Body and Machine
The time is finally here, we have a winner of the 2017 Garage-Girls Ultimate Biker Makeover brought to you by Allstate Motorcycle. #keepridersriding
Patricia L. Thurston aka “Ditch”, Congratulations you are this years winner!
Every year we say this, and trust me, every year we mean it. It’s very hard to pick ONE winner, we had 61 entries this year, and the team had to narrow that down to only 4. From there we had a select panel cast a vote. Patricia took the win this year and will be getting “hooked up” with tons of gear for not only her motorcycle, but also with gear for herself!
We are pretty sure you will understand why she was chosen. Patricia has, like many of us, been faced with obstacle after obstacle in life, and somehow manages to carry on. We are really happy to shine some light on her with the help of our awesome sponsors and send some goodness her way. If you take a minute to read her story we are pretty sure you will be able to relate.
We need to send a GIANT thank you to all who submitted an entry, you all are deserving and we sure hope we get to meet some of you out on the road at an event. Thank you of course to our sponsors who make this all possible. It is a great feeling knowing we have partners in our industry who feel just as passionate about helping a fellow rider out as we do. Next year will be the 10th anniversary of the Garage-Girls Ultimate Biker Makeover and we are looking forward to planning a great one full of surprises!
“Why me? I was working on my 1998 Dyna Superglide and realized it was in dire need of a little care to ride again, I wondered where I was going to find the few dollars I needed just to get a pair of “boots” (tires) on “Baby”, just to ride her. I would like to note, I perform my own bike mechanical work, to include removal of tires; for the change.
Oops! I should provide some history, I’ve been struggling with health issues and really wanted to try to go for my masters degree. I was at a government job and the position didn’t work for me as a person, I left in July 2016 the nice IT analyst position, keeping my integrity intact. I Felt since I had already been looking for work, something would crop up soon…it hasn’t! Not many take lightly leaving a position of that nature, but life’s too short for taking oneself into the gutter and my faith tells me, God has a plan somewhere down the road. Just prior to leaving my job, my family had been struggling, my son, an over the road truck driver, was nearly killed in a freak accident that quite literally peeled the semi and trailer apart, leaving him dangling for his life, buckled behind the drivers’ front wheel, at about 55mph while taking out a toll gate…seems there were issues with the brake lines.
The last year has been none to kind to my son’s family, as he and his fiancé and five grandkids of mine struggle with Chris’ near crippling back and short-term memory head injury issues from the semi-wreck. I’ve been supportive, both financially and of course, as a mother, lots of love. During this time, I drained years of small savings, just enough to live; as I really hadn’t tucked much away, I used the money to continue my masters, pay my monthly bills and help my family as much as I could. Now, several thousands gone and still no work. As I take moments riding in the wind, I feel my faith knowing, it’s in the plan!
Oh, it gets better, as our family struggled along, in late October 2016, life changed again for us as a family, more than it should. I was in PA/WV for the “Aidan’s Ride”, when I get a call very early in morning from Colorado, my son was a piece of the news, a hit-and-run motorcycle accident and he nearly lost his leg! They caught the person, with limits of liability, so the medical expenses were at least covered, however, he now has a rod holding his foot on, and now has to see heart and neuro doctors’ due to the damage to his body.
Me…I’m out of money now… Chris had to return to work, though he qualified for SSI, and we struggle. I keep praying somehow, the plan will unfold and things will work out. Now, I write this essay, with the miles I travel, about 11K or more yearly, just need the few things, tires for my dyna and the oil and few other items to maintain my bike, I love to ride, in the wind” – Patricia L. Thurston “Ditch
Thank you for sharing your story with us Patricia!
By; Leah Misch
As a new Garage Girl is about to be crowned with a wrench in their hand; I smile reflecting on how much the Ultimate Biker Makeover changed my life. Wow, did I learn a lot this past year…
For instance, I learned a muffler and an exhaust are two different things when I installed the Twin Slash Slip-on from Vance & Hines. Who would have thought a muffler silences noise and is not the exhaust system itself!
One of the prizes I was most excited to win was a new pair of boots from H-D Footwear and Cobra Tires from Avon Tyres. Lol, I remember commenting, “I’m excited to win a new pair of heels and my motorcycle is excited for a new pair of wheels”. This is when I learned tires and wheels are also two different things! Hey, I’m learning!
The Ultimate Biker Makeover Contest motivated me to learn self-maintenance on my Indian motorcycle. There was just one thing I needed; a set of tools! I bought my first set of tools and used it to change my oil with the Spectro Oil I just won. Yes…. I did manage to strip the drain plug, but I learned how to use a torque wrench!
…despite setbacks the curiosity of learning kept me motivated
I learned how to self-install Kuryakyn accessories, a sporty Mustang Seat, and Klock Werks adjustable handle bars with, the editor of American Iron Garage. I give Tyler credit for being so patient to teach me the self-installs with a million questions from me of how these fascinating tools worked.
One of the coolest parts of wining the contest was the friendships I made along the way. Dean Young II and Grant Hillegass taught me to self-install the Stealth Two air filter in my Indian Scout motorcycle and in doing so took me under their wing to teach me Motorcycle Education 101.
The team from S&S Cycle invited me to their facility where Grant Hillegass gave me a personal tour of their museum. This is the day I learned so much about motorcycle performance. For instance, a Dyna (Harley Dyna) and dyno (short for dynamometer) are two totally different things. However, S&S cycle makes them both perform well.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve made my mistakes while learning motorcycle maintenance; but in comparison, who hasn’t ‘fallen off their bike’ as they learn to ride. It is the courage to get back up, get back on, and learned to ride thanks to Sara Liberte.
I’m not sure how I could ever repay Sara Liberte from Garage Girls for what she did to change my life by establishing the Ultimate Biker Makeover Contest. However, in paying it forward it has inspired me to create a platform for motivating someone down the road. I am in the process of creating a website www.ridingwithleah.com for people to follow my journey of overcoming life adversities through sharing my travels around the United States. My goal is to someday use the website blogs to write a book, thank you Sara Liberte… You Go Girl!
Thank you Leah for staying in touch, we are thrilled to see what you have learned and gained from this experience. Thank you to Allstate Motorcycle Insurance for helping us to #keepridersriding
photo credits: Tyler Greenblatt
Thank you to all who submitted entries for the #ultimatebikermakeover We have 61 entries to read through, and like every year, wish we could help everyone “Score” the gear! The best part of our “Garage Community” is the ability to help one another. We encourage you all to help others out any opportunity you have. What may seem simple to you, can make a huge difference to someone! Thank you to Allstate Motorcycle for helping us to #keepridersriding We also want to say a sincere thanks to the sponsors that help us organize this event, Harley-Davidson Footwear, Indian Motorcycle, Spectro Oils, Design Engineering, Inc., S&S Cycle, Inc., Kuryakyn, Klock Werks, MotoChic Gear, Mustang Seats, Memphis Shades. We will announce the winner here on August 10th! Stay Tuned!
“We couldn’t be more excited to work with the Sturgis Buffalo Chip” said Alex Josefson, President of Spectro Oils. “They run an amazing operation at the highest level and have many exciting events including legendary concerts, rides, races, contests and more. The experience at the Buffalo Chip is unlike any in the world.”
As part of the partnership Spectro Oils will have a large booth in the vendor area that will be staffed with oil experts able to answer any questions you have about oils. Oil changes will also be available at the newly built Sturgis Rider Superstore at the Buffalo Chip. Talking on the partnership, Buffalo Chip Owner Rod Woodruff said “Spectro Oils is the go-to name in motorcycle oils. We are all about motorcycles and we chose to partner with the best. They value quality and appreciate the highest level of performance as do we.”
When riding out, around and then back home from Sturgis, many riders will need a complete fluid change to keep up with the amount of miles put on their rides. Riders can find all they need at the Sturgis Rider Superstore at the Buffalo Chip. Spectro will have a wide variety of oil change options for you to make sure your motorcycle is protected and running at peak performance while visiting Sturgis. Spectro Heavy Duty 20w50 Engine Oil will be available in Petroleum, Semi-Synthetic, and Full Synthetic options. Combine that with Spectro Oils award winning 6-Speed Transmission Oil, and Primary Chaincase Oil for a full fluid change. Riders will then be able to see (and feel) what makes Spectro Oils The Best Oil On Planet Earth!
We like this bag from Kuryakyn, looks like we could stuff a bunch in here!
You have seen his builds on TV, John Shope of Dirty Bird Concepts® takes a vision and pushes it beyond conventional boundaries. The renegade “Risk Taker” is a veritable mastermind of unadulterated concepts capable of taking any ride to another level. Now the Dirty Bird is teaming up with Mustang Seats to develop the new Shope Signature Series designed exclusively for Indian Motorcycle. Two brands founded on quality, purpose-built products, are now delivering the ultimate fusion of custom design and quality craftsmanship.
Available in either a Café or two-up Tripper style, seats feature a diamond-stitched pattern with the exception of the Café style for the Scout which is Tuck and Roll stitched. All four seats feature double stitched, high quality expanded vinyl plus a perforated design center panel for a custom flair.
As with all Mustang seats, the marine-grade fiberglass baseplate, proprietary comfort foam and individually sewn covers are proudly handcrafted and assembled in their New England facility (tours are available by appointment).
For more information, visit www.MustangSeats.com
Kuryakyn has released a small but visually effective part of Indian Scouts. the new Coolant Hose Cover picks up where the factory left off, delivering a clean, custom appearance for the liquid-cooled middleweight powerplant. The bolt-on cover features A380 aluminum construction with a grooved and contoured “elbow” profile offering full wraparound coverage of the exposed coolant hose to help minimize excessive engine heat. Available in chrome or satin black finishes, installation is hassle-free for all ’15-’17 Scout and Scout Sixty models reusing factory bolts. Check them out here.
Below is an update from our 2014 Ultimate Biker Makeover winner Chris Gibbany, she has been busy and is now gearing up for a cool long ride. Check out what she has to say.
“Since my last update in early 2016, my life has kept revolving with new adventures. One of my biggest goals has always been to attend The Horse Smoke Out. With pets and other obligations, this has not been possible….until NOW! Our beloved dog of almost 11 years passed away in late December and a few months later I found out some exciting news; “The Long Road” is leaving from Eureka Springs, Arkansas, just 45 miles from where I live!!!! “The Long Road” is a multi-day journey in June that consists of 1000+ miles and starts each year from a different part of the US and ends up at Rockingham, North Carolina, where The Smoke Out is held.
In 2015 my Panhead tattoo sleeve was in the magazine’s “Tattoo Corner” segment and the following month, my 1981 Ironhead “Iron Man” received a four page feature. The Horse Backstreet Choppers is one of my favorite magazines and I wanted to be there in 2015 when the issue went on sale at The Smoke Out with my Ironhead. Fast forward to 2017 and I am riding my Panhead full time and almost done with my 1939 Knucklehead.
When I decided to ride my 1956 Panhead chopper, that I designed and my husband and I built in a backyard shed, everyone was skeptical. My bike has an open belt primary and just a small strip of leather screwed onto a Baas Metalcraft seat pan. I was told that no woman has ever ridden a vintage, much less a hardtail vintage bike on “The Long Road”. I would have never dreamed that when I bought my Panhead engine eight years ago that I would be doing this! I have also been fortunate to obtain supporters for my big ride. Most of which were part of the Garage-Girls Ultimate Biker Makeover.
STA-BIL and 303 Products are my main sponsors for riding “The Long Road”. I love STA-BIL and 303 Products are the best I have ever used, especially the 303 Aerospace Protectant. Gold Eagle, makers of STA-BIL and 303 has been great to support me in all the events that I am involved with.
Avon Tyres has come on board as a sponsor since they remembered me winning the Garage-Girls Ultimate Biker Makeover in 2014. I only run Avon MK II’s on the front and back of my bikes so I am very grateful to have them as sponsors. The Avon MK II’s look awesome on classic rides plus they handle and perform even better!
Spectro Oils also stepped up as a sponsor for my trip. Spectro sent me a case of oil when I won the Makeover in 2014 and I am now getting the chance to use their straight 60 weight oil in my vintage bikes! Not only are they supporting me on “The Long Road”, they are also helping support my vintage car addiction by sending me their Motor Guard high zinc oils made specifically for flat tappet cams. Most conventional oils do not contain enough zinc or phosphorous so I am really looking forward to trying this oil from Spectro!
Viking Bags and Motorcycle House have decided to sponsor me as well by providing me with a Go Pro Hero 5 Session video camera to take on my trip! I have been working with Viking Bags and Motorcycle House on and off since 2014. I have recently had the opportunity to test some of their AWESOME products. Their Viking Bags are very well made and I am really in love with their moto backpack, but I am most impressed with their leather jackets (which weigh six pounds each) and are high quality like the vintage Wilson Leathers of yesteryear!
Baker Drivetrain has agreed to help me and I absolutely won’t build a big-twin Harley without the N-1 shift-drum that puts neutral on the bottom. In my opinion, that is where it should have been from the factory. I bought my first one in 2013 and purchased another one for my Knuckle shortly thereafter. My tattoo artist, Dessa Blackthorn, owner of Tattooz by Sassy in nearby Mountain Home, Arkansas has stepped up to sponsor me; so has my favorite cousin, Carla Curtis!
My main passion in life (besides old Harleys and hot rods) is PROMOTION and MARKETING. Several magazines are already up for running this as a feature. I am looking for other sponsors to help supply me with gear or anything else I might need. I will be taking my camera with me and recording images along the way.
I am currently in the midst of hosting my second annual “Throwback Thursdays” where I show old car movies at the local Drive-In, free of charge to anyone driving a pre-1980 vehicle. Although everything I do is 100% volunteer, I am using my GOD given passion to not only promote women but the hobby in general. I would like to motivate others that if you have your priorities straight, you can accomplish almost anything you set out to do!
I live and breathe for the machine!” ~ Chris Gibbany, Old Iron Never Dies!
You can be a part of history during first ever all-women’s motorcycle festival at the largest party in the world: the Sturgis Buffalo Chip during the 77th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally!
The Wild Gypsy Tour is for the unbridled spirit: the ones looking for a place to belong and live freely.
This is a festival that combines the freedom of the past with the untapped spirit of the future. The Wild Gypsy Tour will curate an original experience uniting women from all corners of the globe with the common desire to ride, live, learn, and have fun all at the world’s largest party, the Sturgis Buffalo Chip motorcycle rally. to learn more check out The Wild Gypsy Tour.com
Be advised, this is a women only event; no men?? How does that make you feel?
Kuryakyn® and the Sturgis Buffalo Chip® kicked off the Midwest’s biggest bike show with a bang, debuting the 2017 Rock, Rumble & Rebellion signature build in front of a packed house at the 30th annual Donnie Smith Bike & Car Show.
Representing seven days of electrifying racing in August at the Buffalo Chip Moto Stampede™, the sleek, industrial appearance of the 2017 Harley-Davidson® Street Glide® strikes a balance of refinement and straight-up rawness.
“As an aftermarket company, we were honored to take on the challenge of representing the Buffalo Chip’s 35th anniversary last year with a bike build,” said Holger Mohr, Kuryakyn President. “As enthusiasts first and foremost, this year’s focus of bringing racing back to the Chip is equally exciting for us. The Kuryakyn design team came up with an authentic race theme that truly embodies the ‘rumble’ in Rock, Rumble and Rebellion. There’s no better way to introduce our newest products to core Kuryakyn customers, and we’re proud to do it alongside the Buffalo Chip on the biggest stage in the motorcycle industry.”