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This story first appeared in - world's largest biker online magazine


Gary Dougherty knows a little something about giving 'junk' a second chance. Jack spotted Gary's unique ride on the Web and contacted him for further information. What he got was a story that comes from one of the smartest guys to hold a wrench we've run across. Read on as Gary tells us in his own words how his ride came about.

'I have always enjoyed watching the shows about fabrication -- American Thunder, Monster Garage, Biker Build Off, American Chopper - etc .. Of course knowing I could not afford to have a real Chopper -- I decided to " manufacture" my own -- Chopper -- but in a little different way. I had gotten a couple of old junk bikes {Suzuki's I believe) with no engines from a guy who hauled a lot of junk metal to the scrapyard.

Then I was at a garage sale one day .. and noticed this riding mower in a junk pile. I asked the guy about it and he said it wasn't any good and didn't want it. So, I offered him $20 for it .. and he took it.

GardenTractorYellowChopper 006res

I went home and started to put the mower back together -- and got it running good. It had a 17.5 HP Briggs Twin and hydrostat tranny in it.

Anyway, I got to thinking -- I have always wanted a chopper so I cut the triple tree from the front of oneFarmerChopperNEWEXHAUSTres bike and a friend extended the forks about 6" inches for me I started cutting off the front end of the Riding mower and putting the front of the bike on the front of the mower. I didn't have much metal around so I took an old metal bed frame and made part of the frame and the chrome is painted and cut out of an aluminum running board. The chrome exhausts are from an old animal guard off an old truck. The forward and reverse handle on the right side is from a hydraulic jack handle. My friend Jim gave me a Harley seat and I believe it is an old Harley gas tank too, that we had to "fix all the leaks" ..After I got it together -- I sanded it down -- and bought several cans of spray paint -- and a friend, Travis, helped me tape and spray the tank. My son, Michael made me some decals for the tank. Another friend, Lloyd, gave me some ATV tires for the back.
That is just about it. (Besides a lot of hours!!) People always ask, so I will tell you -- YES, you can still mowchopper2[1]res grass - if you want!
So I finally had something - that I had always wanted -- a "Chopper" .. kinda .. a "Farmers Chopper"!
I believe it was in June of 2006 -- a group had seen a pic of the Farmers Chopper and invited me to a vintage bike rally -- at Gilmore Car Museum. I thought they were kidding and never thought much about it. Finally, they contacted me a second time and said "really, we like it and would like for you to bring it to the Vintage Motorcycle Show as a custom bike" - ha! .. So I took it and had the time of my life. I had bikers all day long gathered around it and taking pictures! It was a big hit and I felt like -- just a little -- hey, I am a biker too!
I have sure had a good time showing it at antique tractor and garden tractor shows - and riding in parades.

Although -- I really like custom bikes and enjoy the bike "scene" - I am not a biker, I am a biker "wanta be" .. but I can still say to all those who see the "Farmers Chopper" .. "if you are ever down - or made a mistake - don't you dare look at yourself as junk or a cast away - look up -- like one person said one time "God don't make no junk" ..'

We think Gary's ingenuity and insight embodies the heart and soul of what it is to be a biker. Thank you for sharing your Reader's Ride story with us.

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Russell Mitchell from Exile Customs and me In Grand Rapids, Mi.