Wasn’t Born To Follow

Although it didn’t end well for Wyatt, Billy or George, Easy Rider was one hell of a movie, with an iconic soundtrack featuring The Band, Hendrix, Steppenwolf and, of course, The Byrds

“Wasn’t Born To Follow” is, for many reasons, the perfect song for this blog entry.  Read on…

I have a theory.

Seems to me that hard working American trade professionals share jeans (no, not genes) with the classic American cowboy, that solitary, horseback riding, living-life-on-his-own-terms maverick who, as the song says, wasn’t born to follow.

Think Will Kane with a Sawzall instead of a six-shooter. Or maybe Paladin in Have PEX-Will Travel, or Lucas McCain in The Boilerman.

And it’s that connection that gives tradesmen today a passion for motorcycling.  Swap horse for Hog and we’re ready to saddle-up and ride into the sunset.  It’s as American as hot dogs, baseball and the Taco 007!

Tradesmen and tradeswomen – more so than any other segment of the American population (“Part B” of my theory) – are bikers to the core, whether we ride or not.  It’s the rush of the road, the drumbeat of V-twin-driven, two-wheeled machines.

That cowboy-biker spirit certainly thrives at Taco.  CEO and Top Dawg Johnny White (pictured below) rides an old Fat Boy or a sassy new Rocker.  Product Manager Carl Perrone buzzes around on his four-cylinder Yamaha FZ4, while Taco-Canada’s Sean Giberson tools around Toronto on his silver VTX1800 chick magnet. Sean’s a dirt biker at heart, but he loves his cruiser.

Talk to any tradesman/biker about their bikes and be prepared to do a lot of listening.  There’s a romance to the road that’s only possible to know, see, smell and feel when there’s nothing between you and an open horizon.  On a bike, it’s just you, the engine’s rumble and thrust, the wind against your chest and a bug-spitting grin on your face.

“Riding takes a back seat only to the family and fishing,” says Minnesota contractor Eric Aune, who’s been known to visit customers or submit estimates aboard his ’83 Road King “shovelhead.”

Fifteen years ago, Aune and buddies Jake, Nate and Noah pointed their bikes south, winding up on the other side of the Rio Grande.  More than 5,000 miles later, having survived the rigors of the road, the tequila, the senoritas and the banditos, they returned home sore, but with an unforgettable memory.

Sadly, Noah was killed by a drunk driver a few months after their trip.  “So, for me, Jake and Nate, we realized after losing our best friend that the trip was meant to be, was irreplaceable and would last forever with all of us.”

John Perry of Advanced Comfort Systems in North Smithfield, RI comes from a family of bikers.  “I use my Dad’s Road King,” says John. “Actually, it’s more my Mom’s than my Dad’s – she rides it more than he does.”  (Note to readers – Mom’s in her 70′s!)

No bike of your own, John?

“Had to sell mine 20 years ago.  Got married, needed the money to buy a house. Priorities,” he said, but he didn’t sound happy about it.

Not to worry, though, John’s ready to “Cowboy Up” on a Hog of his own.

“I want it to go look at jobs with,” he says.  “Gotta save money on gas, you know?  All I need is a tape measure and an iPhone.”

John’s market stretches from Providence to Boston, so saving money on gas can add up.  But John, why not a Smart Car?

“Are you kiddin’ me?”

Wasn’t born to follow…

Hog-fever has sparked a special “Biker’s Club” group on Taco’s FloPro Neighborhood, where bikers show off their babies and swap stories about especially good rides. And Taco-inspired biker madness inspired industry writer Dan Vastyan to go mano-a-mano with OCC on a chop-shop effort to build an ultra-custom, old school “bobber.”

An avid biker and Taco fan, Dan combined his passion for hydronics and two-wheeling to build the “TacoBike,” which made its debut at the NAOHSM show in Hershey, PA in May.  It’s a lean, green hard-tailed “bobber” machine that embodies the essence of good Taco customers everywhere:  solid, compact and powerful; stealthy and low to the ground; custom-fit for the biker seeking the open road’s heart and soul.

“It’s even got a dash of Taco’s all-American individualism, entrepreneurial drive and spirit,” explains Dan.  ”There’s no other machine like it on the road. From its Taco ‘tattoos’ and big, whitewall tires, hand-crafted leather seat with FloPro impeller, to its custom, rigid frame – this machine was built to be like Taco in every way possible a bike could  resemble a manufacturer and its customers.

“We now know so many people in the Taco camp, with loads of bikers at the company and among its customers,” Dan says. “The inspiration to build a bike honoring them was an easy thing to do – and a whole lotta’ fun in the process.”

Haven’t seen the TacoBike yet?  Here are a few shots, and we’ll soon have a new website with photos from the NAOHSM show.  On August 20, Dan and the TacoBike will join a mass of bikers for a fundraiser in the Toronto area in support HRAI (Heating, Refrigeration & A/C Institute of Canada), Habitat for Humanity and the Canadian Institute of P&H.

And with so many great songs about motorcycles, perhaps it’s fitting to end the blog with an all time motorcycle classic from the great Arlo Guthrie:

I don’t want a pickle…

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