1931 Cover Bike

 
   by Gordon Platto
Michigan USA
  Like a great Blues or Bluegrass singer feels when they sing that incredible song, my affinity for motorcycles and the motorcycle culture is felt in my bones and soul. As with many true "Old School" motorcycle enthusiasts, their love affair of the machine started at a very young age. As you can see, I've had oil running through my veins for over thirty years now, it's just evolved from bicycle chain lube to 60w Harley Oil. 
  At the age of 9, I was building chopper bicycles, three wheel chopper dragon custom scale models and engrossing myself in any and all motorcycle and chopper magazines a 9 year old could get his hands on. The motorized two wheelers came about a year later when my dad brought home a mini-bike with a 5hp Tecumseh...It was all over from that point on with mini trails, dirt bikes, and finally street bikes. My parents never let me own a street bike when I was under their roof,
but as soon as I graduated from college and settled in with a real job, one of the first things I did was purchase my first street bike. There was never any question regarding the brand of motorcycle I wanted, as I was convinced there was only one brand...Harley-Davidson. Fifteen years ago my street bike endeavors began with a 1962 stroked Sportster (my leg gets tired just thinking about kicking it over), followed by a 1969 Electra Glide two years later. I restored both of these bikes myself to stunning showpieces.
  Currently, I own the 1931 VL Harley-Davidson pictured on the cover and a 1948 Indian Chief. I love to "drive" the bikes rather than letting a bike drive you, as it requires a bit of work on the rider's end. Part of the joy of ownership for me is to work all the "stuff" like the spark advance, tank shifter, foot clutch, and throttle all of which are the exact opposite between the Harley and the Indian.
 
  The picture on the cover was shot at the H-D 100th Anniversary in Milwaukee on Lake Shore Dr. when Lorie and Preacher pulled me over for a closer look at the bike and a quick conversation. I had planned on riding the VL to Milwaukee for the event, but had to have the motor rebuilt two weeks before and felt it would not be a good idea to break the bike in on the way there. Fortunately, I had it trailered out there and I rode a 2003 Anniversary Road Glide from Detroit, which was an absolute treat for me with a radio, and real SUSPENSION! What a great memory and a great experience to participate in Harley's history making event!! I will remember it for many, many years to come. I hope you had a chance to enjoy the event too!
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