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  • Writer's pictureLawless

Eastern Heritage

Phuket bike week was to be a welcome break for Gazza (WA contributor) and myself and the only reason the cameras were brought along were for the odd candid pick or to capture a landscape. Before we left Gazza found himself, through a friend, accommodation at a biker inspired bar in Patong called Nicky’s Handle Bar (as featured by Gazza). Gazza gave me the heads up on one of the many 20 or so motorcycles owned by the owner aptly named The Monster to shoot. After arriving and downing my first of many complimentary bourbons I was led up the path past Nicky’s workshop and then onto the garage. Nicky’s collection of bikes and cars (which included a Ferrari, Lamborghini and some American Muscle cars) was second to none there had to be 20 or so bikes ranging from customs to heritage. The actual count was 22 Harley Davidsons, 2 Indians and 2 Ducati’s. It was after giving the collection the once over that what was to be the one shoot which turned into a two day trilogy of not three but four bikes which I thought worthy of a feature (so I hope you guys like them?).

The first was a 1920 Red Indian. Nicky has been care taker of the bike after a friend of his a few years back was going to the Soccer World Cup. His mate asked Nicky if he would be able to take care of his bike whilst he was away and whilst the bike was in his care he was going to send a mechanic from Chieng Mai to restore it.

Two weeks had passed with no sight of the mechanic so Nicky decided to ring his mate to tell him he may be better off letting them do the restoration. Three weeks later the bike had been completely rebuilt. The bike he says is now as it was new, runs beautifully and can be used anytime he likes.

Nicky has two Indians of his own, a 1920 and a 1926 model that he brought for the princely sum of 2,000,000 Baht, approxiaately AU$70,000.

The second of our heritage bikes is a 1935 WLA was Nicky’s first bike. He brought the bike from a good mate who as he put it ‘’owed somebody money and had to sell the bike’’. At the time the bike was in need of a rebuild so he sent it back to Tien (Nicky’s bar mechanic) to rebuild and restore the needy WLA 20 years on the bike. All work on the bike as well as the paint and airbrushing was done locally and has very much stood the test of time.

Tien has built and restored most everything at Nicky’s and whilst being a quiet man with not much to say, let’s his work do all the talkin’.

Nicky loves his hobby and his collection and says the bikes are also there to welcome Brother Bikers to his bar and are what makes the bar something different and says he will never part with his bikes and he will keep them forever and will leave them to his daughter or son if he has one. When he goes to that big biker bar in the sky!

Call me a dill but when I first saw the WLA I thought it a great idea to shoot it in the tropical garden - hey, get it? Camouflaged! We are lucky to see it at all! DOH!

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