Curious what it takes to build a custom bike for the first time? Take a look at co-founder WhiskyEye’s journey as she completes The Bug Out for this year’s Greasy Dozen Builders’ Collective, put on by Old Bike Barn.
I’m constantly chasing new exciting & challenging experiences, and building for The Greasy Dozen did not disappoint. Take a look through the gallery below to see my journey start to (almost the) finish.
I saw an Instagram post in October showing the dates for this year’s Greasy Dozen Builders’ Collective. Spending time with the crew from The Lowlife Chopper Podcast had grown the passing thoughts of chopping a bike into a very realistic possibility. I’d been tinkering with my rides for two decades - so why couldn’t I build my own? A dear friend had been killed in a car accident less than a year before, and that loss sparked an aggressive shift in how I was living my life. I’ve always done things a bit outside of the box, but I realized that so much of what I had always dreamt of doing was finally attainable - I was in a place in my life to afford it, I had the time, so why not?
In late October, after mulling the idea over for a couple weeks, I headed to Vermont with some friends to visit the guys at Vintage Steele and scoop some parts. Over lunch, I shared the news that I was considering tossing my helmet in the ring as a Greasy Dozen builder for 2019. When I said I would have 5 months to build it, using my old rusty 83 Nighthawk cb650sc, the looks around the table were less than encouraging. I had no real experience, no real metal working tools, and no shop. The timeline seemed insane, and I ended that day thinking it was too crazy an idea, and it could never work.
I woke up the next morning, still thinking about things. I’m best on a tight timeline; it’s how I get things done. I learn really fast, I have a huge supportive network of talented people who I knew I could reach out to when necessary, and I simply wanted to enter. I didn’t think it was likely I’d get picked, but I said the hell with it. I wrote up my entry and submitted it.
I figured since I was going to build the bike no matter what, I should probably have a place to work. In less than 3 weeks, I built a brand new 10x16 lofted shed in my yard which quickly expanded to a metal working space and paint booth in my basement. I hit up a few folks to learn in their space and use their tools while slowly acquiring the rest of the tools I needed finish work at home. I got to work dismantling the bike and transporting it from my parents’ yard to my house while counting down the weeks till Old Bike Barn shared the names of the winners.
The date of the announcement was originally set for a week before Christmas, but ended up being pushed out a week - meaning I spent all of Christmas Eve waiting for Instagram to show a post with the names. Some other friends who ended up entering after me were also at home refreshing their feeds. When they were released and I wasn’t among the winners, I was pretty devastated. My submission had been shared, and I had invested so much time in getting ready! I shared my congrats with those who were chosen, and told myself it was better not to have that deadline.
Despite all my research and excitement, I had somehow missed that a Lucky 13 was chosen each year. I got the news I had won late Christmas night, after a LONG day of staring at my Instagram account. I cried, (which may or may not have had something to do with the whiskey my husband and I were drinking) and immediately called my mom.
The Bug Out may be my first build, but it’s in no way my last. I’ve learned so much so fast, learned how much I still need to learn, and acquired so many tools, that there’s no way a second one isn’t on deck! I’m so grateful for the friendships that have grown from this event, for my friends and family for being so understanding as I constantly turned down invites and became a basement dweller, and for my husband supporting me every step of the way as I turned into a grubby mechanic with a consistent look of bewilderment.
I hope you enjoy my photo journal - this documents some of the most intense and enjoyable months I’ve had in a long time. Remember, just because you haven’t doesn’t mean you can’t. Keep chasing the dream!
A HUGE THANK YOU to all the sponsors!!
@biltwell @lowbrowcustoms @oldbikebarn @sscycle @indianlarrymotorcycles @ledsledcustoms @cyclesourcemagazine @genuinemotorworks @chopcult @thehorsebc @keithscustomseats @matneyresto @diycycleparts @babesbikesbeards @fatman_custom_motors @lowlifechopperpodcast @chicken_fried_choppers @dirtybuilds @raven_customs