INSOMANIAC

A SHOV­EL­HEAD BUILT ON SLEEP DE­PRI­VA­TION, BEER, AND SMOKES

Street Chopper - - Contents - WORDS: MARK MASKER PHO­TOS: MARK VELAZQUEZ MODEL: RADA BUDYOUNOVA

A Shov­el­head Built On Sleep De­pri­va­tion, Beer, And Smokes

If you fre­quently can’t sleep, you’re an in­som­niac. If your crazy ass chooses not to sleep a lot of the time, you’re an insomaniac. See­ing the mir­a­cle Tim Van­der worked to build this ’82 Shov­el­head, I’d say he qual­i­fies for the lat­ter. For years this bike sat in AJ Herold’s brain, a men­tal em­bryo await­ing birth in the real world. It ges­tated on a steady diet of con­ver­sa­tion and beer. “We talked about it here and there over a lot of beers,” Tim re­counts. “He started slowly col­lect­ing parts for it, had wheels be­ing built.”

AJ’S vi­sion was an ’80s-style New York City/jer­sey chop­per that was fast, skinny, and nim­ble. What you see here is the gen­e­sis of that vi­sion as born of Tim’s shop, Van­der­bilt. “It is ex­tremely fast and nim­ble,” Tim told us. “The kinda bike that makes you gig­gle and puts a smile on your face.” You’d think that a project that took years to fi­nally get go­ing wouldn’t be rushed. And you’d be wrong. Shortly af­ter the mo­tor was good to go and the frame brought to life by Trevor Wade, Tim got the in­vite to the Brook­lyn In­vi­ta­tional Show a scant seven weeks away. Six and a half weeks is plenty of time to build a chop­per— pro­vided you’re bolt­ing a bunch of stuff to­gether from a cat­a­log. It’s not much time if you’re a small shop and have to bust out the torches and grinders to make stuff. “The un­re­al­is­tic six-and-ahalf-week build time was hard,” Tim ad­mits. “I had a lot of help from friends, in­clud­ing AJ Herold, Corinna Mantlo, Josh El­lis, Alex Learner, Kick­start Wal­ter, Ed­die Lights, and Sal Pepe for some coach­ing with the driv­e­line— espe­cially in the fi­nal week with fi­nal assem­bly.” He had

friends with noth­ing to do with bikes get­ting him food, beer, and smokes or just stop­ping by to show sup­port or lend­ing ex­tra sets of hands as needed.

Six weeks of min­i­mal sleep ex­acts a butcher’s bill from your body and mind. With all the help Tim got from some great peo­ple, though, he made dead­line. The bike was ready for the show at 7 a.m. the day of and de­liv­ered to the in­vi­ta­tional at 8 a.m. I’m think­ing Tim hi­ber­nated a few days af­ter that. Or maybe he just sent friends out for beer and cig­a­rettes be­fore jump­ing on the next project. SC

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