at a recent comic book convention, and Dave's work impressed Lorenzo so much, that he asked Dave to hand-paint a photo of his fiancée on a helmet and ship it to him. Dave jumped at the chance to rub elbows with a famous celebrity, so now we're wondering if Peter Fonda or Mickey Rourke is next on Dave's list of celebrity art connoisseurs!

The folks at Clay County Choppers go out of their way to support the local motorcycle community, so it came as no surprise that their grand opening included a benefit poker run to help fellow rider, Aaron Followell get back on his feet after a recent motorcycle accident. When Aaron arrived at the shop in the back of a minivan, a large crowd of friends gathered around to wish him well. I managed to pry Aaron away from the crowd just long enough to find out how he was doing and to ask about his accident.

According to Aaron, on Monday morning, April 5th, he was riding his 2001 Harley-Davidson Springer to work, when a truck turned left in front of him near the intersection of I-435 and Parvin Road. Aaron hit his brakes, but didn't have time to do anything other than brace for the impact. Aaron came out of the accident with a broken arm, several cuts and bruises, and his most serious injury was the seven compound fractures to his right leg. After extensive surgery, involving several pins and plates, Aaron is able to get around for short periods of time in a specially-designed wheelchair. He has a metal contraption attached to his leg that looks like something straight out of the movie, Frankenstein, but he's in good spirits and seems to be healing fast. 'I've done several benefit rides to help others, but you never think it's going to be for you,' says Aaron. We wish him the best of luck, and it was apparent that Aaron was very touched by all the support he received from his friends at Clay County Choppers and the surrounding motorcycle community.

The poker run for Aaron, started at Clay County Choppers, with stops at Antoinettes, Back Door Lounge, Our Place, Wabash BBQ, and ended at JC's Sports Bar, where Karen fed more than 75 riders and passengers. DeAnn Johnson had the best hand and rode away with the first place prize; a $50 gift certificate to Clay County Choppers. A Walmart $25 gift certificate went to second place winner, Rand Acker, and T.C. took home third place prizes, which included a T-shirt and a bottle of Wabash BBQ sauce. Shifty Sheaffer had the worst poker hand, which also won him a T-shirt and bottle of Wabash BBQ sauce. Overall, the benefit ride raised more than $1,200 to help ease Aaron's financial suffering.

And speaking of benefit rides, on Saturday, June 19th, Clay County Choppers is sponsoring the Tom Mattivi Memorial Run to help raise money so Tom's family can afford a headstone for his grave. For those of you who didn't know Tom, he was the owner of JC's Sports Bar, which is just down the road from Clay County Choppers. Tom recently passed away after a lengthy illness, and was a huge supporter of the local motorcycle community. Make sure to mark your calendar and come help support Tom and his family.

You'll also want to mark your calendar for Saturday, June 26th, because Clay County Choppers is sponsoring a bikini bike wash. There will be many in-store specials, and the fine folks from Pig Glow will also be on hand to show you how to really make your bike shine!

Clay County Choppers is located at 312 E US Highway 69 in Claycomo, Missouri. Give them a call at 816-454-8406 or drop by Monday through Saturday between the hours of 10:30 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. or on Sunday between 10:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

Story by Mike Schweder

Photos by Mike Schweder and Bart

Why is F.O.G. Cycles considered by many to be Kansas City's most unique bike shop?

Maybe it's because they are the only bike shop around where you can buy a pre-owned Harley-Davidson, custom built chopper or trike; have your bike serviced; shop for parts, accessories and apparel; then walk through a doorway into a bar to commemorate your purchase over a cold beer while watching the owner play a washboard on stage with the area's finest musicians?

If that doesn't convince you, grab your beer and walk out into the huge open courtyard where you'll find an old caboose that's been transformed into a bandstand. You can plant you butt on one of the many picnic tables for some great people watching or walk through a set of steel gates onto Rochester Street where Frank's famous street parties are held. Speaking of which, according to Brian, the next street party is scheduled for Saturday, July 10th.

If you're there on Friday evening for Hot Rods & Harley's Cruise Night, you'll likely see bikes, and a few hot rods, lined up down the street as far as the eye can see. You'll also want to take advantage of the Friday night specials, including .75 tacos and bucket-of-beer specials. This Friday night event has become so popular; our readers voted Knucklehead's Saloon 'KC's Best Bike Night in 2003.”

F.O.G. may not be the easiest place to find, but its well worth the effort. Anyone who has tried to find F.O.G. Cycles on their own, without first getting some good directions, most likely found themselves riding in circles near some old warehouses or wandering aimlessly up and down the street of a not-so-influential neighborhood. If you're lucky, you might fall in behind some fellow riders who seem to know where they are going. Even if you know where you're going, if you exit off Front Street, there's a good chance you may have to wait on one of the many trains that seem to pull forward and backwards in front of the railroad crossing just to piss you off. I'm told there is a way around the railroad crossing, but I haven't taken the time to figure that one out yet.

So how did this popular biker hangout get started? According to Frank, he owned a body shop and was building and customizing old bikes out of his garage. He found it hard to get parts for his custom bikes, so in 1997, he transformed his hobby into a business and F.O.G. Cycles was born. Midwest Choppers soon followed, as did
Knuckleheads Saloon, which opened its doors a couple years ago. To add another component to Frank’s arsenal, he’s also one of the only Motor Trike dealers in the Midwest. Frank has a great crew working for him, including mechanic, Tom Fine, and Brian 'Youngblood,' who can fix you up with whatever part or accessory you are looking for. Frank sponsors many charitable organizations in Kansas City, including the City Union Mission, Newhouse, Bikers for Babies, and several others.
There are many rumors about what the acronym F.O.G. actually stands for. One rumor is that it stands for 'Friends Only Gathering.' While this may sound nice, knowing Frank, we figured there was probably a better answer. Goldie, our Special Assignment correspondent cornered Frank one evening and got him to give it up. According to Frank, F.O.G. stands for 'F*cking Old Guys.' The next question was obviously, what f*cking old guys? That's when Frank told us the whole story, 'Myself and some riding friends were into hot rod cars. One of the guys had a really ugly car that he entered in all the car shows. Not only was it ugly, it was a money pit and it never won anything. We got together and bought a trophy and one morning at breakfast we presented it to him, signed from the F*cking Old Guys.'
So there you have it! If you've never been to F.O.G. Cycles or Knucklehead's Saloon, it's time to get off your butt, get on your bike, and get on down to 2715 Rochester in Kansas City, MO. F.O.G. Cycles is open Wednesday thru Friday from noon - 8 p.m., and on Saturday from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
If you need directions, which you will, give Frank and crew a call at (816) 483-6320 or go to F.O.G.'s business info page and click Map/Directions.
By Mike Schweder

Lightning Cycle may be the new kid on the block; however, they are quickly finding their niche in Kansas City's ever expanding motorcycle community. Glen and Jackie Holcomb opened their store in November of 2003, and have been anxiously waiting for the spring riding season so they can shift their business into high gear.
When asked how Lightning Cycle got started, Jackie explained that her and Glen love motorcycles and have always dreamed of opening their own shop. They did their homework, found a high traffic area on North Oak Trafficway with reasonable lease terms, ordered their product, stocked their store, and opened the doors.
When asked how they came up with the name, Lightning Cycle, Jackie credits that to her daughter, Tiffany. 'We were driving down the street trying to think of the perfect name, when Tiffany blurted out 'Lightning Cycle.' Everyone liked the name, and Lightning Cycle was born.'
I asked Jackie what makes Lightning Cycle different from other bike shops, and she said, 'We have great prices, we carry many unique items you won't find in a lot of other stores, we have an awesome custom painter, and we cater to all bikes. We also do everything we can to help customers find hard to get items, such as the 8XL jacket and 10X chaps we're trying to find for a customer. We're also looking for a pair of women's chaps with a 42' inseam.' Glen also told me if a customer doesn't have the tools, time, or know-how to install a part, they can install it for them. To accomplish this, Glen setup a small shop area in the back of the store and has very reasonable shop rates. They install neon lighting, which is becoming very popular, as well as light bars and about anything else you don't feel like tackling on your own.
Chris Cofield does the custom painting for Lightning Cycle, while Jim Cone handles the body prep, finish, and fabrications. Chris has been painting bikes for more than 15 years, and sent me a few samples of his work, which are displayed at the bottom of this article. You also can stop by Lightning Cycle to see more samples of his work.
As much as Glen and Jackie love motorcycles, it came, as no surprise that everyone associated with Lightning Cycle is a true motorcycle enthusiast. Glen rides a 2002 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy, Jackie has a 2002 Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic trike. Shawn Rhodes, who also works at the shop, rides a beautiful custom painted 2000 Suzuki Marauder, which was painted by Chris. Shawn's bike took first place in the Asian Cruiser class at this year's Kearney Bike show, and photos of his bike are included in the sample photos below (the orange bike with flames and the jester on the rear fender).
Lightning Cycle's grand opening will take place on Saturday, May 22nd, and they have some great promotions going on you won't want to miss. Glen, Jackie and crew are firing up the grill to cook hamburgers and hot dogs and will be featuring lots of great in-store specials. There will also be music and other fun activities going on in the parking lot, so make sure to drop by for some food, fun and fantastic savings!

By Mike Schweder

Photos by Bart

Gasoline Alley is a great one-of-a-kind bar and restaurant if you want to slow down a bit, enjoy a little nostalgia, meet old friends, and make some new ones. It is an easy place to find, located on Main Street in downtown Warsaw, Missouri. The food is excellent, the beer is always cold and the staff works hard to satisfy every customer. The building has plenty of history, which the owner, Mac Vorce is more than willing to share with his customers. His father owned and operated the original Texaco gas station for many decades before retiring, and was an avid collector of items from those days.

Warsaw resides in a rural setting between Lake of the Ozarks and Truman Lake, which is surrounded by nature and great scenic roads that beckon to all motorcycle riders. I enjoy my rides down to Gasoline Alley, as it is only a short 100 miles from Kansas City, and there are numerous routes from which to choose. The Warsaw area has numerous small stores at which to shop, so make sure you come down with empty saddle bags, backpacks or bungee cords. I like riding around the nearby Truman Dam area, as I enjoy being around the water almost as much as I enjoy riding. If you’re riding two up, make sure your partner has the camera ready to shoot some pictures, as you will come upon many tremendous views of the lake and valleys. If you’d like to stay in the Warsaw area for the weekend or longer, the Warsaw Area Chamber of Commerce can suggest some hotels and campgrounds where you can hang your helmet.

After all that riding, stop by Gasoline Alley for something to eat and drink while listening to the jukebox. Set aside some time to play pool, darts or shuffleboard while those power shoppers in your group do a bit more shopping right outside the front door. Spend some time walking around the bar looking at the old gasoline station memorabilia from the 1920s – 1960s. The collection of oil cans, signs and old pump equipment is a vivid reminder of days gone by. In 2001, Mac merged the gasoline station and the old performing arts theatre building, built in 1903, into one establishment. The balcony, which hangs above the bar, is where the blues bands pour out their soul and music to the customers. You don’t have to sit close to the band, as the music reaches throughout the building. Mac has even placed several televisions throughout the bar and restaurant, ensuring everyone a view of the band. Beginning May 1st, there will be live music from 9 p.m. – 1 a.m. on the first Saturday of every month, with no cover charge.

A little about your host, Mac Vorce. In his younger days, Mac was a mechanic and had a passion for downhill mountain bike racing. He followed this dream for many years, eventually finding himself in Las Vegas, Nevada where he found himself leading more downhill mountain bikes tours than racing, which is when he decided to move to Kansas City. He eventually grew bored and restless with his life there and moved to Warsaw, where he could spend more time with his father. Once in Warsaw, he saw the opportunity to use the old Texaco gas station his father owned and the empty Theatre next door for a new business venture. Mac purchased the old Theater, made major changes and upgrades to both buildings and included all the old gas station memorabilia his father collected over the past several decades.

The end results of this adventure, was the restoration of a 1950’s Texaco gas station and the creation of Gasoline Alley. He selected the name based on it being an old gas station and the thought that most customers would enter and leave from the alleyway. However, this was not to be the case, as most customers come through the front door, right off Main Street. In mid-May, they will open their outdoor seating area for food and beverage service, which is also designed for people watching and sun worshiping!

Plan your next day or weekend road trip to visit Gasoline Alley, and I'm sure you'll enjoy the scenic two-hour ride from Kansas City or your own home town. You can call ahead for group reservations, and make sure to check out Gasoline Alley's web site for more information, including their great menu items. While you're there, say hi to Mac and don’t forget to tell him Cycle Connections sent you!

Bart

Ride Free

Gardner, Kansas may be the last place you’d expect to find one of Kansas City’s finest custom bike builders, but that’s exactly where you’ll find Ultra Craft Customs. Reece and Heath Good have specialized in building unbelievable custom bikes and their talent in sheet metal fabrication is second to none!

As a matter of fact, Craig Frye’s 2003 Ultra Craft Customs Pro Street Chopper made the cover of this month’s issue. The first time I saw this bike was at the Angel Flight: Ride for Life charity ride I attended last September. I was amazed at the level of detail put into this bike and introduced myself while taking several photos of his bike. I told Craig we’d like to feature his bike in our magazine some time and we’re excited to be able to include it in this issue.

I made my way down to Ultra Craft Customs a couple weeks ago and Reece was kind enough to take the time to answer the following questions:

CC: With all these great bikes all around us, which one is yours?

Reece: I recently gave my brother, Heath, my last bike. It is a custom bike I built as a hardtail chopper, with a Shovelhead motor and a swingarm. Heath has completely rebuilt the bike and had it painted a brilliant orange with some fantastic airbrushing and striping applied. The bike will be displayed at the Easyriders Bike Show at Bartle Hall in Kansas City, Missouri.

I’m currently building a new custom chopper for myself and not quite sure how it will look when I’m done. Half of my enjoyment in building a bike comes from the freedom to change and create the design outcome as I see necessary.

CC: How long have you been riding?

Reece: I started out on motocross bikes when I was growing up. I’ve been riding road bikes since 1990, with my first bike being a 1953 Triumph chopper.

CC: Let’s talk about your business, as all riders like to personalize their bikes, whether by adding a few custom parts, all the way through one being built from the ground-up. I would like to share with our readers’ information about your custom bike building business and you, as the owner. How would you describe your business?

Reece: It is a small business, with me being the sole proprietor. I opened my business back in 1998 which was located in a smaller shop. As the business grew, I needed more space and moved to this current location.

CC: Why is your business located at this site?

Reece: I live in this community and it always seemed that we ended up riding in this area. So, when I grew out of my old shop, this one seemed to be a natural location.

CC: What are the advantages of this form of business ownership?

Reece: It allows me the freedom to build unique bikes as the client and I design them. A builder needs the ability to make design changes as the bike is being built, as creativity is what makes each bike special. The builder’s added bonus is seeing the excitement in the new owner as he wheels the bike out for the first ride.

CC: How did you get started in this type of business?

Reece: Actually, my passion for speed, noise and customization began while I was in high school. It started as a hobby, and my first experience was with hot rods, eventually turning to motorcycles.

CC: How did you get the background and skills necessary to run this type of business? Any special training or work in the field?

Reece: My mechanical skills came from a two year automotive school and plenty of hands-on experience. My initial building and sheet metal working skills came from working in a chrome shop for ten years. I was fortunate enough to take several courses from Ron Covell, a well-known California sheet metal designer. He travels throughout the U.S., offering group sessions and videos to reinforce his techniques and tips. My mother, who owns her own business, provides me with great advice on the administrative business side.

CC: Approximately how many bikes do you build in an average year?

Reece: Quality is far more important to us than quantity, so we normally build around six complete bikes each year.

CC: Do you do customize people's bikes too?

Reece: Yes. We do all types of fabrication and build lots of our own parts such as handlebars, pipes, and license plate brackets. We customize approximately 20 bikes per year, and do everything from streaching tanks to fabricating flush-mounted tail lights.

CC: Approximately how long does it take to build a custom bike from the ground-up?

Reece: It depends on the bike, however the average time is normally anywhere between four to six months.

CC: What impacts your business the most and why: social, economic, environmental, technological, legal and political environments?

Reece: The biggest, is the high cost of insurance. The cost to insure a building with all the sheet metal machinery, tools, parts and other required equipment is not cheap. Also, each bike being built in the shop does not carry individual insurance, which requires the shop owner to carry a constant high level of coverage.

CC: Who are your competitors?

Reece: I don’t really see other builders as competitors, as each of us have are own style. There are plenty of builders, and I don’t see any of them searching for work. I’m currently building six bikes, all in different stages, with six more waiting to be started.

CC: How do you market your business? How are people aware of your business?

Reece: I have advertised in some magazines and had a few of my bikes displayed in motorcycle magazines, such as Easyriders and Hot Rod Bikes. I do have a web site, which we are completely revamping to better display what my business does offer. Much of my business is driven by word of mouth, from owners of the bikes I created.

CC: Where do you see your business in the next year?

Reece: Since my business is expanding, I will move this fall to a new location, which will provide me more room to build and additional space to offer parts and accessories. The new location will be at 307 North 7th Street, Kansas City, Kansas; watch for the grand opening!

CC: Do you have any employees? If so, how many?

Reece: I have one employee, my brother Heath. He is a very important part in the success of my business. He is a great builder in his own right. His current bike will be displayed in the Easyriders Bike Show, along with another bike he spent a lot of time on, now owned by Craig Frye.

CC: Can you describe your customers?

Reece: Most of my customers are ones who want a custom bike that is unique in comparison to other bikes. Most are willing to wait for their bikes to be built, knowing that it is a one of a kind, designed with their input. I do some customization for some riders with their current bikes, as they may wish to have a stretched gas tank or custom fenders.

CC: Why do your customers select you over your competitors?

Reece: The biggest draw to my business is the metal working designs we produce in our shop. This does not mean I have the best designs out of the other builders. It is more of the customers likes and dislikes. If the client sees one or two of your bikes and likes your style, they don’t shop around, they come to you.

CC: What are the biggest issues for running this business?

Reece: Drop-in visitors. It's not a bad thing, as we like to show off our bikes as much as they like to look them over. However, it does take us away from our work, which extends the delivery of the rides we are completing.

CC: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

Reece: A custom bike is not for everyone, some like the standard factory rides, with standard parts and a factory warranty. But for the rider who wants their bike to be one of a kind and have some input into the design, then a custom builder is the only answer. Before you buy, look around and talk with the many owners of custom bikes, then pick your builder. Go over your ideas with the builder and see if the four of you are a good match: builder, customer, time and money.

Bart

Ride Free

The first time I walked into Cyco Graphics in Claycomo, Missouri I wasn’t sure if I was in a bike shop or a museum. Immediately upon entering the shop, you’re greeted by Biker Frank, the world's tallest Leprechaun, with Humphrey, the leg-humping dog clinging to his leg. You’ve got to see this, because Humphrey actually humps!

The next thing you pass is an antique coin-operated Indian motorcycle kiddie ride, which Bill dropped a quarter in to show me that it still works. On the right side of the hall leading to the showroom is a 1978 Shortster, which is actually a bicycle with a plastic V-twin looking engine, gas tank, and all the simulated parts you’d expect to find on a Harley-Davidson Sportster. According to Bill, Harley-Davidson didn’t find the Shortster nearly as amusing as the creators, so Harley-Davidson sued the manufacturer and forced them to stop using the name.

When you make it to the showroom, you’ll find a few bikes for sale and all the parts, accessories and apparel you’d expect to find in a typical bike shop. Cyco Graphics offers custom fabrication, service work, and inspections, and can provide diamond cutting on jugs and heads. Although they offer all these things, Cyco Graphics is best known for their unbelievable custom paint jobs and incredible airbrush work.

Cyco Graphics owner, Bill Young, has been painting motorcycles for over 50 years. Nine years ago, Bill decided to open his own paint shop in Independence, Missouri near Fort Osage, and five years and hundreds of custom paint jobs later, he decided to open a retail shop in Claycomo, Missouri. Bill continues to use his Independence location to create his works of art, but also does some airbrush work at his Claycomo location. While Bill does all the painting himself, his nephew, Rick “Scooter” Haskins runs the parts and service departments.

As you look around his shop, you’ll see several motorcycle parts, helmets, and even mailboxes that Bill has turned into incredible works of art. Bill also showed me some hand drawings he was working on, which was unbelievable! If Bill ever decides to get out of the painting business, I’m sure he could find a job at Disney. Bill found it funny I mentioned that because his son just happens to be Disney’s Graphic Arts Director in Anaheim, California. I guess great artistic ability runs in the family.

So how good is Bill’s work? At the 2004 Cycles N More Bike Show, 36 of the bikes Bill painted won trophies. There were 17 first place winners, 11 second place winners and 8 third place winners. At the 2004 World of Wheels All American Bike Show, one of Bill’s customers won Best Paint for the incredible paint job Bill did on his 2002 Road King. When you have your bike painted at Cyco Graphics, a photo of you and your bike is added to “The Wall of Shame,” which runs almost the entire length of the store. I’m not quite sure why it’s called The Wall of Shame, because with all these beautiful paint jobs I’m sure each and every customer is proud to have a place on Bill’s wall.

I asked Bill what designs are most popular among his customers and he stated that flames are still one of the most popular choices. I also asked Bill what someone could expect to pay for a paint job and he replied that his paint jobs normally run anywhere between $600 for a basic paint job to over $3,600 for one of his custom masterpieces. When asked how many paint jobs he does in a normal year, he said that last year alone, he did 43 paint jobs. That’s almost one a week, which led to my next question regarding turnaround time. Bill stated that his normal turnaround time was only 10-15 days. Bill said he doesn’t like to keep his customers waiting and he understands that they want to get their bikes back together as quickly as possible.

Along with creating incredible works of art, Bill goes out of his way to support the local motorcycle community. Bill sponsors two junior dirt bike riders who placed first and second in the state of Missouri for 2003, he sponsors a bike night every Tuesday night at JC’s Sports Bar, which is just down the street, and his shop is a stop for many local poker runs and charity rides. When riders stop by Bill’s shop, he offers free drinks and refreshments.

Bill is also donating a Best Paint trophy for the Kearney Bike Show on Sunday, March 28, as well as a Bike Pro self-locking wheel chock valued at $179. Bill will also have a Load Pro™ displayed at the bike show, which turns your truck bed into a self-storing motorcycle transport system. Make sure to look for the Cyco Graphics tent at the Kearney Bike Show where the talented Eric Campbell will offer custom airbrush painting while you wait.

After spending some time with Bill, it is quite apparent that customer service and satisfaction is why he has such a loyal following of satisfied customers. So when you’re ready for your next paint job, stop by Cyco Graphics at 312 NE 69 Highway in Claycomo, Missouri and tell Bill that Mike sent you.

Story and photos by Mike Schweder