Readers and their Rides

Richard Welsh & His 2005 Custom Chopper

Written by  July 1, 2012

A few weeks ago, I received an e-mail from a fellow motorcycle enthusiast named Rick Scarborough. Rick is one of the nicest guys you could ever meet, and we run into each other from time to time at various motorcycle events in and around the KC area. Rick contacted me to see if I’d be interested in meeting a friend of his named Richard Welsh a.k.a. Rick, who was riding his hand-built hardtail chopper to Kansas City from London Ontario, Canada.

Being a hardtail enthusiast myself, I jumped at the chance, and we scheduled a time and place to meet so I could chat with Rick and take a few photos of him and his bike. I also wanted to gather some additional information, so I could put together a Reader’s & Their Ride article for this month’s issue.

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Below is the interview I had with Rick, along with some additional information about his awesome one-off bike:

CC: Rick, what do you do in Canada?
Rick: I’m a machinist.

CC: Tell me about your bike.
Rick: It’s a custom hand-built hardtail chopper, with a 2005 Paugho frame, and a 1200 Harley-Davidson Sportster engine with Panhead rocker covers. It has a Screamin’ Eagle carburetor, with a hand-built air cleaner cover, and Thunder Header pipes with custom upsweeps. It also has a 5-speed Sportster transmission. I hand-fabricated the fenders and gas tank, and painted it myself. I also built the oil tank, as well as the pegs. I built the forks and triple trees by twisting the steel in a metal lathe, and had the wheels custom built with twisted steel to match the forks. I made the upper belt guard from an old bedrail, and hand-built the batter cover. The chrome was done by Midway Customs in London Ontario, Canada. I also made the seat myself.

CC: This bike is incredible, but where did you come up with the idea? 
Rick: When I first started thinking about building a bike, I looked through several magazines from the 70s, and decided on a chopper, which was the bike of my youth.

CC: How long did it take you to build?
Rick: It took me about three years; working on it in my spare time.

CC: This is obviously a great passion of yours, but do you have any other hobbies? 
Rick: Yes, I also enjoy rollerblading and traveling.

CC: So how long have you been riding? 
Rick: About 32 years.

CC: What was your first bike? 
Rick: It was a 1974 Yamaha RD350.

CC: How many bikes have you owned? 
Rick: Around ten or so.

CC: How many bikes do you own now? 
Rick: I currently have four bikes. This chopper, plus a 1986 Harley-Davidson FLT, a 1990 Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail, and a 1997 Harley-Davidson 1200 Sportster.

CC: That sounds like quite a collections. So what do you like most about your chopper?
Rick: It doesn’t have any windows or doors.

CC: That’s great! So what is your dream bike? 
Rick: Whatever bike I’m, on is my favorite.

CC: What is your most memorable riding experience? 
Rick: Riding the Pacific Coast highway from San Francisco to Big Sur for the absolutely beautiful view.

CC: What is your least memorable riding experience? 
Rick: Hitting a deer at 70 mph. Why that deer was going that fast, I’ll never know.

CC: What motorcycle rallies & events have you attended, and which is your favorite? 
Rick: Sturgis, Laconia, Little Sturgis, Daytona, Myrtle Beach, and the Bean Blossom. Sturgis is my favorite because it’s a chance to catch up with friends I only see once a year. Sturgis is the center of the biking nation. People come from both the east and the west and meet in the center.

CC: Do you have a favorite bike night hangout? 
Rick: The Landing in Liberty, Missouri, because when I was there, they made me feel very welcome. We don’t have anything of that caliber in my area of Canada.

CC: Do you prefer riding in a group or by yourself? 
Rick: No more than two bikes, because it’s too hard to keep everyone together.

CC: Who are some of your closest riding buddies? 
Rick Suzanne Millson and Dave Burridge.

CC: Thank you for the interview Rick, and I hope to see you in Sturgis!


Mike Schweder

Editor-in-Chief - Kansas City, MO

Mike is the original founder of Cycle Connections Online Motorcycle Magazine and an avid motorcycle enthusiast. He has been riding for over 40 years, belongs to several local and national motorcycle organizations and travels to numerous rallies and events throughout the US each year. Mike has been a writer and editor for many years and has a passion for sharing his motorcycling experiences and stories with you. Contact Mike at