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(background photo from Ron Lofts' story on Bill Furr of Orangeburg Cycle Shop)
March 15th Edition
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THIS WEEKEND! ...
The Little Weather Quickie for the Greater Charlotte Area
for Week of March 16-22, 2016
Wednesday 84h & p-cloudy, Thursday 77h & sunny, Friday 72h & m-sunny, Saturday 61h & p-cloudy, Sunday 57h & 60% showers, Monday 61h & sunny, Tuesday 67h & sunny (as per weather.com on 315/16)
Danny "The Tarheel Tornado" Dalton does ... and he's inviting us all to share how it is that we remember, honor, commemorate the rides we take. As I say, this thing we all love is called "The Ride." And we are all riders on The Ride, our own experience and expression of The Ride that gives us that inner smile and releases our worries to the wind. It's hard to define and explain and, as the helmet stickers say more to the point, if you don't get it, you never will and I may as well quit trying to explain. Doesn't matter why you ride, doesn't matter where you ride or what you ride or who you ride with. The Ride is what it's about and that's definitely a personally-unique experience.
So there's something very special about The Ride that we cherish in its own corner of our heart. The Tarheel Tornado suggests that if that is so, perhaps there is a reason to honor and celebrate it. He has decided that his experience of The Ride is something he doesn't want to forget or take for granted. And so he's made it a personal project to create some way to remember it all. Read about Danny's Treasure Chest and then give me a shout. I want to hear about your ways of remembering and celebrating The Ride. Perhaps its a scrapbook or bulletin board, photo album or memory wall. A corner of your garage? A quilt? A t-shirt drawer?
Take a more Abstract Look at it
Going a little more abstract, ... are there other ways that we honor The Ride in our life? Look below the surface. Is there some way you have of holding your personal in-the-wind experience in high esteem? Maybe its as simple as the way you prepare for your adventures or how you take care of your equipment and accessories.Could be your way of heading out each time, the way you wave at other riders, certain places you go routinely, art you collect, jewelry you wear, the name you have for your bike/s, the garage environment in which they are kept and displayed.
Looking forward to hearing from you all.
I'm on Facebook ... "friend me!"
When I bought my Harley and got back into bike riding a few years back, I was looking for a way to commemorate my rides, but I did not want to collect t-shirts like a lot of people do. I don’t wear t-shirts like I used to, they take up a lot of space, and they cost a significant amount.
I thought about what the dealer gave me when I bought my bike, and the poker chips and pins came to mind. I thought that would be kind of neat to collect those, sort of like treasure. That would represent the way I feel about riding and getting to see all the different Harley dealerships out there.
My Treasure Chest
So then I started looking for a “treasure chest” that would be suitable to store my collection, again to signify the importance of what the experiences meant to me, and to have a keepsake from each dealer. It took a little while to find something that I thought met my needs, and looked like a treasure chest. Honesty, I didn’t think it would take as long as it did. I was almost ready to build my own to get the size and look I was hoping for, but I finally found one, and put my collection that I had at that point into the chest.
At this point I cannot say how many different dealers I have been to, but it has been several. However, I have a lot more opportunities left, and I am constantly riding by a dealer and thinking to myself “I haven’t been there yet, but I will.” I try to ride to them on my bike, but sometimes it’s just not practical, so I will stop in my car from time to time. I don’t have a goal of visiting all dealerships, but only to try to stop as often as I can. That way when it is all said and done I can go back and look at them, and hopefully remember the experiences of when I was there, and how I got the pins and chips.
What do you do to Memorialize your Rides?
It’s not much, but it is already fun to look through them and see where all I have been, and it got me to wondering what some of you do, so I thought I would ask. What do you do to remember?
We'll be publishing a story about YOUR RIDE TREASURE!
I met Bill Furr a little over 10 years ago when I took my "new (1200 miles)" Dyna Wide Glide to him for some problems. I had purchased the bike from a used dealer in Columbia with 800 miles and bought the warranty package. Immediately it started having a problem at 1500 rpm popping out of first gear. I took it back (which was what I thought I had to do, but you don’t have to go back to the original purchase place, I found out later;) and they took nearly 6 months to say they fixed it. In addition, they said I owed nearly $700.00 as opposed to the $50.00 the warranty said was my share. They tried to charge me for each oil change that they couldn’t get it fixed. With my red hair and temper to go with, I walked out telling them to keep the whole thing. My lovely wife however stayed and negotiated it down the $150.00 for some other parts. Great, if it would have worked. Within 150 miles it was doing the same thing. It was not October and now according to the warranty company I did have to go back to the same place for them to make good on the repairs they said they made. I was not going to do that. So I went to Orangeburg Cycle on 301 or Five Chop Road as it is also known. I knew right away that this was a good move.
Orangeburg Cycle is an "old school" bike shop as you can see from the pictures. While Bill wasn’t on the phone in front of his shop as in the picture, it looks much the same.
Some of the bikes are different and the parts have turned over. But the trophies and especially noticeable are the Wally’s on the parts catalog counter.
This is how you will often see Bill these days, on the phone. Someone calling for help, someone calling for information, someone calling for work to be done, or Bill calling to order parts or ship engines or parts somewhere. From the inside you are greeted with a "wanna-be chopper" with trophies and parts on the wall. You also can’t miss the old school leather jacket and hat with Orangeburg Cycle on the back. This would be an American Pickers purchase right away. Parts coming and going every day. Tires, parts, oil, and within it all the work gets done.
Back to my story on how I first met Bill...
I finally took my bike there and told him the issues I was having and what had happened and that we needed to have something else wrong than the transmission since I refused to take it back to Columbia. (Just a note: it was not a Harley Dealer that I was working with, I know people that go to both dealers in Columbia – Harley Haven and Thunder Tower- and they have had good experiences with both.) He said he could work it out, especially since it had started missing and something on the top end was amiss. I dropped the bike off and Bill took me to work. About 30 minutes later he called and said he found the problem with the transmissio; that when he took the cover off and looked at the transmission, first gear was out of round, causing it to pop out of gear. He also fixed the top end valve issue that had developed all on warranty and charged me the $50.00 as stated in the warranty. Wow, I was impressed. But I didn’t know of the Bill that the drag racing world and others knew. Sure there were trophies, and I figured a good drag racer should know his stuff. But in reading the accomplishments I didn’t realize what a humble man Bill really is. You just wouldn’t know of all he has done.
Bill is still a young man, and grew up with 8 brothers and sisters in Columbia SC. He started out at age 12 on a 1960 Sears Allstate 50. So he started as a rider, became a racer, but never left riding. He started Orangeburg Cycle Shop in 1980 after some time in a successful glass business. In 1984 he started his Nitro Race Team and a second business of Orangeburg Cycle Racing – OCR. He started racing at the Orangeburg 1/8 mile track and was said that he would race anywhere and anyone; which since he has raced across the world in Australia, Puerto Rico, Holland, Germany, England, and Canada.
Let me here list the firsts and accomplishments of Bill and later tell you more about the man I’ve come to know and many people around the racing world already knew...
There is no living Nitro Harley drag racer who has raced in more events, through the quarter mile and eighth mile on more passes with more national titles or even victories than Bill Furr. 9 Top Fuel Championships; 5 Pro Fuel Championships; 2 Pro Drag Championships. First time drag racing in 1984 and started contending for Championships in 1986.
Firsts!!! – First top fuel Harley in the sixes; first pro fuel in the sixes; first top fuel Harley 200 mph record; first double class champion in Top Fuel and Pro Fuel – not once but in AHDRA in 1994, AHDRA in 1995, and ADBA in 1997. In the year 2000 he entered 25 races and made 13 final round appearances – IHRA World National Finalist, AHDRA Eastern Finals (Rockingham) Winner, IHRA Mid-Michigan Nationals Winner, ADBA San Antonio Top Fuel Winner, AHDRA Bristol Finalist Top Fuel (record at 208 mph), AHDRA Budd’s Creek Winner, ADBA Atlanta Pro Fuel Finalist, ADBA Columbus, Oh Top Fuel Winner, ADBA Memphis, TN Pro Fuel Winner, ADBA Houston, TX Winner Top Fuel and Pro Fuel Winner, ADBA Darlington, SC Finalist Pro Fuel, ADBA World Series Adelaide, Calder Park and Willow Bank Australia, Top Fuel Champion.
In addition to the racing success Bill also has contributed greatly to the safety and success of the sport. He is an innovator of Top Fuel Harley racing parts and invented or improved about everything on the racing machine in the Harley world. Originator of the engine safety strap mandated on all Fuel Harley sanctioned races. I can attest to this during my young and short drag racing in Chicago, I saw some engines and clutches on bikes go and severely injure the rider. He has improved the clutch systems and chassis that many still run today. In addition is the 60-degree motor that generates more rpm’s faster than the traditional 45-degree motor. And in his list of accomplishments we would be remiss to leave out that he was twice winner of the Sturgis Buffalo Chip tossing event!
Nitro Harley’s and Nitro riders are a special breed and family. It is a literal explosion under your crotch at 200 plus mph. Bill has recorded a best speed of 216 mph. It is a close family that often helps each other out. One of his competitors, (he will say friend rather than competitor,) tells of a time in Budd’s Creek when he made the finals, but the bike was running poorly. Bill came over to the trailer and watched for a moment at the frantic work of the crew chief and mechanic and then told everyone to be quiet, (Well, he may not have used those words, but did get their attention!,) then asked a few questions and then told people what to do. He won his first national event that day and set him on a path of winning that he continues today. His friend said during the SC Motorcycle Hall of Fame induction ceremony that "when a champion of a sport will step down to help a competitor become a champion of his own sport is the true mark of a person deserving to be inducted into the South Carolina Motorcycle Hall of Fame.”
p.s., Thanks, Tammy! ... I must tell you all that when I asked Bill for some information to put in this article, he gave me just a couple of pieces ... so I had to go to his very beautiful friend, Tammy, to get the "rest of the story." Thanks, Tammy, for your help.
This Past Weekend
... was some really beautiful riding weather. And so when my buddy called to ask if FancyFree and I wanted to join him and his new gal for a ride, we said "Yeah!" before we even asked where or what time or who else. Didn't matter. We just wanted to get out in the sun and wind and shake off the stuff of life. Did us good.
Turned out the where and when and who really totally didn't matter. We ended up parting from our friends and taking our own ride home. One of those easy-paced ones when you're not in too much of a hurry to watch the world go by. Felt good.
Hope you had one of those too.
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