Cover Bike Owners

Stripe & His 2011 Harley-Davidson Dyna Wide Glide

March 31, 2012
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Our April 2012 cover bike is owned by my good friend Dave Baxter, also known as “Stripe.” He is a long time motorcyclist, and has been a photojournalist for Cycle Connections since 2004. He has also contributed photos and articles to print magazines including Easyriders, Biker, In the Wind, V-Twin, and American Iron. He is proud of his 2011 Harley-Davidson Dyna Wide Glide, which is beautiful bike. He and I have worked together on the magazine so long that I could probably answer most of our standard questions for him, but we’ll proceed with the interview anyway. To help make Stripe’s bike look even better, we photographed Natalie on his Wide Glide for this month’s cover.

CC: What do like about your Wide Glide?
Stripe: Just about everything. I really like the look. Harley’s use of the turn signal bulbs as tail/brake lights and moving the license plate to the side cleans up the rear fender and gives it a bobber look. The wide front fork and black rims are cool. I like the 180 mm back tire. From the standpoint of performance, the 96-inch v-twin and 6-speed tranny work just fine. I needed a little more volume on the sound, so I replaced the stock mufflers with slip-ons from Rush and changed the air cleaner to provide a little more flow.

CC: What other changes have you made?
Stripe: I liked the look of the original handlebars, but I needed to bend forward slightly to reach them. That is a problem on long rides, so I replaced those bars with baby apes like the ones I had on my 2000 Wide Glide. I added a quick-detach windshield and passenger seatback/luggage rack combo for travel. For comfort on trips, I replace the seat with a Harley pillow look seat, also similar to the one on my other Wide Glide. I went with Harley’s Edge Cut Collection for the front brake and clutch levers, mirrors, shifter and rear brake levers, and footpegs. I also replaced the plain shift linkage with one I thought looked good with the other changes. Other than that, it’s a stock motorcycle?

CC: What do you enjoy most about riding?
Stripe: It’s an adventure and a great way to relieve stress and meet people.

CC: How long have you been riding?
Stripe: I’ve been riding since the age of 14.

CC: What was your first bike?
Stripe: My first bike was a red Honda Sport 50 bought at Spencer’s Honda in Stockton, Kansas, my hometown.

CC: How many bikes have you owned?
Stripe: Seven.

CC: How many bikes do you currently own?
Stripe: Two. My other bike is a 1990 Heritage Softail, my first Harley.

CC: What is your dream bike?
Stripe: An all-original 1965 Panhead would be nice. Might as well dream big.

CC: To what motorcycle clubs or organizations do you belong?
Stripe: I belong to the Greater Kansas City H.O.G. Chapter, the American Heartland - KC Chapter H.O.G., Freedom of Road Riders (FORR), and A.B.A.T.E. of Iowa.

CC: Which motorcycle rallies & events have you attended, and which is your favorite?
Stripe: Sturgis, Iowa Freedom Rally, Hog Wild Rodeo and Thunder in the Sand (Conesville, IA), Oklahoma Bike Week and Sparks Halloween Party (Sparks, OK), Little Sturgis (KY), Red River (NM), Four Corners (CO) and numerous state and regional H.O.G. rallies. I really enjoy participating in charity rides benefiting worthy causes. I don’t really have a favorite. I enjoy them all.

CC: Do you prefer riding in a group or by yourself?
Stripe: It depends on my mood. I enjoy sharing the ride with others, and it feels good to have others around in case there are problems. However, it’s nice to just get out and ride without a destination in mind, just being alone with my thoughts.

CC: Who are some of your closest riding buddies?
Stripe: The buddy I have ridden most with is Oliver a.k.a. Caviar. He showed me the ropes on that first Sturgis ride and we have made the trip together several times during the time I lived in Dodge City. Since moving to the Kansas City area about 15 years ago, I have met many terrific motorcycle people. Since we work together on many events for Cycle Connections, Editor-in-Chief Mike Schweder and I frequently ride together.

CC: What are your interests other than motorcycling?
Stripe: I have always been interested in aviation. I am licensed as an instrument rated private pilot but gave up flying many years ago because of the expense involved. I really enjoy photography, and I appreciate my two feline buddies, Wyatt and Billy. They got their names from the Fonda and Hopper characters in the 1969 movie Easy Rider.

CC: What is your most memorable riding experience?
Stripe: On the positive side, that would be my first trip to Sturgis. It was my first long road trip on a Harley, and the Sturgis experience blew me away. I have missed only one since. That was four years ago following open-heart surgery to replace my failing aortic valve with an artificial one.

Negatively, it was a short ride nearly two years ago that ended with a dead deer, a mangled 2000 Wide Glide, and an injured rider—me. It wasn’t so much the ride but the aftermath that was memorable. Living with two broken ankles is not something quickly forgotten. I will always remember and be grateful for the kindness that was shown to me by so many people during my recovery. I have an increased appreciation for emergency response personnel and those who work at skilled nursing facilities. I’m very fortunate that everything has returned to normal. Although my disability was thankfully temporary, it gave me a greater understanding of and compassion for those who have long-term or permanent disabilities.

CC: Our readers might be interested in the origin of your unusual nickname.

Stripe:It’s kind of a long story, but back in 1990, the Dodge City H.O.G. Chapter sponsored a bike show as a fund-raiser for M.D.A. One of our members, a professional photographer, was shooting photos of people with their bikes to raise money for the charity. When I posed with my Heritage, glare from a bright light behind Mark’s display resulted in a white stripe down the center of my black leather bandana in the photo. When my buddies saw this it reminded someone of Stripe, the Gremlin ringleader from the 1984 movie, Gremlins. Someone else suggested this would be a good road name for me. In the movie, nasty gremlins develop from cute, fuzzy, mild-mannered mogwai. It was observed that I undergo a similar transformation from a quiet, shy accountant to a wild and crazy biker. The name stuck.

CC: Do you like your nickname?
Stripe: It’s definitely less common than Dave, so maybe it makes me a little more memorable. I had Stripe airbrushed on a vest, and it occasionally leads to interesting conversations with people who comment on it. I’m okay with it, but I’m not having my name legally changed.

CC: Thanks Stripe!
Interview by By Mike Schweder

Photos by Bruce Stimpson with Stimpson Photography.

Published in Cover Bike Owners