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Friday Edition


Indian Larry Tribute

The Emperor of Old Skool

Text and photos from TBear
1/25/2007 12:11:14 PM


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Indian Larry kicked off life in April of 1949, a 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 family's home.

1983 Indian 
Larry pic
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 parts.

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.

psychocycles 
logo

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 flaming skull.

Because of that bike and after the article ran, he became known around town as Indian Larry.

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.

LARRY-WELDING

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 with 
group of kids

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.

Indian Larry 
sitting on throne

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.

TBear

t bear and 
indian larry
Here's the author with Indian Larry.

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