Sunday, February 13, 2011

Brother Ben

Hey, it's black history month! Wanna learn something?
This is Ben Hardy, Brother Ben. He is a very important bike builder that you may have never heard of because of the racial tensions in America throughout the time he was building. The saddest part is, I guarantee you know his work. He only built the most famous chopppers of all time...

Brother Ben's shop. Still standing today, I guess it's an auto shop now.

That's right man, Brother Ben built The Captain America bike and the Billy Bike from Easy Rider, which is the most famous biker movie of all time. Not the best, but definitely the most famous. Well maybe Sons of Coolarchy is a bit more famous these days, but what does that say about us?
Besides the point, Ben wasn't credited as to building these bikes, because he was black.
I bet everyone I know could tell you the colors of these bikes, but only a handful know the color of the man behind the bikes skin. I'm not gonna get all political on you, but that's some bullshit.

Even lesser know is that Ben also built Peter Fonda's Panhead for "Wild Angels" This bike is far cooler than the Easy Rider bikes too. The weird dragon/alligator and rest of the paint was done by none other than Kenneth "Von Dutch" Howard.

I once read that Roger Corman made all his movies for under 2000$ each. Its unfathomable to be able to have a custom built motorcycle like this, as well as enough bikes to fit an entire club and make a movie for only 2 grand. That wouldn't even buy a basket case panhead these days. Or the Von Dutch tins.

You may not have seen Wild Angels but you may recognize "Heavenly Blues" speech from "Losers" funeral.

"We want to be free! We want to be free to do what we want to do! We want to be free to ride. And we want to be free to ride our machines without being hassled by The Man. And we want to get loaded. And we want to have a good time! And that’s what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna have a good time. We’re gonna have a party!"

This isn't about Peter Fonda, this is about Brother Ben, and this is what black history month is all about. The recognition of what Black people have done for us and our culture. We'd be fucking lame without them man. We'd be a bunch of pencil pushin' squares listening to bad music, speaking like some Shakesperian fruitcup. So give thanks for what we have been graciously given/stolen from our black brothers.


sTr8_3dG3 said...

very cool

motoroz said...

Awesome post. I love history and this is great stuff. I am now going to do some research on Brother Ben. Thanks. Great blog.