Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Repressing the Inner Voice

Giving Away Power

We can avoid giving away our power on a daily basis by listening to our own voice of knowing.

In many ways, we are taught from the time we are children to give away our power to others. When we were told to kiss and hug relatives or friends of the family when we didn’t want to, for example, we were learning to override our inner sense of knowing and our right to determine for ourselves what we want to do. This repression continued, most likely, in many experiences at school and in situations at work. At this point, we may not even know how to hold on to our power, because giving it away is so automatic and ingrained. 

To some degree, giving our energy to other people is simply part of the social contract, and we feel that we have to do it in order to survive. It is possible to exchange energy in a way that preserves our inner integrity and stability. This begins in a small way: by listening to the voice that continues to let us know what we want, no matter how many times we override its messages. 

Other examples of how we give away our power are buying into trends, letting other people always make decisions for us, not voting, and not voicing an opinion when an inappropriate joke is made. But with not giving our power away we must also be aware of the opposite side, which is standing in our power but being aggressive. Being aggressive is a form of fear, and the remedy is to let our inner balance come back into play. 

As we build a relationship with our power, and follow it, we begin to see that we don’t always have to do what we’re being asked to do by others, and we don’t have to jump on every trend. All we have to do is have the confidence to listen to our own voice and let it guide us as we make our own decisions in life and remember the necessity for balance. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

1971 Harley FLH By Jamesville

James Roper-Caldbeck builds some of the coolest vintage Harleys around. And he’s a long way from Milwaukee—four thousand miles away, to be precise, in the Danish capital of Copenhagen.

James’ specialty is traditional bobbers: clean, low-slung machines with an appealing retro vibe. He’s finally getting the recognition he deserves, with a coveted place in The Brooklyn Invitational show later this month.

You’d be hard pressed to tell, but this FLH is actually a budget build. “Jens, my client, came to me asking for a bike similar to David Beckham’s Knuckle, built by the Garage Company.” There was just one small problem—Jens was on a Budget.

“As we all know, in the world of vintage Harley-Davidson, shit is getting really expensive,” says James. “Especially when you start mentioning the words Knuckle, rigid frame and springer.”

James suggested a different direction. One option was to use a late Shovelhead Electra Glide, and when Jens saw some examples, he was excited again.

The project started with a 1971 FLH shovelhead that had been repainted in a bright blue. “Otherwise it was in extremely original condition,” James notes, “right down to all the factory hardware, like the nuts and bolts. That’s rare.”

Mechanically, things were pretty good. The engine and transmission had already been rebuilt and the S&S carb looked new, so James’ main job was to install a new electrical system. He also got rid of the huge battery box: “After finding the smallest battery possible, I then chopped the original box down and used a Sportster battery cover.”

The tank is from a Danish SCO moped, and something of a signature item on Jamesville builds. After adding the mounting tabs and a new petcock bung, James made a new aluminum gas cap to replace the original plastic one. (“I don’t like plastic.”) The rear fender is from a Super Glide, which James chopped. “I then welded the tail closed, and installed two marker lights as the taillights.”

He’s installed 19’’ Akront aluminum rims front and back, and covered them with 400-19 Excelsior Comp-H tires with a classic European three-block tread pattern. (“I was told they were used on British racing cars in the 30s.”)

James admits to having misgivings when he started the build—he’d never built a custom bike using a swingarm frame before. “The hardest and most important job on these bikes is getting the stance right. That’s true with all bikes, but with a swingarm, stuff is moving…”

I’d say James got the stance just right. There’s a late 60s muscle car feel to this FLH, helped by the red leather tuck n’ roll seat. The racing stripes paintjob subtly amps up the vintage vibe, and the twin rear lights look like they’ve been lifted straight off a ’68 Charger.

If you’re within shouting distance of NYC, head over to the sixth annual Brooklyn Invitational on September 20. A Customs From Jamesville ’49 Panhead will be on show, alongside machinery from other Bike EXIF favorites like Walt Siegl, Dime City Cycles and Scott Jones of Noise Cycles.

If that’s a little to far to travel, head over to the Customs From Jamesville site to see more of James’ work.

Article by Bike EXIF
1971 Harley FLH by Jamesville |

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Sitting with Our Sadness

Sitting with our sadness takes the courage to believe that we can bear the pain and we will come out the other side.

The last thing most of us want to hear or think about when we are dealing with profound feelings of sadness is that deep learning can be found in this place. In the midst of our pain, we often feel picked on by life, or overwhelmed by the enormity of some loss, or simply too exhausted to try and examine the situation. We may feel far too disappointed and angry to look for anything resembling a bright side to our suffering. Still, somewhere in our hearts, we know that we will eventually emerge from the depths into the light of greater awareness. Remembering this truth, no matter how elusive it seems, can help. 

The other thing we often would rather not hear when we are dealing with intense sadness is that the only way out of it is through it. Sitting with our sadness takes the courage to believe that we can bear the pain and the faith that we will come out the other side. With courage, we can allow ourselves to cycle through the grieving process with full inner permission to experience it. This is a powerful teaching that sadness has to offer us—the ability to surrender and the acceptance of change go hand in hand. 

Another teaching of sadness is compassion for others who are in pain, because it is only in feeling our own pain that we can really understand and allow for someone else’s. Sadness is something we all go through, and we all learn from it and are deepened by its presence in our lives. While our own individual experiences of sadness carry with them unique lessons, the implications of what we learn are universal. The wisdom we gain from going through the process of feeling loss, ay  heartbreak, or deep disappointment gives us access to the heart of humanity. 

This is dedicated to and written for my daughter Laura who has been through a lot losing her son at 11 months old. This is his birthday and he would be 8 years old today. See you on the other side Euan

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Top 10 Qualities of Successful People

What do you need to find and develop within yourself to be most successful? 
The answer comes from looking at those who have created success in a variety of fields. These traits may sound very simple, but they do lead to remarkable results.

If you really want to bring success into your life, you should cultivate yourself just as you'd cultivate a garden for the best yield.

The attributes here are shared by successful people everywhere, but they didn't happen by accident or luck. They originate in habits, built a day at a time.

Remember: If you live your life as most people do, you will get what most people get. If you settle, you will get a settled life. If you give yourself your best, every day, your best will give back to you.

Here are the traits that the highly successful cultivate. How many do you have?

1. Drive

You have the determination to work harder than most and make sure things get done. You pride yourself on seeing things getting completed and you can take charge when necessary. You drive yourself with purpose and align yourself with excellence.

2. Self-reliance

You can shoulder responsibilities and be accountable. You make hard decisions and stand by them. To think for yourself is to know yourself.

3. Willpower

You have the strength to see things through--rather than vacillate or procrastinate. When you want it, you make it happen. The world's greatest achievers are those who have stayed focused on their goals and been consistent in their efforts.

4. Patience

You are willing to be patient, and you understand that, in everything, there are failures and frustrations. To take them personally would be a detriment.

5. Integrity

This should not have to be said, but it's seriously one of the most important attributes you can cultivate. Honesty is the best policy for everything you do; integrity creates character and defines who you are.

6. Passion

If you want to succeed, if you want to live, it's not politeness but rather passion that will get you there. Life is 10 percent what you experience and 90 percent how you respond to it.

7. Connection

You can relate with others, which in turns makes everything reach further and deepen in importance.

8. Optimism

You know there is much to achieve and much good in this world, and you know what's worth fighting for. Optimism is a strategy for making a better future--unless you believe that the future can be better, you're unlikely to step up and take responsibility for making it so.

9. Self-confidence

You trust yourself. It's as simple as that. And when you have that unshakeable trust in yourself, you're already one step closer to succeeding.

10. Communication

You work to communicate and pay attention to the communicators around you. Most important, you hear what isn't being said. When communication is present, trust and respect follow.

No one plans on being mediocre; mediocrity happens when you don't plan. If you want to succeed, learn the traits that will make you successful and plan on living them out every day.

Be humble and great. Courageous and determined. Faithful and fearless. That is who you are, and who you have always been.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Black Attack | Custom Harley Sportster

A Motocross Inspired XL
Street Chopper Staff, Photography by Wes Drelleshak

n the skateboarding and snowboarding scene, it's all about pushing yourself to go faster and bigger. The problem is, this often leads to faster and bigger slams. But then that's all part of the love and passion people have for these sports.

You can't have a striped-down, aggressive-looking bike like this without making sacrifices. This bike's owner, Tanner Irion, summed it up perfectly quipping, "You have to pay to play," when we asked him about riding this balls-out, black-as-night, XL-powered street menace.  

And anytime Tanner puts more than a hundred miles on his bike he's reminded of the sacrifices he's made to have such a killer machine. But he wouldn't have it any other way. "I've been on a 400-mile ride on this bike. Yeah, you definitely feel it. Your body aches. The guys I rode with thought I was crazy. It's not for everybody and that's what sets the bike apart from the rest."

Tanner grew up slashing across the coping of empty pools on his skateboard and plowing through plush piles of fresh powder on his snowboard. To mix things up he would add some two-wheel mayhem into his adrenaline fix and rip up muddy motocross tracks.

Unfortunately a couple of Tanner's motocross buddies were seriously injured or killed, which led to Tanner's wife convincing him to sell the dirt bike. Still wanting to feel the thrill of two wheels, Tanner made good on his dream of always wanting a Harley and followed one of his skateboarding buddies over to Foundry Moto.

"The first time I went to the Foundry shop was sort of sketchy. It's in a shady part of Phoenix and when I walked up, there was this massive dog on a short chain going nuts at all these chickens running around. Then this guy walks up from the back of the shop, grabs a chicken by the neck, and tells me to follow him. We walk to the back of the shop and he tosses the chicken into this cage with an alligator and we just walk away. It was pretty crazy. I thought I was going to end up as the shop gimp tied up in their basement."

As they say, "You always want to make a good first impression," and right off the bat Tanner knew that the Foundry Moto crew had the right mix of out-of-the-box thinking and live-fast mentality to build the bike he was thinking of.

"I wanted the bike to have an old-school flat track racer feel," Tanner told us. "I wanted it to be tight, responsive, and quick, just like riding a skateboard or snowboard. I also wanted it to be stripped down and stealthy. I'm not into flashy chrome bikes."

After discussing his ideas of a moto-inspired pavement ripper with the Foundry guys, Big Chris, Danny G, Robbie, Rudy, Matt, and Jay, they came to the conclusion that the 883XL engine and Paugcho rigid frame they already had on hand would fit the build perfectly. From that point most everything else was fabricated or modified in-house. While Rudy was busy slicing and dicing the bottom of a sporty tank so that it could be frisco-mounted on the backbone and making a custom barrel-style oil bag, Jay was busy tearing the mill apart to bump it out to 1,200 cc. Tanner brought in his favorite set of Renthal motocross bars, and Rudy replicated the bends of the 7/8-inch bars perfectly with some 1-inch tubing. The rear of the frame was kept simple yet still served a purpose as Rudy fabbed a pair of mini struts, then added a short rear skirt in an attempt to keep some of the road debris out of Tanner's crack. A set of take-off Mag wheels, Harley mids with Moose Racing alligator pegs, shaved 39mm legs, some throwback Hunt-Wilde bicycle grips, a rectangular KC headlight, and for a true motocross look/feel, a Baker chaindrive conversion kit were added. The build wrapped up with a deep gloss-black base set apart with some matte black paneling done in-house by Chelene, and a piece of hand-carved cow skin by Robbie that was riveted to a super-thin pan.

"Waiting four months seemed like an eternity for the build to be complete," Tanner commented. "Making weekly visits to the Foundry was rough. Everytime I stopped by, all I wanted to do was take it home, or at least on a testride. The hardest part was during the shakedown stage after final assembly. I wanted to be the one to shake out all the problems, but for some reason Rudy wasn't having it. I guess I found out why when I prematurely took the bike out for a long ride and the handlebars almost came off in my hands. Is that bad? Now that it's complete, I love riding it. It's like sessioning on a skateboard or snowboard. It's really narrow, super responsive side-to-side, and quick. It's definitely not a pig or slow to react. The Foundry boys killed it, and I owe them all a big thanks."