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Bandit's First Bike Feature

Where Did He Go Wrong?

By Bandit with photos from the late Pete Chiodo

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Not sure where to start. I was working in a bike shop on Imperial Highway, US Choppers in 1970 to support going to Long Beach City College. I was into my first Shovelhead after I sold my 1969 XLCH, and perhaps my fourth bike build after the Sportster, a bent Triump 650 and a 45 trike ground up.


The Gulf of Tonkin incident, also known as the USS Maddox incident, was an international confrontation that led to the United States engaging more directly in the Vietnam War.
The Gulf of Tonkin incident, also known as the USS Maddox incident, was an international confrontation that led to the United States engaging more directly in the Vietnam War.

I still didn't know what the hell I was doing. Through Andy Hansen and Bob George I started to rebuild engines. I met Andy on the USS Maddox, DD731, which was my last duty station in the service. Andy was a reservist and came aboard once a month for a weekend. He lived in Culver City, near the Los Angeles Airport and was building his first show chopper in his living room.

Bob George built a custom double-Shovel and took it to the drags. I watched as he lit it up and broke all the primary chains. Ultimately, he built a streamliner for Bonneville, which became the Jammer Streamliner and the Easyriders Streamliner. Travis told me a story recently about the team and how the liner became owned by Jammer Cycle. There's always an odd mix between the artist and the guy who supplies the cash. 

 I started to work for Easyriders on the third issue in 1971. That puts me at about 52 years in the motorcycle industry. For lots of guys it's a labor of love. For most of us know we won't get rich, but we get to do what we love every day. 
As you get older you recognize that lots of money is a curse. If you can make enough to keep your next build going, your business rolling, and the next run financed, you've got it made. It's all about the next adventure and helping brothers and sisters get there.
Join the Cantina, Quick! Touch her.
Join the Cantina, Quick! Touch her.


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Reader Comments

Love this story. I should have moved to SoCal when I got out of the Navy and hooked up with you guys then. I guess it wasn’t in the cards. I got out in '69. My first chop was a '51 61-inch Pan in '68. I bought it in Reno for 300 dollars. Hope to get up to Deadwood this summer. Peace, Bill

Bill May
Nat, TN
Wednesday, February 16, 2022
Editor Response We will be ready for you...
Great piece. Brought back memories and no doubt enlightened a lot of the younger guys. You've always been a powerhouse in the industry in many respects. Stay well!

Doc Robinson
Monday, February 14, 2022
Editor Response Thanks Doc!

Great story !
I feel as though there is MUCH more to be told though! Love to here it !!!!!

I had a 1965 Spitfire 650 in '68 - '70 was in the process of chopping it in 1970. A friend said he wanted to buy it. I said I sure, I would like a brand new Sportster with the red white and blue paint!

Went to the Harley shop March 13 1971. Came home with a brand new SUPERGLIDE. It lasted about a week being stock (untouched ) ha ha.

The first thing I did was take off that ugly - ass "BOAT-TAIL " and I folded up a towel poked down in the frame and rode it that way till I could get a seat made (custom Le Pera cobra short-back ) 60 - 90 days out !

STILL own it STILL choppin it!!!!!
1971 - bought my FIRST and ONLY HARLEY and my FIRST of many many Easyriders mags (bikers manual - BIKERS BIBLE )
Been following the manuals guidelines ever since!!!!!

Lynn ( pool ) Stewart
Yucca, Az
Friday, February 11, 2022
Editor Response Good one. Yep, I have a few more stories. If you go to Life and Times of Bandit in the Cantina you can read a batch of them. I'd like to see a photo of your ride. Send it to

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