It’s fitting that the inspiration for the guys of Shadetree Racing and Choppers to reclaim the Guinness world record for the world’s longest motorcycle came after multiple beers.
In fact, the plan for the 101-foot-long motorcycle was sketched on the back of the cardboard from an empty 12-pack.
Rick Dozer and his friends knew they could build a big bike. They’d done it before. They first broke the world record on June 15, 2003, with a motorcycle measuring 29 feet, 3 inches. It was certified as a record with Guinness World Records.
But records can be fleeting, and motorcycles, apparently, can get really long.
The current record holder is Bharat Sing Parmar who lives in India. Parmar set the record in 2015, when he built and rode an 86-foot, 3-inch bike.
In his official Guinness picture, Parmar wears a bright-yellow turban and a blue silk tunic. The Shadetree guys favor T-shirts, jeans and tattoos.
The beer-carton drawing might have seemed simple enough, but lead organizer Rod Moore said, “we are not the most organized group.”
But, somehow, over the course of 10 hot days in July, the guys managed to pull off what evolved into a nearly equal mix of party and production effort.
Every year for 20 years, about 200 of Dozer’s friends have brought tents, motorcycles and various party supplies to his farm in Sadieville for the World Party. To understand the level of commitment to that idea, you should know that World Party has an unofficial beer sponsor in Country Boy Brewing.
Moore, who goes by the nickname Mad Dog, is well known in the extreme cycle world. And the party has evolved from the guys and their girlfriends; it now includes more wives and children.
In preparation, Moore and Dozer, who live in Scott County, had to find and reassemble the 2003 winning bike. After it entered the Guinness record books, it was sold and displayed around the country for several years at car and motorcycle shows.
Once the party started, it was all-hands-on construction. After securing and re-mantling the basic structure, putting together the bike required hundreds of hours of labor. Figuring out how to create the mammoth steel horse from the rudimentary drawing was just the beginning. There were hours and hours of welding and, ultimately, getting the beast on a paved surface. The Guinness folks require that the world’s longest motorcycle be roadworthy.
For the potentially record-breaking ride, a pack of beefy men stretched down the expanse of metal between beginning and end and jogged beside the bike, holding it steady like a worried parent does on a kid’s first day without training wheels.
It was all captured on video as the long line of metal waved and the bike moved forward, only to crash to one side under its own weight. There were some safety challenges. A regular bike might weigh 800 to 900 pounds. The potential record-breaker was 1,300 pounds.
The team isn’t sure whether the chopper stayed upright long enough to qualify for the record. The video was submitted to the Guinness people, who will get back to them at some point either way.
Tony Higdon, a Lexington sculptor and motorcycle enthusiast, described the motorcycle as kind of like a public art project.
“It’s less about the finished project and more about the friendship and they fun we had,” Higdon said.
Coming together several weeks after the run to retell the tale over, yep, beer at Lexington’s Break Room, that seemed true. Building and riding that crazy bike was just one more, maybe slightly fuzzy, memory of the recent World Party, which is perhaps still going.
“There is still one tent out there,” Dozer said. “I’m not sure who they are or when they are going to leave.”