The Pride Of Perryville
Here at Baggers I get to meet the most interesting people; from riders, and readers, to the most talented builders. If you haven't noticed yet I enjoy featuring custom bikes that are built by more regular folks, not guys who are in this business to make a quick buck and get famous. I'm drawn to the old American work ethic, the kind of people you'd find out riding and working to make an honest living doing what they love. The types that aren't driven by fads, inflated ego, or call themselves 'master builders', whatever that over-used, and in my opinion meaningless saying means. Arrogance and greed killed much of the chopper world and I'm not going to contribute to that happening here.
Below is a cool story about someone most of us have probably never heard of from Eastern Missouri. I love the stories behind a man and his bike, and in this case both are worth a look.
Pete Meier is a very interesting person and, without a doubt, unlike anyone else you have ever met. He is difficult to describe and I just hope that my writing ability does him justice. Pete is very well known in this part of the country and his name is synonymous with motorcycles and the biker lifestyle. Pete has owned Harley-Davidson's since the day he graduated high school in the late '70s. Since then he has rarely worn anything other than blue jeans, t-shirt, boots, a bandana, and a cycle chain belt. He has long unruly hair and has not been clean-shaven since 1982. Pete usually has a cigarette burning and most afternoons enjoys a cold Bud Light. Interestingly enough he has no tattoos or body piercings and never wears a watch or any jewelry. When on a long ride, Pete will not wear sunscreen and prefers to drink coffee while the rest of us gulp down water and Gatorade. Pete has attended the past 25 Sturgis rallies and jokes that, "a rally is not a vacation, it's a business trip"
Pete is a throwback; he does not own a cell phone, does not e-mail and will not use a GPS even though his sense of direction is sometimes lacking. Pete signed up for his first credit card just last year only because a newly located supplier could not set up direct billing. He embraces technology only as it relates to rebuilding or painting bikes.
Although you would never guess by looking at him, Pete is soft spoken to the point of being hard to hear at times, and never talks about anyone behind their back. I can personally attest that I have never heard him say a single negative thing about anyone not present. No one, however, confuses his easy-going personality with weakness. No one would ever cross Pete.
Pete is almost 50 years old, or as he stated, "I'm a few beers shy of 50." A professional painter by trade, he has worked for the same company for over 30 years. The majority of his evenings and weekends, however, are spent painting and rebuilding Harleys in his shop in Perryville. At any given time he is working on one or two bikes with one or two waiting their turn. His shop is a monument to motorcycles past and present as he has old parts, calendars, rally announcements, and years of accumulated paint overspray on the walls. Pete heats and controls the humidity with a huge homemade wood stove. There is a nearly constant flow of friends and customers through his shop that's been the unofficial gathering spot for every bike enthusiast within 100 miles for the past 30 years. Anytime someone shows up, Pete will quickly finish up his work and greet them with a cold beer and a bucket to sit on. If the weather is nice, he opens the overhead door and lets the crowd spill outside.
Pete's first bike was a 1977 Sportster (payments of $80.00/month). Since 1980 he has owned at least 11 Harleys, most of them dressers and all but a few were purchased new. Pete created his first "bagger" in 1987, although no one called them that back then. He really did lead the trend. Pete told me, "I was building baggers before baggers were cool". What really set these bikes apart, however, were his paint jobs. Although he will paint any scheme the customer wants, Pete's specialty is hand painted flames. He will often include painting the inside of the fairing, filler panels, and covers. His use of color, metal flake, flames, clear coat and graphics are outstanding
Pete stated that his intention in being published in Baggers is to "put Perry County back on the map". He's invited all of the readers to Perryville for a few beers and some bar-b-que. By the way, he also provides catering for large parties (smoked, grilled or deep fried meats). His motto, of course: "You can't beat Pete's meat".
Pete's bike you see here is a modified '02 Electra Glide that began life as a brand new Ultra Classic. After getting it back to his shop the bike was disassembled and rebuilt. Within the first six months the project was 80% complete and the remaining modifications were phased in over a few years. Since then the bike has been ridden to Sturgis seven times (eight as of this year) and now has 23,500 miles. On the dyno the motor produced 112hp and an arm stretching 136 lb-ft of torque. Last year Pete switched the tank and bag lids, repainted the bike and added a custom built sissy bar.
|SHOP||Meier's Body & Cycle|
|ASSEMBLY||Meier's Body & Cycle|
|BUILDER||Double D Cycles|
|FINAL TUNER||John Golden/RollingThunder|
TRANSMISSION YEAR/TYPE '02/Five-speed CLUTCH H-D
FRAME YEAR/TYPE '02/FLH
|WHEELS, TIRES, BRAKES|
|COLOR||Candy Apple Red|
|FRONT FENDER||H-D Fat Boy|
|REAR FENDER||Sumax/Pete Meier|
|GAS TANK||Russ Wernimont|
|LICENSE MOUNT||Pete Meier|
|FILLER PANELS||Pete Meier|
|SADDLEBAG LATCHES||Arlen Ness|
|SADDLEBAG LIDS||Gator Lids|