Biker Blog

American Chopper May 7 “Malaysian Adventure”

This week on American Chopper Sr. gets a little too comfortable wearing the local fashions of Malaysia, Jr. stays home and has a serious chat with Mikey and Jason decides that “alligators are punks.”

The episode begins with about five minutes of final assembly on the One Malaysia Bike complete with an air intake shaped like the Petronas Towers of Kuala Lumpur. The white framed chopper that OCC began building last week for the Malaysia Tourism Board is decked out in the yellow, blue and red of the Malaysian flag.

Sr. rubs it in to the employees’ who won’t be joining him on the OCC trip to Malaysia to deliver the bike to the Malaysian Prime Minister. He then hops on the completed bike for the standard pre-delivery test ride. Sr. has to reach for the handle bars, which makes me doubt they took into account that the Malaysian Prime Minister is only about 5’2’’.

Meanwhile Mikey visits Paul Jr. to discuss the news he dropped on last week’s episode. He’s decided that he’s maybe, possibly, considering, thinking about quitting the show. Though his plans are always qualified by “If I do”’s and “I’m thinking about”’s, he still seems convinced that his life would be better out of the spotlight. His main rationale being that the cameras are coming between his and his father’s reconciliation. I don’t know, but I think the text Mikey sent saying “You lie, stay away from me” a few weeks ago is more of an obstacle than the show. But what do I know.

Jr. is supportive and has a very different reaction from Sr. last week, who brought up the fact that turning down a TV show is turning down a lot of money. I’m not sure how much each Teutul is paid per episode for starring on American Chopper, but I imagine it’s more than Mikey will make selling pasta sauce and painting with finger paints in his art studio. I guess in a way it’s admirable. In this age of everyone and their Kardashian sister trying to get a reality TV show, somebody is actually willing to turn it down.

The next scene we are whisked to the other side of the planet to Langkawi Island, Malaysia, where interestingly we are reminded of all the perks of being on a TV show. The trip took Sr. and crew more than 30 hours, but that does little to dampen the look of childlike delight on Jason’s face as he spots his first wild monkey. If you need a trigger word for your drinking game of this episode, it should be “monkeys” because the OCC guys yell it out every few minutes for the rest of their trip.

After some rest, the crew is issued scooters and forms their own scooter gang in the Malaysian jungle. It’s “Devils Ride Malaysia Edition” (more on Discovery’s new biker show in a minute). The Tourism Board planned a series of adventures including hiking up to a mountain waterfall and swimming in the waterfall pools, a boat ride through a mangrove forest, feeding stingrays and putting horseshoe crabs on their heads. This episode we also learn something new about Sr. He’s afraid of bats, and almost refuses to walk through the bat cave. Guess there won’t be any Batman inspired choppers in OCC’s future.

They ride a cable car to the top of a mountain, and Jason attempts to write his name on a bench, only to prove he’s not smarter than a kindergartener, when he spells his first name wrong.

Finally it’s time to head to the city of Kuala Lumpur to deliver the bike. While exploring the city, the guys shop for gifts for their wives and girlfriends, and Sr. inexplicably tries on a flowery purple dress. More disturbing than funny, I can only guess he’s trying to pick up some of the slack for the lack of Mikey antics this episode.

They take a ride up to the sky bridge of the Petronas Towers, formerly the world’s tallest buildings before 2004. They do a press junket with some eager reporters and finish the day delivering the bike to cheering crowds. Not a bad week of work.

This episode also featured an extended trailer for Discovery Channel’s new biker show “Devils Ride” premiering tonight. The scenes of revving engines, bar fights and brotherhood has us more than a little interested to see what kind of staying power this show will have.

"Easy Rider" Movie Review: Biker Freedom on the Open Road?

Can anyone really be free of the constraints of society? Iconic motorcycle riders Wyatt and Billy sure give it a try in the 1969 film “Easy Rider”. Coming out of, or perhaps as backlash against, the bikesploitation films of the ‘60s, “Easy Rider” isn’t a biker gang movie so much as it is a tribute to the outsider, to one who searches for a new path through life. We follow the journey of Wyatt (played by Peter Fonda) and Billy (played by Dennis Hopper) as they travel from California towards Florida where they plan to retire after a final, very lucrative cocaine deal. Let the hazy, hippie adventures ensue.

 Easy Rider Movie Poster

The film is a perennial fixture on lists of the top biker movies, but younger audiences are likely to be more confused than inspired by the main characters’ beat generation sensibilities. I mean, are Wyatt and Billy really so okay watching a crowd of rednecks punch and kick their friend to death that they don’t even seem upset the next day while dropping acid and having orgies? It’s one thing to be laid back, but come on.

Let me rewind a little first. The movie opens outside of La Contenta Bar where the protagonists pick up and test out a new shipment of cocaine. They then deliver it to the distributor for a large wad of cash and hide the money in Wyatt’s star-spangled gas tank. Whether you love or hate this movie, you’ve got to appreciate the scene where they take off across the desert as “Born to Be Wild” is playing, letting the audience taste the thrill of a cross-country motorcycle trip.

The wardrobe choices are also pretty awesome. Wyatt, a.k.a. Captain America, is covered in red, white and blue with a star-and-stripes patterned jacket, helmet and motorcycle to go with his leather pants. Billy looks like an escapee from a wild west show wearing a brown leather jacket with loose fringe hanging from his arms.

The duo don’t talk much as they cruise through the sweeping vistas of the American Southwest. They make only brief stops to refuel, eat or toke it up around makeshift campsites. They stop by a farm when one of their tires blows and there’s a fun juxtaposed scene where they fix the tire while someone shoes a horse in the background.

After picking up a mangy hitchhiker, they learn he’s the charismatic leader of a hippie commune. Wyatt and Billy deliver him home and stop a while at the commune to watch the flower children, young women in barely-there cotton dresses and overly thin young men in serious need of a cheeseburger, scurry around with a dozen or more actual children underfoot. Is anyone else worried these love children aren’t in school?

They all sit through some kind of trust circle and everyone seems thrilled to be living so unconventionally, but for all the optimism, there is trouble on the horizon. These hippies have the will to be self-sufficient, but we get a glimpse that hunger will soon challenge their freedom. We’re presented with the doomed vision of hippies trying to plant seeds in rocky desert soil.

Wyatt and Billy decide the commune isn’t their bag either and take off to crash someone else’s parade, literally. They ride their motorcycles through the middle of a marching band and find themselves in a small-town jail cell, put there as much for having long hair as riding their bikes on a closed street. Once in jail they meet George Hanson, an alcoholic lawyer from a wealthy family. Played by a very young Jack Nicholson, George has been put in the cell to sober up, but quickly latches on to his unusual biker cellmates. They give him a vocabulary lesson on the meaning of the word “dude”, and pretty soon they’re making plans to ride to New Orleans together to see Mardi Gras.

George wearing a football helmet because he didn’t have a bike helmet, uses his subtle southern accent to give voice to the problems Wyatt and Billy have an will continue to face. When they arrive at a bar in Louisiana, the local good ole’ boys stare the three down with outright contempt and seem ready to start a fight at the slightest provocation. This scene was especially hard for me to believe. I mean really? All these guys did was wear funny outfits and ride into town on motorcycles. It just doesn’t seem all that odd to someone who rode the subways in New York City for a year.

The three skedaddle quickly and are followed out by a gaggle of admiring teenage girls wanting rides. Wyatt, Billy and George apparently aren’t interested in the jailbait, however, and ride up the road to set up camp and get George high. While under the influence, George goes on a wild rant about aliens living among us, but in a moment of possible clarity, we get a statement of what all this anger from the townsfolk is really about.

“What you represent to them is freedom – if they see a free individual, it makes them scared.”

And it turns out to be more true than any of them could have imagined, as this is the night where George meets his demise after the guys from town ride in and brutally beat him to death. This seems rather traumatic, but does this make Wyatt and Billy decide to cut their hair and don white collared shirts? Oh no, instead they keep traveling and arrive at a brothel in New Orleans.

The two bikers plus their two hired girls stubble around Mardi Gras on acid and witness a series of probably artistically significant images. The scene in the graveyard when the trip starts to go bad is probably especially significant and arty.

Finally, Wyatt and Billy come out of their stupor and continue on toward Florida. They should be celebrating at this point, but Wyatt is clearly not happy. They still have the cash, and they’ve almost reached their sunny retirement destination, but Wyatt’s only comment is “We blew it.” References to snorting coke notwithstanding, I can only guess that he feels like a sellout. There are a lot of interpretations out there on what exactly he means, but if he considers himself a sellout for participating in the system by cashing in on the drug money, then they were never really free from the beginning.

I won’t give away the ending in case you are one of the few who doesn’t know what happens to our intrepid travelers. But I will say that it was a total shock for me and really a pretty harsh depiction of rednecks.

Overall, “Easy Rider” is hard to watch if you need things like snappy dialogue, plot and character development, but if you can be happy with a killer ‘60s soundtrack, the open road and a red, white and blue biker helmet, give it a shot (pun intended).

American Chopper April 23 "No Cameras"

This week on American Chopper Jr. builds a bike for a ballplayer and Sr. finishes a bike for a pillow maker with a '70s 'stache.

Two time World Series winner Aaron Rowand (#33) wants a custom motorcycle and is a big fan of Jr.'s Black Widow bike. At the time of filming he was signed with the Miami Marlins, but on March 29, 2012, he was released. So now he has a lot more time to ride.

Aaron drops by the shop to check in on the build and gets measured for his custom motorcycle. I'm sure everybody including Jr. was thinking of decorating the bike with baseball diamonds, and I really liked the idea of leather baseball stitching in the tank. Aaron, however, wanted a much more subtle baseball theme than a mascot clown bike. While he's there he signs a few autographs for the kids and wins the World Series of wiffle ball.

OCC is still building the My Pillow Bike, which will be an era correct 1970s themed chopper.

Sr. tells Rick, "As long as we're on the same page, you get to do your own thing." Rick and Rob decide to paint the bike retro blue to match Rick's sports drink and then immediately paint the bike black. By the time I start thinking, "Hey, what happened to the blue?" Sr. is spraying the bike with silver flake because apparently you can't screw that up. Next comes the candy blue, and it starts to look like sea shells. Then Rob actually starts painting on fish scales. Now the 12 foot long bass boat is complete.

Drop in a Panhead motor from S&S, and once Sr. figures out which way the wheel goes on, the bike is ready for a test ride. When is the last time you saw an actual, real chopper with a 40 over front end complete with Z bars riding down the road? Radical. But how do you turn?

It's almost a good thing Sr. doesn't have to ride the bike through the Mall of America in Minnesota and up a ramp considering its dimensions. I don't even know how they got it on the trailer. At the unveil we learn that the bike is complete with a My Pillow seat and will travel around the country.

Who knows what really happened at the meeting between Jr. and Sr. Hopefully they can honor the agreement to respect each other going forward. It's clear Sr. wanted more from the meeting, but Jr. is still reluctant to restore the family dynamic.

Later Cody Tasers Peter, and it's like I'm watching "Jackass". Cody then trades brain cells for a $100 IOU from Mickey. Hope he can remember to collect tomorrow.

American Chopper April 16 "A Meeting Is Set"

This week on American Chopper Sr. builds an era correct chopper out of the '70s and Jr. digs for gold.

Lisa and Mike from My Pillow, Inc. drop by OCC for a custom pillow bike. They show off a cool new pillow that will hold its shape even with a 12 pound head. Unfortunately Jr.'s head is more like 18 lbs. I'm thinking Jason will make the pillow bike cloud like, but it turns out Michael Lindell wants something straight out of the '70s. Sr. should just sell him one of his classic bikes he's got laying around his garage museum. The company requests a 1970s bike with a long, long springer front end, and at 12.5 feet long it's twice as long as my bike! It's even longer then my boat. According to Sr. for the geometry to work on the '70s bike, it needs wide handle bars for something that radical.

At PJD work on the Newmont Mining bike continues. The engine cover was born out of solid 2 inch thick billet aluminum and mined out on the CNC machine to give it a terraced look to match the features of an open pit mine. But why is Paul Jr.'s logo in the middle of the engine cover? Jr. wants gold, gold, silver, and more gold. I'm wondering how this will compare to the Gold Donald Trump bike.

Meanwhile, Vinnie and Rick meet up for lunch and hope that it won't be long before they're building bikes together again.

Sr. takes a field trip to his private garage museum to give Jason some inspiration since he wasn't around in the '70s. It's big enough to host an entire wedding reception and puts my one car garage to shame. "Every time I come here I want to take these bikes down and ride them. Like I don't have enough bikes." Sr. says. I just want to get my one bike running! Five years ago Sr. started transforming his garage into a car and motorcycle museum. He started building platforms and hanging bikes one week before marrying Beth. He finished just in time to hold his wedding reception under some of his favorite bikes. My question is why own a bike you can't even reach to ride?

Assembly of the Newmont Mining bike begins, and it's a two-tone painted frame in dark blue and gold with a gold plated engine. The wheels replicate a core drill bit and are massive. Nub brings in the tank and fender and it reminds me of the University of Michigan Wolverines. Jr. wants to use 1 ounce of gold from the mine to set into the engine cover and claims 1 ounce of gold can flatten out to a 4' x 8' sheet (which would be about 500 nanometers or 0.00002 inches). I've actually seen this down at the science center and know that gold is so malleable that it can even be spread to less than 50 nanometers and still keep its color. The trick is to roll it between large steel cylinders. Brendan tries to roll it between two pieces of sheet metal and when that doesn't work uses a power hammer. Crude but good enough.

Jr. lets Vinnie test ride the bike, and when it hits the sun his eyes freak out. Vinnie's comment that with the solid wheels you can feel the weight has got to be an understatement. All that unsprung mass has to kill the suspension. After the ride it's off to Elko, NV, for the bike unveil. With a bike that heavy, I'm impressed it made it up the ramp to the stage. I cannot take my eyes of those massive yellow and blue wheels. They're like bull's-eyes. Newmont wants to grow, so this bike is an investment. It's going to be a marketing tool for their conventions. I sometimes wish I could trade my 401k in for a custom motorcycle, but I don't think I would get the same returns.

Finally Sr. calls Jr., and he'll have his people call his people and they'll do lunch. No cameras. Sorry fans. Looks like we'll see the aftermath next week.

American Chopper March 26 "Muscle Car"

This week on American Chopper Jr. goes with four wheels instead of two and, as I’m expecting, moves closer to having his own spinoff show potentially called "American Hot Rod" or "Jr.'s Garage".

Jr. is being secretive at his shop, but Mickey and the team want answers! It turns out that all Jr. could think about during the build-off bike was how cool polished and riveted aluminum would look on a car. Jr. cut his teeth building motorcycles but wants to take his company to the next level and design a car. Maybe he's trying to get hired by GM as a designer. I happen to work for an automaker myself, and all the designers I know are experts at CAD. It takes years to go from a sketch to even a prototype, but Jr.'s going to have it done in time for Daytona Bike Week. Vinnie seems pretty excited and states, "I'll be perfectly honest, I love cars more than bikes." Me too, Vinnie, and that's one more reason why he's my favorite character on the show.

So, in a show first, Jr. visits Trans American Muscle in sunny Florida to piece together a PJD edition black Chevy Camaro. They start the design process with the obligatory parking lot burnout and end up in a street drag race with a Ferrari (boys will be boys). For all the 2 Fast 2 Furious street racers out there, now that is a drag race! Fortunately nobody is arrested or killed, and back at the shop the work begins. Vinnie gets to work installing the supercharger and intercooler, which go on with ease. These cars are built to be tuned and modified. The kits are fairly simple for most mechanically inclined. They also remove the stock exhaust with those annoying mufflers and opt for do-it-yourself pipes with a noticeably larger diameter for less back pressure, higher horsepower, and a much better sound that will definitely annoy the neighbors. The bolt-on aftermarket parts are installed quickly by Vinnie and the pros in the shop. The Florida team takes the measurements for the sheet metal to be cut by Cody and Pete back in New York. No surprise to me, they had been goofing off waiting for a call from Vinnie. Fortunately, they hadn’t burned the place down, so once measurements were received, they got off their tricycles, put down their jousting lances and cut the aluminum to size to overnight it to Florida.

Just about the time I'm thinking "How are they going to get this car to Nub so he can paint it?" Nub shows up in Florida to paint the car! Is there anything this guy can't do? So, Nub takes a perfectly good, shiny black car and paints it flat black. No flames, skulls, logos, or graphics, just flat black. Why did he fly all the way to Florida for something any body shop could have done? Did he have to rent somebody's paint booth to do it? In any case, personally, I'm not a fan of the flat paints. They look unfinished to me. Also, I have ADD, and I like shiny things. Oh look, a squirrel!

While installing the custom interior, Vinnie makes a comment that it is a pain in the neck. No sympathy from me though. Talk to the guys at GM’s Oshawa Assembly Plant where they do this once every minute all day long! Better talk to your union rep, Vinnie, because after 77 custom builds you’ll end up with repetitive stress injury (RSI) and be out on medical leave. Then where will the show be?

Thankfully, they remove the stock rims and add new 22” rims with low profile tires. Paul’s definitely all about the look because that’s going to be a harsh ride and a less than ideal tire coefficient, which is going to hurt him at the track later. . . Anyway, the center of the rims have a nose cone to match the propeller wheels like on the build-off bike. How cute . . .

With the car almost finished, Jr. adds contrasting sheet metal to the side profile of the car that reminds me a lot of a 1957 Corvette. It's basically a giant side stripe swoosh made out of polished aluminum on a flat black car held on with about 2000 rivets. There’s also riveted, polished aluminum on the hood bulge, which has to be just blinding when driving into the sun. Polished aluminum is one of the most reflective surfaces known to man and can be a near perfect mirror. When Jr. pulls out of the garage for the fist time, you can see the sun’s visible reflection on the ground in bright daylight. No thanks.

They take the car to Speed World to test it out at the track instead of a residential neighborhood. Vinnie does a quarter mile run at 12.5 seconds and 113.89 mph and bests Jr. by a full second. I had to pause the DVR but it definitely read 13.91 seconds for Jr. I was surprised because a stock 2010 Chevrolet Camaro V8 will do a 13.1 in the quarter mile. The supercharger should have given them a bigger advantage.

The bike is revealed at Daytona Bike Week for some reason. Why not the New York, LA, or Detroit auto show (the NAIAS technically)? I’ve seen bigger crowd reactions before, but for the most part people were positive. I think most were hoping for a bike, but the build-off bike was there. I love all American sports cars, but it is hard for me not to be biased since I’m a Mustang guy. :-)

American Chopper March 16 "Drastic Step"

This week on American Chopper Jr. finishes the bike for babies, Sr. builds two twin biodiesel bikes, and Mikey fills a diaper for charity.

At PJD it's assembly day for the March of Dimes bike and Holy Purple! The frame gets delivered, and Jr. nervously wants to know who's seen the tins? Purple. Solid purple. Purple on purple is too much! And those wheels don't look like dimes. A bit unexpectedly the bolt-on purple accented wheels look good and really match the rest of the bike well.

Later, Sr. and the OCC crew visit E-Biofuels headquartered in Middletown, Indiana, where they see row after row of glass ball jars that look like they're storing amber moonshine. They're there to research the world's first "street legal" biodiesel motorcyle for CIMA Green. This stuff could be the next big transportation fuel. Bonus, it smells like french fries.

According to the company's website, the U.S. Department of Energy has found that biodiesel produces 78.5% less CO2 emissions compared to petroleum diesel. Biodiesel is a clean burning alternative fuel produced from vegetable oils or animal fats. It is a renewable, non-toxic, biodegradable, safe fuel made from any plant oil or animal fat that can be used in any diesel engine. Common blends are B20 which is 20% biodiesel.

Katirina Tracy, COO of CIMA Green, takes a page from "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood" and tells us how BioDiesel is made with a tour of the factory. Vegetable oil, animal fats, methanol and sodium methylate. At the end of the tour, Jason drinks soy oil for $50 out of a shot glass and sticks his entire arm into a cylinder of free fatty acids to retrieve the $100 bill at the bottom. Jason, who hunts and guts deer as a hobby, thinks it's a walk in the park and hopes there are more R&D trips like this in the future. Look out, Mike Rowe, because Jason is after your dirty jobs.

Mikey wants to raise money for March of Dimes, so he decorates a bucket like a diaper and collects money on the side of the road while dressed in purple. It must be a small town because Vinnie hears him from down the street and pulls over to chat and donate a solid $20 to charity. Vinnie proves once again he is my favorite character on the show, and I also like his truck. I'm glad it's an American-made Chevy.

Back at OCC the CIMA Green bike fabrication begins. It's going to be another old school bike, which is getting to be their specialty. The company wants twin bikes, one for the Biodiesel Board and one for CIMA Green to keep. I'm glad the bike frame is light because the diesel engine definitely is not. Not surprisingly it weighs a lot and is a major pain to install. Mike, preceding a string of expletives as they hoist the engine in place, says he thinks he needs eight more guys to install it! I think it's interesting they're using a 5-inch long catalytic converter for cleaner emissions to make the bike 50-state compatible. Normal bikes burn less fuel and therefore CO2 but make hundreds of times more carbon monoxide, NOx, and unburned hydrocarbons. You've probably all noticed this when stopped in traffic on a group ride. This build reminds me of when Jessie James built a 72 Peterbuilt Diesel Trike on Monster Garage that ended up selling for $23,000 in the Barrett Jackson Auction. Ah, another Jessie James bike that you couldn't see over.

Jr. and Mikey do an interview for the March of Dimes newsletter, but the reporter only seems to want to know about how the father-son relationship is going. All I can say is I think it's impossible to make things change if you're not open to it. Also, March of Dimes readers really enjoy gossip.

Back at PJD, Mikey makes a great hype man for Nub and cracks me up. Jr. gets the purple and silver tins back, but Nub has a problem getting a plug out of the bottom of the tank. This is an example of galvanic corrosion, boys and girls. A brass plug fused to the aluminum tank that had to be drilled out. Disaster averted.

Sr. shows up unannounced at Jr.'s house, but only big dogs are there to greet him. That's why most people call before they come over. Turns out Jr. was in Florida that week. I can't wait for the American Chopper Special Jr. was filming. Looks like Mikey was there too because he wasn't at his art studio when Sr. stopped by to donate money to the March of Dimes.

Jr. unveils his purple yet tough bike at Lamar in Michigan. It looks like a motorcycle that comic book super villian Magneto would ride. Jr. wanted it to have toughness but also represent the March of Dimes. I think he pulled it off perfectly.

Next week American Chopper switches to four wheels and tricks out a Camaro.

Daytona Beach Bike Week 2012 Tattoo Guide

With Daytona Beach Bike Week 2012 in full swing, you may be trying to figure out how to make the good times last. You may even be considering memorializing your experience with a tattoo. I mean, what else is gonna guarantee you never forget the bikini wresting girls you met on Main Street after riding around the Loop on your Harley better than getting stuck several hundred times with an ink-filled needle? Events like Bike Week are a popular excuse opportunity to get that first tattoo or add to your already well-decorated arm sleeve.

But let me just say this, especially for those of you who may think a tattoo is not for you – even if you haven’t made a clear-headed decision to make your body a canvas for some memorable body art, it is always a good idea to create a contingency plan beforehand. This is because, as we all know, sometimes tattoos just happen, and if you don’t have a plan in place you might wind up waking up one day with Kermit the Frog on your butt.

So, to avoid all potential permanent cartoon character/Muppet markings (unless of course that’s your thing, cuz there’s nothing wrong with that) I suggest putting a little thought into your perfect tattoo before you ever go near a parlor. We’re talking about finding the image that is really going to tell people what you’re all about.

According to the random Google search I just did, there are a vast number of symbols that bikers have adopted as their own. Eagles, flames, skulls, motorcycles racing, a grasshopper riding a motorcycle, the name and year of the biker event where you got the tattoo – all of these can create an impression. See these biker tattoos for some inspiration.

But don’t be limited by the status quo. Anything an artist can draw could technically become a tattoo, so don’t hold back. I once dated a guy with Frankenstein’s monster tattooed on his shoulder. The first time I saw it, it was a little weird, but when he explained the story behind it, it made perfect sense. Well, maybe not perfect sense, but it did make him a more interesting guy. An especially talented tattoo artist can even make reproductions of photographs on your skin, so if you’d like to remember a loved one’s smiling face, that’s an option too. Consider carrying a picture or sketch of your preferred tattoo in your pocket or purse.

Next, provided that this is a planned tattoo, you’ll want to find a reputable tattoo artist at a licensed tattoo parlor. In Daytona Beach you’re in luck because the place is chock full of ‘em.

Here are a few contenders for your dollar.

Jet Set Tattoos

Tropical Tattoo

Shamrock Tattoo (an especially good choice for those of you planning on a St. Patrick’s Day tattoo tomorrow)

After you get the tattoo, remember to follow the proper aftercare. Keep your bandage on for at least two hours so the wound can begin to heal. When you take off the bandage wash the tattoo with mild, antibacterial soap and pat dry. Don’t scrub! You might also consider buying a lotion or ointment to help with healing. Be sure the lotion is free of dyes and perfumes. Lubriderm is a popular choice.

Also, stay out of the hot tub and the ocean for a few days as well. I know, that's not always easy during bike week, but you’ll regret it if you soak your new tat for any length of time. And remember when it heals to use a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher to cut down on fading.

Well, there you go. Good luck in whatever way you decided to remember Daytona Bike Week 2012. This post is completely serious except for the parts that aren’t, which are all of them, so don’t try to sue me if your ankle butterfly ends up lopsided.

American Chopper March 12 “The Call”

This week on American Chopper Sr. finishes two bikes for a trucker and Jr. builds a bike for babies.

The episode starts off when Jr. and family travel to Michigan to visit Lamar Construction Company. According to their website, Lamar Construction Company is a nationwide building contractor offering steel and precast concrete erection (he he). They've been around since 1938 and have had a good couple years recently, so Lamar wants to do a bike to raise money and awareness for March of Dimes. Interestingly March of Dimes was also founded in 1938 and is headquartered in White Plains, NY. Why didn't Jr. use this great co-branding opportunity like Ford and Harley-Davidson (both founded in 1903)? President Franklin D. Roosevelt founded the March of Dimes to combat polio, but the mission has shifted to improve the health of mothers and babies.

To research his bike design, Jr. visits Sparrow hospital in Lansing, Michigan, to learn more about March of Dimes and meet with two parents of babies the organization has helped. Dawson was born 15 weeks premature at less than 2 pounds and a foot long. He's a little bit bigger now and didn't seem to like being on TV. He escaped past Vinnie to run wild around the pediatrics ward.

Back at OCC they're finishing work on the John Christner Trucking bikes. The old school bobber with Mexican style pinstripes is complemented by a "new-school" pro-street style that looks like a stealth bomber. If these bikes will be ridden by truckers, I really hope they include satellite radio, CB radios, air brakes, and running lights.

Rick and Mike finish up the exhaust like a pair of traditional blacksmiths using heat and a hammer to bend the metal into shape. Sr. decides to use a retro style Tin Type Primary from Baker Drivetrain. Bert Baker himself makes an appearance on the show to help with the install and challenge Sr. to an arm wrestling match. Seems like this is the Michigan episode because Baker Drivetrain is also located in Lansing, Michigan.

Finally, we get to the meaning behind this week's title. Paul Jr. decides to break the silence two months after Sr.'s mom's wake with a call to his dad. At the time he had his reasons for not calling, but Rachel wisely convinces him to do whatever he thought he should. It's his Call of Duty. . .Modern Warfare 4? An unexpected twist, but I thought it was annoying the show saved Sr.'s reaction until the very end.

Back in Montgomery, New York, it's time for Mikey's final weigh in with the mayor for the leukemia fund raiser. For the record I called it last week when I said he should shave his beard, which he did right before jumping on the scale. At final weigh in Mayor Steve Brescia lost 28 lbs. going from 222 to 194 lbs. and Mikey lost 13 lbs. going from 350 to 337 lbs. But what happened to Captain Carlos Slim from last week? Did Mikey eat him? All told Mikey raised $4,300.

When finishing up the bobber, OCC adds a split tank that holds a couple gallons of gas because this bike is actually meant to be ridden. Sr. then reminisces and laughs about Jessie James' comment to Jr. during the biker build off about a bike with a 1 gallon tank that can only go about 20 miles between fueling. I'm still laughing that Sr. didn't even build a bike. How many miles will that snow machine do?

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, at John Christner Trucking's 25th anniversary party, Rick (Free Rick!) and Skeeter Todd are there for the unveil because Sr. is still off doing the Celebrity Apprentice. The bikes are a surprise for John from his son Danny.

Speaking of father son relationships, Sr. finally listens to Jr.'s voicemail and gets choked up. Looks like next week Sr. is going to follow through on his idea to show up at Jr.'s house and knock on the door. I can't wait to find out how that plays out.

American Chopper March 5 "Rick's News"

This week on American Chopper OCC builds a bike for someone who will actually ride it, Jr. rebuilds the Black Widow bike from 10 years ago, and Mikey joins the Marines.

Fans of the show might remember the Black Widow bike from Season 1, Episodes 1 and 2, that originally aired Spring 2003. That’s back when Paul Sr. was still wearing sleeves. Wow, has it been 10 years already? Everybody looked so young then. Well, Cody still looks pretty young.

The big change is Jr. wants his new logo on the bike and OCC’s name off. Did anyone else think it was a little silly Nub called the original artist, Shane, before repainting the logo? What was Nub going to do if Shane said no? Sorry, Nub, but it’s Jr.’s bike, and he’s the one paying you. I hope Nub took a picture with his iPhone and sent it to him for posterity. The way this bike seems to have deteriorated, a photo might last longer anyway. I want to know how this bike got so abused sitting in the OCC Museum? Did they ride it hard and put it away wet? Well, anyway the parts they don’t reuse will make great wall decoration.

So, Rick’s big news is he’s getting married, and he wants everyone to come. He even wants everybody all at one big table like the Last Supper. I wonder what Rick’s fiancee thinks about this. News flash, Rick, these people don’t get along and with all the drinking that’s sure to happen things could escalate quickly. It’s important to remember this day isn’t about you. It’s about the girl in the white dress. Just show up on time to where you’re supposed to be and smile for the cameras. I love you honey :-)

Later, Mikey goes on the radio to talk about losing weight for charity. I think he could drop a couple pounds just by shaving. Turns out Mikey is getting a personal motivator/trainer, and it’s Captain Carlos Slim. (Not to be confused with the Mexican billionaire and richest man in the world Carlos Slim.) Captain Carlos is a retired Marine Corps. officer and runs Mikey around his back yard like he’s playing with a puppy.

Meanwhile Rick and Vinnie meet for burgers, while Mikey is probably crying at home with his celery sticks. Why isn’t everybody on this show trying to loose weight!? I watched this show while running 3 miles on a treadmill, and it was great motivation!

Back at OCC, work begins on an old school bobber for John Christner Trucking, and I’m wondering where they learned how to heat treat metal. Not very scientific. Heat it up, quench, and then hit it with a hammer. They’re doing it old school, and it really is starting to look like something they made in their garage. But as Rick says, this will be a "ride-able bike."

Carlos and Mikey go to the gym in a scene that looks less like a bike show and more like The Biggest Loser. Carlos gives a speech about how much pain Mikey is in. I'm thinking he should probably stop lifting at that point or before he hurts something.

Jr. finishes the Black Widow bike restoration and does a re-unveil at the Javits Center in NYC for the 10 year anniversary. The bike looks great, and while fielding questions from the audience, I thought he was very humble. Look out, Jr., because Sr. is learning from The Donald on Celebrity Apprentice. I wanted Jr. to say he’d be back to OCC for the rest of the bikes when he runs them out of business and takes over one day, but then there wouldn’t be a show.

American Chopper Feb. 27 “Operation Reconciliation”

This week on American Chopper OCC builds an American eagle out of aluminum, Jr. finishes the One Call Concepts bike, and Mikey donates some of his weight to a four-year-old with leukemia.

The show starts when OCC gets commissioned by Wall Side Windows to build a bike for Veterans Airlift Command (VAC) in honor of our nations' wounded veterans. If you were wondering, the VAC provides free air transportation to wounded veterans and their families for medical and other compassionate purposes.

Inspired by the theme of flying, Jason draws up a screaming eagle complete with a headlight recessed inside an open beak and realistic 3-D talons running down the forks. After cutting the talons out of a 3-inch-thick billet of aluminum at 30 pounds each, Jim "engineered" them on the CNC mill down to only 12. That's still hefty for a motorcycle, and this would never work in mass production where these parts would be cast instead.

Speaking of pounds Mikey is losing weight to raise money for a four-year-old with leukemia named Will. Also participating with Mikey is the Mayor of Montgomery, Steve Brescia, who was dressed in his finest Under Armour for his TV appearance. Mikey and Steve top the scales at 350 lbs. and 222 lbs. respectively. Personally, I'd like to see them wrestle since they're both super heavyweights.

Meanwhile Jr. is back in his shop finishing up the One Call Concepts bike and eating chocolate donuts. Apparently he won't be joining his brother in losing weight for charity. The finished bike is super low, and even Mini-Me, Verne Troyer, probably wouldn't have trouble throwing his leg over the seat. I like the 811 racing theme especially with the start of NASCAR this week and the Daytona 500. And Daytona Bike Week is coming up soon too. All the digging tools cleaned up nicely once painted and chromed. I almost didn't recognize them from a distance.

At the OCC VAC unveil, the bike is bathed a Las Vegas-style light that even makes Sr.'s mustache glow blue. The bike looks cool, but I think the proportions on the eagle talons are off just a bit. An impromptu auction starts, but the auctioneer decides that there wasn't enough money in the room, and he was going to buy it to donate back to the VAC to be used as a marketing tool at VA hospitals, etc.

And finally, during yet another attempt by Sr. to patch up his troubled relationship with the sons he pushed away, he invites Mikey over to his house to paint eagles with some of the Veterans but doesn't even get a call back. During Mikey's weekly therapy session with Vinnie, he talks it over and decides he should take things slowly and spread this drama out over at least three more seasons. Sr. tries to understand why he doesn't even get a callback while "Hello" by Lionel Richie plays in the background. Sr. even contemplates just knocking on their door and walking in, which luckily he doesn't do because in my neighborhood that would get you shot or arrested for home invasion.