Meeting at “The Barrage”, part two…

As I said in my last post, I made the trip to North Portland to meet with my recently acquired Twitter best bud, Rodney Lucas with “The Barrage”. I had such a wonderful time with he and his brother, Chad. Along with some great conversation, a true meeting of the motorcycle minds, and some laughter, we also talked about the bikes that were part of the place. 
Imagine a motorcycle bone yard, add a little museum feel, then throw in some “memories of my past”, and mix with a pinch of history and you have a basic idea of the group of bikes these guys had. It was an impressive showing! Here are a few pictures of just some of them and the rest of the interview.
The first one is by far the most interesting motorcycle I have ever seen and it was actually his grandfathers bike that Rodney got hold of after his passing.
Here is what Rodney had to say about it. “1958-62 Rokon:  This is an interesting beast.  A 2 wheel drive motorcycle built in New England in the late 50’s and early 60’s.  The company is still around, although it’s been bought and sold about 12 times since then.  Go google rokon, or YouTube and you’ll find some really interesting items.”

The bikes as they sit now;
1982 CB650 (my first bike)  A friend got me into that bike about 5 years ago and I haven’t turned back.  Funny story about that one.  Before I started wrenching on my own I took it down to
Vicious Cycle off interstate.  Really great guys down there, you should see what they can do with a CB160, both in the shop and on the track.  Anyway, I rolled it in there and they pretty much told me it wasn’t worth the money I put on the bike.  I was incredibly offended.  I get it now.  As a mechanic the hours spent vs. what the bike was worth didn’t add up.  But that is one of the instances that got me into wrenching on my own and I’ve learned an incredible amount since.  So thanks to Vicious for sending me off on my own.  
1982 CB650: originally bought as a parts bike for the other one.  But the further and further I get into tearing it apart the more I want to do a Street Tracker rebuild to the thing.
1981 CB400T:  Chad picked this bike up for $200 on
CL last year.  It runs, and is a total rat job, but he loves it.  We’re working on replacing the electrical this winter.
1978 CB550:  A friend has this bike in the shop right now.  A lot of potential behind it, CB mods from the 70’s are so “it” right now.  Pretty easy to work on and find parts for, and highly modifiable.
1978 CB750 Super Sport:  This one is actually a sad story.  An old friend from High School, Mort, bought this bike running and was having some electrical problems.  Got into it way too far and now it’s in bins all over the.barrage.  He’s now since got a new job, is having a kid, and all sorts of other things life throws at you.  He doesn’t know it yet, but I’m using his bike as the “learning” bike.  Teaching people how to do specific things while slowly rebuilding his.  By spring I hope to deliver to him a very clean, cafe CB750 as a congrats for having a kid and getting through life.
Lastly I have a 2009 Harley Davidson Sportster Iron 883.  Black beauty.

Q..What was your impression of what The Barrage would be?
A..It’s evolved over time as far as the details, but at the heart of things I’m trying to build a community in Portland around the DIY motorcyclist geared toward our moto:  To learn, to wrench, to ride.  I truly believe that the more you know about your bike, how it functions, how to fix it, the better you will be at riding it.    I don’t necessarily think that you “need” to wrench, but understanding the basic fundamentals should help you become a safer rider, at all speeds your stallion may carry you.  And right now that is what we are focusing on.

Q..What do you see it being in the future?
A..The opportunities are endless.  I hope to create a space that has everything you need to do this.  Come hang out, rent some space, rent some tools and we’ll have a mechanic on duty to help walk you through what your bike needs, or what you want your bike to need :).  I want to provide books, education, and an atmosphere that is fun in doing so.  Maybe some good local brews on tap after the shop closes for the day, a cafe/ small restaurant to get some good grub when you get frustrated with why your head gasket is still leaking!  A current problem of mine 🙂
One of the other great things about what we are doing is the revival of vintage bikes.  I know it’s not entirely “green” as these bikes still burn fuel.  But the gas mileage is way better than my neighbors Buick, and it’s not ending up in the dump… so you do the math.

Rodney, Chad, and I all talked about why we do what we do. We are all knee-deep in “motorcycle stuff” and we are happy as pigs in mud! It was great to talk to these young men and see how much the loved the ideas they were working on. They feel for the bikes that are everywhere and they talked about them with such love and respect. Later, via email, I asked Rodney to sum it up for me. Here’s what he had to say…
Haha, yes, this is something I’ve struggled with.  Do I do what I’m good at and make great money doing it, even though I don’t enjoy it, or do I do what I love and make a meager living doing so, but enjoy every minute.  For example, I’m currently responding to your email sitting in a bar in Brookings, OR.  Some of the.barrage guys and I are down here on vacation.  They are playing pool and imbibing, and I’m sitting at the bar with my MacBook Air writing to you.  Zach, our resident artist, walks up and says hey dude, what are you doing working?  I tell him it’s barrage related, and he quickly says, “Oh, well, you can’t call it work when you do what you love”.  
I think that sums it up pretty darn well.
It was so well put that I don’t really have anything to add!

If you are ever in the area of North Portland, give Rodney a shout out. He is always available to show you a good time, help you fix your bike, serve you a cold brew, and just plain charm ya. He can even hook you up with a shirt!!

Lady Godiva on wheels, watchin these boys cuz they are goin places! 




2 Responses to “Meeting at “The Barrage”, part two…”

  1. September 10, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    I’d love to go see The Barrage and will make a point of it next time I’m in PDX. What a great philosophy: “to learn, to wrench, to ride”. Love it! So glad you made this connection and shared this interview.

    • September 12, 2010 at 10:08 pm

      These young men are incredible. When you come to town, we can go spend a little time with them. By then, they may have graduated up to another location. They have a good plan in place but, also know that it is a patient progression that will get them there. I know they desire to be the Hare however, for now, they are the Tortoise!
      See you in Cali in a couple weeks!!

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