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The Flying Piston Custom Striders Auction Group for 2019

Tiny Strider Customs Steal the Show at Mecum Las Vegas

By Marilyn Stemp, with photos by Sara Liberte compliments of Strider, Aaron Packard compliments of Sturgis Buffalo Chip, Timothy Remus, Wolfgang Publishing, Jack McIntyre for Iron Trader News
2/4/2020


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 The Custom Strider Program is an initiative of The Flying Piston Benefit produced by Marilyn Stemp of Iron Trader News and Jeff Najar of Biker Pros to raise awareness and funds for non-profits and individuals in the biker community. Each year a new class is unveiled at the Flying Piston Benefit Builders Breakfast at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip the first Sunday of Sturgis Rally.

A portion of the funds came at the Mecum Auction held at Southpoint Casino in Las Vegas. The event went on all week from January 20 to 26, 2020 but my nerve-wracking day was January 24th.

That’s when three Tiny Custom Striders, originally revealed to the riding public at the Flying Piston Builders Breakfast at the Buffalo Chip last August, rolled across the auction block.

Among the three, built by Todd “Gilby” Gilbertson, Brian Klock and the late Jessi Combs (all featured here), it was Jessi’s tiny board-tracker that hit home with auction goers. In fact, the little bike garnered a bidding war that took it way beyond expectations, ultimately selling for $11,000.

The Klock Strider, a mini Suzuki racer patterned after a real bike built for Ricky Carmichael (and signed by him on the tank) went to Steve and Joan Klein for $1200.

Gilby’s gold and chrome chopper brought $3600 from Jill Parham. The board-tracker and chopper headed directly to the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa, for display - to be joined by the Klock bike after motocross season ends.

Pat and Cris Simmons were the happy winners of the Jessi bike and that’s appropriate: Cris and Jessi had been close friends for years, sharing the stage most recently at the Buffalo Chip’s Biker Belles signature ride August 2019, just days after the bike was unveiled. Cris also owned a custom Harley Softail that Jessi had built for Biker Belles in 2013.

The only thing missing that thrilling day at the Mecum auction was Jessi herself. Her shocking death on August 27, 2019 as she raced to set a land speed record, still leaves a hole in the hearts and minds of car and motorcycle enthusiasts worldwide.

But her efforts and influence will continue to resonate when the money raised from the sale of the tiny board-tracker results in programs being installed in several kindergarten PE classes through AllKidsBike, teaching kids in those schools to ride bikes over the next five years.

That effort to build skills, confidence and new motorcycle riders among both girls and boys, is something Jessi championed. It’s our hope that her friends and family are pleased with this outcome.


And Drum-roll please: Here are the bikes



Flying Piston Strider Customs 2019
Jessi Combs
 
By Marilyn Stemp

“The fearless Jessi Combs was born for everything automotive. Her passion to get in the driver seat and behind the wheel of nearly anything with a motor has led her through some amazing and unusual achievements. With a degree in custom automotive fabrication, Jessi has reached out to millions with her build skills on TV shows such as All Girls Garage, Mythbusters and Overhaulin’ to name a few, as well as through community and educational outreach.



As the fastest woman on four wheels, first ”Queen” of the Hammers, Ultra4 National Champion, and a Baja 1000 podium finisher, she empowers many through the act of simply leading by example. Her desire to show more women (and men alike) that they too can build their ideas, go fast, get dirty, have fun, and still be feminine shines through everything she does in life.”


The bio you just read was provided by Jessi Combs as she agreed to participate in the Flying Piston Tiny Strider Custom project. I had asked her to join us the first year and she declined, saying she didn’t have time.



When I later saw her in Austin after the first-year bikes had been unveiled, she said: “You’re going to ask me again next year and I’m going to say I’m too busy. Don’t let me! I want to build one of those! I already have the idea!”

And so it was. When her tiny board-tracker was revealed at the Flying Piston Builders Breakfast at the Buffalo Chip last August, it stole the show.



The only thing missing that thrilling day was Jessi herself. Her shocking death on August 27, 2019 as she raced to set a land speed record, still leaves a hole in the hearts and minds of car and motorcycle enthusiasts worldwide. But her efforts and influence will continue resonate when the money raised from the sale of the tiny board-tracker results in programs being installed in several kindergarten PE classes through AllKidsBike, teaching kids in those schools to ride bikes over the next five years. That’s building new riders!

As Jessi might have said – and as she signed off on emails: vroo00O00oommm… Jessi



Flying Piston Strider Customs 2019:
Brian Klock
 
Story by Savannah Rose

Brian Klock and the Klock Werks crew built an incredible custom Strider with a definite Klock “flair,” – to riff off one of the company’s signature components, the Klock Werks Flair windshield. Inspiration for the build came from Ricky Carmichael’s Suzuki M109r that the KW crew had modified, and yes: that’s Ricky’s autograph on the tank!


The little gray bike boasts red paneling with yellow pinstriping along the custom made “gas” tank and fenders, which Dan Cheeseman and Randy Rothlisberger fabricated in the Klock shop.



The rear fender even has a fender mount reminiscent of an H-D bagger, which is nearly a tiny version of the motorcycle fenders Klock Werks produces. Up front, Brian included an LED headlight for those kids who just aren’t ready to put the bike away because it’s dark! Wrapped around the headlight is a one-off mini-Flare windshield, based on the product the KW crew are known for.

Brian was happy to take on the challenge of what is most definitely the smallest bike the crew has ever built, as he and Dan are huge proponents of All Kids Bike – the Strider Foundation initiative that strives to make bike riding a part of kindergarten P.E. curriculum.



The Klock team even helped provide funding in their hometown of Mitchell, SD to bring the program to the elementary schools there. Brian says, “Anything we can do to raise awareness for Strider and the programs that push kids to ride bikes, exercise and be creative is a win.”

The Flying Piston Benefit was honored to have the Klock Werks crew on our team for the 2019 Class of Strider Custom Builders.




Gilby’s 2019 Flying Piston Strider Custom
Todd Gilby Gilbertson of Gilby’s Street Department

Story by Diane “Shadow’s Wife” Jones

Initially, Donnie Smith was on task to create a custom Strider Custom for the Flying Piston Benefit. However, as the time drew near, circumstances conspired to keep it from happening. But as happens in our motorcycle community, Donnie’s friend Todd “Gilby” Gilbertson, graciously stepped up and took on the project in the last few weeks before the deadline.

Gilby has been in the custom pinstriping and painting business for about 30 years, starting at the young age of 13 years old. As time went on and his skills increased, he added welding and fabricating, working his magic on all kinds of vehicles including motorcycles, altering frames, handlebars and more. His business, Gilby’s Street Dept., is located in River Falls, WI, and the radical customs Gilby builds are fully roadworthy.

As for the tiny Strider Custom, the pressure was on to make it happen, so Gilby resorted to his motto: “Never stop, never give up.” He and crew took to designing a Strider bike in the chopper style to honor his friend and colleague, Donnie Smith.



He wanted the Strider custom to be fully functional and rideable and so every modification was considered in the overall design. When he cut the neck, the rake of the front end changed, tilting it forward. This resulted in a change in the swing arm position so he had to bend the seat post - all to ensure proper function.

Gilby’s buddies at J&B Plating chromed the handmade front end in just one day! Impressive to say the least. Gilby and his team did the lettering, gold leafing, pinstriping and paint, finishing off the custom Strider with a perfect clear coat, ultimately creating a tiny chopper that gets double-takes every time!

For more information about this effort contact: Marilyn Stemp, 828-205-8482, marilynstemp@gmail.com or www.theflyingpiston.com

About Strider: Strider designs lightweight bikes that build two-wheeled balance, coordination, and confidence in children. Strider is helping kids learn to ride and developing new motorcycle riders through the AllKidsBike movement which makes bike-riding a part of kindergarten curriculum.

www.allkidsbike.org, www.striderbikes.com

*The 2019 Strider Custom Builder Class was: Todd “Gilby” Gilbertson, Jessi Combs, Xavier Muriel, Brian Klock, Steve Reed, Roy & Nikki Martin, James Washnok, Devin Henriques, Eric Hermann, Alumni of Motorcycle Missions and Count’s Kustoms’ Horny Mike, Shannon Aikau and Ryan Evans.

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