The humble beginning.
My first motorcycle when I turned 16 in 1959 was a 175cc Allstate
similar to the one pictured above that I am now in the process of
restoring. I loved that bike. It gave me a feeling of freedom. It would
do 80 WFO. We did it a lot. I was addicted. I recall always having to
buy or carry oil to mix with the
I've always LOVED speed.
My next bike was a brand new 1959 Ducati 200. Candy apple red. Beautiful
machine. Wish I still had it.
At age 17 I arrived in Las Vegas in 1960 to serve my 4 year Air Force
enlistment earning just over $70 per month as a jet mechanic. I earned more money from my
paper route when I was 16.
I began my racing career in 1962 competing in Nevada
desert races riding a '57 650 Triumph. Real speed! Imagine dodging
boulders and cactuses at 80mph!
I began my business career in 1963 with a
storefront in Las Vegas catering to racing bikes. I named it Competition
Cycle Center. The cycle business continued part-time in Milwaukee in my
garage after I left the Air Force until I rented an old service station on
South 22nd and Greenfield Avenue in 1967 to have a place to
work on my racing motorcycles.
To support my expensive racing habit I
began repairing motorcycles for the public. I was traveling to races all
over the mid-west and it was getting hard to make ends meet. I had just
left my two year (1965 - 1967) job at Harley-Davidson Motor Company as a
factory mechanic so I needed to earn some money. Through the fall of 1967
and winter of 1968 I drove a taxi cab 7 nights a week to survive. Driving
a cab is a lot more dangerous than racing. I carried a pistol.
In March of 1968 I placed a radio ad on
WRIT in Milwaukee for motorcycle
repair and tune-ups and became the 1st Milwaukee area motorcycle
business to advertise on the radio. It brought me instant credibility and
business and by fall 1968 I was looking for a larger building which I found on South 27th
and National. By 1972 I had to build an addition on to the building to house
my 21 employees.
In the summer of 1968 my life changed a
lot when I raced a 500cc BSA Gold Star
flat tracker for Internationally known AMA Motorcycle Association Hall-of-Famer Daytona winner Bob
Hansen (Team Hansen- check out a current
Photo Gallery picture of Bob) all over the country. We won races, stopped at most
Dairy Queens, had lots of fun and are still good friends.
In summer of 1970 I performed for two
days as the
opening act in the Motordrome at Summerfest in Milwaukee after their
regular opening act rider disappeared. I rode my American Eagle 405cc
Husky clone TT dirt tracker and it was way too fast
but still an incredibly fun adventure. When you go too fast in the big
wooden barrel the centrifugal force drains the blood from your brain and
you get dizzy and crash. I found that out the hard way. 3 things happen,
you hit the wall and stop real quick, then you fall to the bottom of the pit
and then your bike falls on top of you if it hasn't run over you yet. It
was still great fun.
In the early '70s I was traveling with my motorcycle
thrill show which included me jumping over cars
for 2 years. We did county fairs, drag strips and car and motorcycle
races. A movie called "Death Riders" was based on my thrill
show the a few years after I quit because I was tired of traveling with
people it took to put on great shows. I did have a lot of fun and met some great people.
In the mid-seventies I put on Moto-Cross
racing schools at Aztalan and Maplehurst. I still hear from my students.
In the late seventies I became an FAA
certified Flight Instructor. Mostly to be able to fly airplanes and have
my students pay for the airplane rental. That was a real adventure.
Imagine riding on the back seat of a MX bike flying through the air trying
to talk the rider on the front seat into making a safe landing without
hurting himself, the bike or you. But I loved the speed- well over 200mph some
times. I am still an active pilot flying several airplanes. It's a big
part of my life.
In the fall of 1982 I started a computer
business which grew rapidly and in 1990 I sold the motorcycle business.
I have done about all there is to do
riding motorcycles. I feel very fortunate and blessed.
I love helping people and I'm truly lucky to
be able to make a living working with clients and their computers. Every
business I've owned has been a hobby that got out of hand. I feel like I've
never had a real job because I've always done for a living what many people enjoy
as a hobby.