Readers and their Rides

Dustin Miller

Written by  September 30, 2004

Dustin Miller
Kansas City, Missouri
CC: What is your occupation, Dustin?
Dustin: I work at the Ford Plant in Claycomo on the assembly line, building the Ford Escape SUV and Mazda Tribute SUV.
CC: Why do you ride?
Dustin: I have ridden dirt bikes, and ATVs since I was a kid; I graduated to a street bike when I inherited my dad’s bike last year.
CC: How long have you been riding?
Dustin: Dirt, 17 years. Street, a little over a year.
CC: What was your first bike?
Dustin: Not sure what size? But it was a Suzuki mini bike, that was a three speed, with no clutch.
CC: How many bikes have you owned?
Dustin: Six.
CC: How many bikes do you currently own?
Dustin: One.
CC: What is the year, make, and model of your current bike?
Dustin: It’s a 1999 Yamaha Road Star Silverado.
CC: What do you like most about your current bike?
Dustin: The fact that it was my dad’s bike. I am sure I like it for the same reasons that he bought it. I like the style of it, the way that it rides and handles. It handles easily enough that I passed the riding test on it, after riding on my permit for about a week.
CC: What is your dream bike?
Dustin: Harley-Davidson, Heritage Softail Classic if they were not so pricey.
CC: What is your most memorable riding experience?
Dustin: Going to a FORR Rally in Chillicothe with some of my fellow Southern Cruisers members. I had been riding for less than a week when we went up there. I worked nights, so I was running on no sleep because we had to leave about two hours after I got off work. My wife was with me, and it turned out to be my first time riding on gravel, then when we got to the field where the rally was, I got to experience riding in mud, and we rode in our first poker run. All on little sleep, and little experience. Everything worked out all right, thank God for good balance, and we had a good time.
CC: What is your least memorable riding experience?
Dustin: Coming back from a dinner ride south of Blue Springs, we hit a storm that we found out from the news when we made it home, had a 70 mph cross wind. It was all I could do to keep the bike from getting blown off the road until we could get somewhere to pull over and wait it out. The road we were on was a two-lane blacktop with no shoulder, that was a nerve-wracking experience that I would not want to go through again, and my wife’s first experience in the rain.
CC: To what motorcycle clubs or organizations do you belong?
Dustin: Southern Cruisers Riding Club.
CC: Which motorcycle rallies & events have you attended? Which is your favorite, and why?
Dustin: The only rally we have attended was a FORR Rally in Chillicothe. My wife and I plan on going to Sturgis one of these years, but we have to find someone to watch our three kids, so it may be a while.
CC: Which is your favorite bike night location?
Dustin: We don’t really have one; we have been to a few, but so far have not found one that we really liked.
CC: Do you have any tattoos, and if so, which is your favorite?
Dustin: I have seven so far; I have a tie for my favorite. My wife and I have matching tribal hearts on our left arm that are our wedding bands. And I have a rose with barbed wire, and a banner wrapped around it, on my left forearm, with all of our girls names on it.
CC: Who is your favorite tattoo artist?
Dustin: My brother-in-law, Mitch. He started doing tattoos, and was a natural at it. He has done two of mine so far, he works at the Ford Plant with me, he does not have a shop or anything, he is just playing around doing tattoos because he wants to.
CC: Do you prefer riding in a group or by yourself?
Dustin: Either. When you ride by yourself you can do what you want. With the right group it’s fun to do things together.
CC: Who are some of your closest riding buddies?
Dustin: Larry Liebsch and Mitch Luna.
CC: Just for fun, which of your riding buddies is the best rider?
Dustin: Larry, he has more experience than Mitch.
CC: Just for fun, which or your riding buddies is the worst rider?
Dustin: Mitch, he underestimates his riding ability too much, so he rides nervous most of the time.
CC: Do you have any hobbies other than motorcycling?
Dustin: Shooting guns, I used to be an avid hunter, but I have gotten burnt out on that for the time being.
CC: How did you come up with your paint design?
Dustin: My dad was a Sergent on the Kansas City Police Department for 20 years until he passed away from leukemia last April. I inherited the bike from him so I wanted to do a tribute to him on it. I picked the blue base color to match the police cars. I noticed that a lot of people had flames, so I decided to come up with something different. The lightning with the bright yellow highlight idea came from the charging stations that we use for the forklifts at Ford; they have yellow lightning on them. I took a picture of my dad’s stripes on his coat and gave it to the painter to paint on the sides of the tank. I typed up "In Memory of My Father Sgt. Jerry Miller 1953-2003" in the style of text that I wanted and told him I wanted it on top of the tank. Then I told the painter to do what he wanted from there. So he decided how to make the lightning look, and to put the dark clouds behind the "In Memory of" text. He did not give me much insight into what it was going to look like until it was done. When I got my metal back, I was in shock, it came out exactly like I had imagined it.
CC: Who did the paint job?
Dustin: Chris Cofield and Jim Cone with CC Custom Graphics did the paint, I set up the paintwork through Lightning Cycle, they have been in Cycle Connections before.
CC: Have you changed anything besides the paint since you got the bike?
Dustin: Yes, I replaced the reflectors on the saddlebags with skull license plate bolts, then I got skull grips, I put another skull on the front fender where the front fender trim used to bolt on, and I have a skull on my key. I have DG Hard Chrome 3” exhaust. I had to add a taller sissy bar, because my wife did not like the short one. The other added parts were already on there from my dad. Something that has changed since I got the bike is the type of weather that I ride in. When the bike was still stock, I would ride rain or shine, and just clean the bike up when I got a chance (it was for riding not for cleaning). My dad had planned on riding all year 2002-2003, but did not end up riding much at all due to his illness. So I decided that I would ride all year, which means a lot of weather that most would not ride in, and it also means dirt building up on the bike faster than you can keep it clean. The only down time I had the first year I had the bike was a couple of times for snow and ice, but they did not last long. Now I tend to keep it out of the rain and such unless I get caught in it, because I don’t want to clean it, and I can’t stand for it to be very dirty with this paint on it.
Interview and photos by Goldie Arnold