Meeting a Legend at Laconia - English Don
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
We met a true legend, English Don, during Laconia Motorcycle Week 2011 at the Biker Build-Off. Hangin' out, talkin' shop with English Don is an honor I won't soon forget.
On rare occasion you stumble upon celebrity. Such was the case Tuesday as we met a true motorcycle legend, the ‘Slimey Limey’ himself, English Don. He happened to be hanging around at the “Biker Build-Off” competition being held during Laconia Motorcycle Week
English Don helped shape the New York motorcycle scene along with a guy named Indian Larry. Yes, the
Indian Larry. The two shared many adventures, including an epic photo shoot with Liza Minnelli. But before that time, English Don and Steg von Heintz founded two of NYC’s legendary chopper shops, SD Cycles and Psycho Cycles. It was the latter venture, Psycho Cycles, where Steg hired a drug addled, destitute mechanic who turned out to be Indian Larry. English Don and Indian Larry would later join forces, creating the Bayonet Brothers merchandise catalog. He carved out a name for himself with his ‘Digger Swingarm’ bikes, like the 4-speed, 1981 Shovelhead called “Babylon Taxi.”
English Don is back in the States visiting some old riding buddies on his “Ride Like Hell” tour. With help from his biker brother Steg they’ve rebuilt one of the ‘Taxi’ bikes made famous in the NYC chopper scene during the '90s. The new version of course starts with a ‘74 Shovelhead with dual plug heads. English Don said the original was built in 1994, but in times of need, it was sold off. The new owner repainted it and altered it from its original state but still tried to pass it off as an original English Don/Indian Larry creation. Needless to say, this didn’t sit well with ED. The new version, though, has been built for a good cause. It’s going to be auctioned off at the Broken Spoke Saloon during Sturgis with proceeds going toward a liver transplant for English Don as his wild past has caught up to him. Though he doesn’t yet have a donor, he still holds on to hope. And he’s cheated death in the past, so don’t be surprised if he does so once again.
Besides being a builder of bad-ass bikes, English Don has worn several hats, from musician and lyricist, stage performer to writer. He’s seen the rise of the Mods and Rockers and was a prominent figure in the English punk scene. The man is living history. Meeting him during Laconia Motorcycle Week has been the highlight of our trip so far and chatting with him is an honor I won’t soon forget.
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