Indian Larry kicked off life in April of 1949,
good year for bikes. The Harley Panhead and
Indian Chiefs ruled American highways. In the
tiny Upstate, NY town of Cornwall, in the
Hudson River Valley, a future legend in the Art
of choppers was born. A few years later, the
family moved a town over to New Windsor,
where Larry's love for Motorcycles began.
Larry was fascinated with the idea of
motorized bikes. His first "Chopper"creation
was built from his younger sister Tina's
little tricycle, by adding an engine from an old
lawn mower, a set of ape hanger handlebars
and riding it around his neighborhood while
standing on the rear step. His curious mind
was never satisfied. Many people don't
know the true story of how Larry lost a finger.
He decided to build a better skyrocket for the
4th of July and blew it off, while constructing
his prototype in the basement of his
Larry in 1983.
Later, Larry laid down metal flake and his
initial MC work was handle in the back yard
shed, belonging to his life long friend Ted
Doering. That wooden shed of Ted's
eventually grew to be Ted's V-Twin Cycle
Larry grew up moved to NYC. He was an
artist and wanted to be a part of "the scene"
and NYC's Greenwich Village was the
place to be in the late '60s and early
'70s for someone with Larry's talent
and vision. Hippies, Bohemians and all other
types of free spirited individuals flocked to
Greenwich during a time when creative juices
were free to overflow. But Larry was never a
follower. He also didn't want to be a
leader, he just wanted to be Larry.
Larry thought that a motorcycle could and
should be something more than just basic
transportation. His first photo feature was
published in the old Iron Horse Magazine.
Issue # 70 November 1987. It was of his
chopped 1950 Indian Chief. I remember the
bike well. It had a Cerianni Road Race front
end and flames painted on one side of the
gas tank and scallops on the other. Larry, not
to be mistaken for a hippie, sported a greaser
style haircut and only had one tattoo at the
time. If memory serves, it was a Harley
Because of that
bike and after the article ran, he became
known around town as Indian
Larry and a few friends, Paul Cox, Steg
and Frank, banded together wrenching and
artistic skills and opened a motorcycle shop
on NYC's Lower East Side called Psycho
Cycles in the early '90s. The shop moved
to Rivington St. then to it's current
location at 151 N. 14 St. which became
Gasoline Alley in Williamsburg
Brooklyn's industrial district. It is now
named Indian Larry Enterprises.
In 2001, Indian Larry was invited to ride to
Sturgis and set up at the Camel Road House
with Jesse James and Chopper Dave, which
was filmed for the Discovery Channel's
Motorcycle Mania. Larry was a natural
character having been in movies and TV
commercials before hand. His glowing
genuine personality quickly attracted the
attention of producer Hugh King.
Mr. King knew a good thing when he saw
it so Larry was asked to participate in his new
Discovery show "The Great Biker Build Off"
series. Anyone who enjoyed watching the
show witnessed what Larry was all about.
Ultimately Larry was pitted against his
good friend Billy Lane, of Choppers Inc., in a
build off. At the final public judging of the
bikes, Larry was deemed to be the winner. In
his moment of triumph, Larry had the class to
announce to the crowd and to the whole world
that both he and Billy should share equally in
the first place glory. Both bikes were an
honest expression of the builder's art
and skills, and it wasn't about which bike
was the best. Both Larry and Billy and their
crews put their hearts and souls into their
respective bikes. That's the kind of
person Larry was.
Larry was invited to be a guest on the
Regis Philbin show and also did his famous
daredevil stunts during David
Letterman's Late Night show.
Larry went on to do a few more shows for
the Discovery Channel's Biker Build Off
series. He was featured on the cover of The
Horse/BackStreet Choppers Magazine
numerous times as well as Easyriders and
just about every big time motorcycle magazine
from as far away as Japan and Finland.
It was during the weekend last of August
2004 that Larry finished his latest and most
spectacular creation, the Chain of Mystery bike
for another Biker Build Off. With Larry in the
lead riding the bike, that he and his talented
crew built in just 10 days, they rode from NYC
to the Liquid Steel show in Charlotte, NC.
At the show on Saturday, Larry entertained
a crowd of 8,000 fans by performing his
famous stunt show. After thrilling the crowd by
riding through a Ring of Fire on his bike, He
got on his personal ride, the Grease Monkey
and did just one more stunt to please the
crowd. He stood up on the seat and surfed the
bike down the track. The bike slowed down
and Larry was thrown. He suffered a severe
head injury as a result and passed away in
the hospital the next night surrounded by his
wife and friends.
Larry left us all too soon. He rode free with
the wind in his hair and the sun on his face.
Larry was the kind of person that wanted
every one around him to be happy. He
didn't have to perform that last stunt. He
just did it to give pleasure to all the people
who came out for the show. People who knew
him best, knew what a good genuine person
he was. Builders who shared Larry's
vision will look to his example for years to
come. The people who loved him and knew
him on an every day basis will miss his smile
and warmth the most. The entire world has
lost one of nature's noblemen.
We can all take a small bit of
comfort in the fact that he passed this way and
has left his mark on all of us.
Here's the author with Indian