|It's a small out of the way bike shop. You know what I mean--
Tucked up a side street, an independent store, not a dealer. You spy the sign one day while out for a ride, go right by it, and then--
Something makes you turn around and pull in.
You park your bike, and walk inside to check it out. Its looks dingy, but you never know. Maybe there are some nice bikes, some rare machinery.
And friendly people, with stories to tell. It's empty, and there's not much work to be done. There's a sign up that says customers aren't allowed in the work area, but Big Sid doesn't give a damn about
"liability"and you get to go back and see for yourself.
At Big Sid's you got the run of the place: look, read, learn. And maybe you got a question, that's ok--just contact Big Sid and we will do what we can.
Well, if you like the vintage pics and the writing, then please consider buying a copy of
with Big Sid. We also have a few other items to flog, so visit the swapmeet . I also encourage you to sign our guestbook because it is the old school thing to do, man. Now that the photohistory is done, we at Big Sid can finally finish the next one:
A Wish in the Veins,
a tale of motorcycling,
so stay tuned.
Meanwhile spend some time at Big Sid's. We humbly think that if you do you will want to own the books excerpted here.
Big Sid's. Only on the net.
Through the Megaphone #9: The First 3,000 miles:
Memorial Day 2001, 70 degrees and sunny here in Kentucky, found me out on my Shadow, for a 60 mile ride. Louisville, a horse Mecca, is, not surprisingly, very amenable to riding motorcycles. River road, which runs along the Ohio river, is the center of cruising activity, so first I headed there for a go-round, stopping at a biker watering hole that has docking accommodations for boaters who wish to take a nip at the bottle. There were perhaps 75 bikes in the lot when I first pulled in on my Vin.
One thing about attracting attention (and like it or not, and lets face it, you not only like it when you ride a Vin, it flat becomes an addiction: cause life suddenly seems so damn dull when you are not riding one of Phil Irving's creations): guys will come over and fire out questions before you even cut the engine, which I find bothersome and on more than one occasion has led me to forget to switch off the gas or flip off my lights. I find now that what I like to do is get away from my Shadow so that I can sit and have a drink and watch people look at her without having to yap.
After making that appearance, I headed out highway 42 into horse country. I was being tailed by a car and pulled over to let the cage pass when before I could resume two modern Dukes whipped by. I followed at about 95mph and began to close the gap. I guessed they would turn to carve on a side road and sure enough I had gotten close enough to see them shooting down to the river on a landing road that I knew well. I turned and kept on. When I got to the landing they were no where to be seen so I figured they had taken another side road that meanders along the river. I rounded a turn and there they were beside their bikes. I pulled over and we had a nice chat. They were on 996SP's, one fully tricked out with carbon fiber down to the vented clutch dome cover. I asked if I could tag along as were returning to Louisville, and off we went for about a 30 mile jaunt, back to the aforementioned River road bar.
Riding with the current creme of the crop was an eye-opening reality check. It was amazing to watch them disappear as we pulled off. Going through some serious back road twisties (the kind where I felt the need to stay close enough to observe when Duke rider #2 would extend his foot to point at the branches in the road or the caked mud from tractors) I came to a new appreciation for a Vinnie's third gear, just park it there and forget it. Where they would hit 90 before closing down to 30 I was content to see 60. For variation, we took the interstate the last 5 miles or so and we cruised along side by side with the Shadow clock showing 105mph. Afterwards, we chatted about the marvels of the first superbike and the latest modern wonders. Especially impressive was the absence of any oil puking out of the Shadow except for a few drops out the breather hose. I did spot one memento of the ride: the rear liscence mount had busted free of the nut securing it to the bottom of the rear fender. Exactly the kind of damage I don't mind: a chance to pull the tool tray out and resecure it (fortunately the two washers had sufficient area to tuck it between and tighten). Who knows when it broke loose (perhaps that moment in the twisties when the bike tracked into a funky rut in the road and cautionary words from Carl Hungness flashed in my mind while I did a "gotta cut sideways now and get over to the smooth part" adjustment. . .)? Looking around the parking lot at all the chrome doodad dragging Fat Boys, we wondered how they would have performed. One of the Duke owners, coincidentally a Professor at the same University where I teach, declared that he would rethink the urge he had to buy a new Harley for cruising. Maybe not a Vincent but something with more utility than a big Harley.
The Shadow's performance that day was a far cry from its maiden voyage. On the first serious outing, I remember pulling off the interstate to turn around and while at a light, the Vincent was leaking so much oil out of various joints that I felt like Satan himself, the smell of burning oil was strong indeed and the air around me was hazy with smoke, and I mean all around me. When breaking in a Vincent, you got to keep going over the hardware, apply permatex where appropriate, and she should button up reasonably. That is not to say that I do not encounter a rocker feed bolt that needs attention or a timing side screw with some oil welling out. I keep a rag in my leather jacket and some PJ1 at home and I am a happy camper.
Enjoy your stay at Big Sid's, and look for us out on the road.