Exploring the Unknown

Exploring the Unknown
Representing the 99%!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Return of the Bangladeshi and his 1976 Harley-Davidson Shovelhead

Pic © Ruptanu
It's hard to believe that it's been three years since Ruptanu and I were looking for the gas cap that had fallen off his newly acquired 1976 Harley-Davidson Shovelhead on some random street in Montreal. We had just picked up the bike and like any biker who has bought a bike, any bike, new or old, he was grinning from ear to ear the whole time despite some of the more obvious and immediate issues plaguing his then thirty-four year old motorcycle. As it would turn out, Is it Just Me or Did My Gas Cap Fly Off? was just the beginning of their relationship. A relationship perhaps best described by Charles Dickens who begins a Tale of Two Cities (1859) with... " It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...."

Ruptanu - Wrencher, Artist, Biker

Pic © Ruptanu
If you can remember that old look, compared to that, I have tried to give it a fat boy appearance. Hence, I've changed the front and the back fenders, tires, seat (not so much, except for a new one), handle bar, mag wheels, lights. Some I bought new, some I got from some old bike. And most importantly I tried to shed as much chrome as I could and took the shine out of the rest by glass blasting. I have blackened it up almost. Mat in particular. My goal (was), which hasn't come to total fruition yet, to make it all menacingly black and give it an old run down look. I really dislike shiny bikes. However I am noticing a lot of black bikes on the street these days. So I am also pondering throwing in some pale color in the bike this winter. That is of course whatever I can do by myself.

Pic © Ruptanu
My artistic imagination runs only so much. Doing black is one thing but colour is another ball game. However, I did the paint job myself. 40$ for a few roll of sand paper, 30$ for a few can of spray paint, but saving 1400$ from a pro painter was priceless.  You are right in saying that keeping an old bike is not so healthy for your pocket. I have spent an hefty amount on that so far. Just to fix the mechanical issues. And it's been faithful so far except for few hiccups, which is quite expected from a 37 year old machine. I did think a few times to get a more reliable, newer bike, then again I just couldn't let it go. Where is the fun if your ride is smooth!

Ruptanu - Adventure Rider

Pic © Ruptanu
One day while returning to Montreal from Sherbrooke it started to rain cat`s and dogs. Yes really, the rain was so heavy it was really cats and dogs and bulls and sheeps. I could see lightning touch down in the near distant land. I was ready in my mind to get one of those any moment. however, I am not sure what stupidity or courage, whatever way you wanna call it, got hold of me that night,  I kept on riding in that heavy rain, maintaining a speed of 80-100. My only goal was to get back home as soon as possible. trust me when I say, I couldn`t even see the road properly as my goggles was covered in rain water. all I was following, the white border illuminated by my head light, through the corner of my goggles. Every curves I was thinking I would skid any moment.

Pic © Ruptanu
I do not believe in God, but if I did, I would say someone was watching over me. I had two minor accidents before. Both the time in rain and my bike skidded while stopping. But I really don`t know why I reached home safe without a single incident that night. I was in total shock and awestruck when I reached home in one piece. I wasn`t sure what to make out of it. The feeling was comparable to as if I fell off a ten floor building and survived to tell the tale. If you are wondering why I didn`t pull over, well, it was late, I was all soaked, and all I wanted was to reach home. every exit to a gas station looked like isolated desolate place in some distant planet, in that time of hour and rain.

Ruptanu & Harley - 2012
People often look at a bike and think about how they can go about changing it to suit their needs, their personality, their dreams. However, we often overlook how the bike itself equally transforms us and changes us to suit its own needs. Anthropomorphic, perhaps, but nevertheless, Ruptanu started off with little knowledge about motorcycles and over the course of the last three years he has managed to turn an otherwise lemon into a reliable(ish) daily rider. He knows every line, every mechanical sound, every nook and cranny of his beloved bike. A bike that, despite the odd tiff, still captures his heart and imagination as he can't bear to part with it. And why would he? And should the day come where Ruptanu and his Harley feel the need to part, I suggest he reconsider and if nothing else, place the bike in his living room where it can rest easy knowing that no matter what it made a biker out of him.

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Pic & Words (Except The Introduction and Conclusion) © Ruptanu

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