A licence suspension may have prevented Stan from riding for a bit, but bikes were by no means out of the picture. Instead, this was the perfect use of time to work on his bike The Penny Flipper more – he just needed one thing. Space…
“I live in an apartment block and although I do have an undercover parking spot, doing even minor jobs on a bike was problematic if not impossible, you see – the lights in my car park are set on timer and switch off after 5 minutes if nobody walks past the motion sensors, so I had to drop tools, walk about 25 meters to the nearest motion sensor to activate the lights again. Rebuilding an entire bike from the frame up in these conditions was definitely out of the question.”
Stan searched far and wide, determined to find an appropriate space for the motorcycle madness he had planned – and sure enough, he found it. “After checking out countless rental garages around inner west and eastern suburbs I came across my little cave – It was perfect, it was dirty, unpainted and stunk of stale human and cat piss BUT It was close to home, it was at the back of a building where I didn’t bother anyone and it was in a dead end street. The next day Rental contract was signed and the garage key was in my pocket. Next week was spent cleaning and painting, I will forever be grateful to my amazing girlfriend Kate Gabriel for helping me clean, paint and deodorise it, and for listening to me grumble about how filthy the garage was.”
Not one to be selfish, Stan opened up this newfound bike bunker to his mates as well. The camaraderie of living in the city and having shit all space to work on your passion is something many Sydneysiders can relate to. “I share this space with none other than Jordan (Ginger Boy) Kightly, and unofficially my mate Thomas to whom we’re both grateful for letting us use his tools. There is something really comforting about being able to hang out, chat and work on bikes with mates, in fact it’s definitely one of my top 5 things to do in the entire world.”
Spending as much time as he can in his space – especially when a build is in the works – it’s a cathartic zone where he can come to switch off or just relax. “I come to the garage often, especially lately while I’m building Kate’s little GN250 called “Scabby Gabby”. We have most tools we’d need to practically do any kind of mechanical work (except welding equipment for now).
With 4 bikes, there is always something to do. But this is my place of solitude too, I come here when I need time to think or to switch off or just to forget about a rough day. Some people go fishing, some people go surfing, and for me it’s riding and working on my bikes. Also while working in the garage, I meet tons of locals, from artists and musicians to the local less fortunate guys, they all stop for a chat and share their own wistful bike (or not ) stories, – I love it, I wish I was recording these stories because I swear it’d make for an amazing, heartfelt book. The rough characters of Redfern are amazing and most are beautiful people who are just shit out of luck. I never have the heart to walk away from their stories even when it means not finishing what I planned for the day in the garage.”
Alright Stan, what’s your most useful or favourite tool?
“Haha, oh yes the grinder, I think I just like the fact that practically anything can be undone by a grinder, it’s the feeling of instant result, you turn it on, sparks fly, shit gets undone 🙂
I especially love it when you just installed a brand new cutting wheel, cutting metal like butter just does something to my senses. Besides, it makes for a quintessential hipster photo, you know – gloomy, moody, ran down surroundings, sparks flying, bearded dude cutting something up.”
Lucky we here at Throttle Roll are creative pioneers, and would never take such a hipster angel grinder photo.
Now for a more serious question – Sydney is under attack (or something) and there is rioting in the streets. Your garage space is under threat and needs defending, what one item would you pick from your space and why?
“Of course it’d have to be my little telescopic mirror. First of all I can deflect ALL of the laser beams, because everybody knows that any self-respecting riot doesn’t happen without lasers involved. Since I’m an optimist at heart, of course the riot will take place on a sunny day – then I can blind the rioters by reflecting sun into their eyes. I can also peek around the corners with it and keep an eye on what’s happening behind me in case the rioters are sneaking up on my garage while I’m working.”
Oh good, makes sense.
The Penny Flipper is (for now) done, surely there’s more bike builds on the horizon? “I have plans to rebuild my first love – my little 1969 CB175, sadly she’s been a little neglected lately. And I want to give her the royal treatment and bring her back to her full glory.
I’ve also just picked up a desert sled project in the form of a 2001 Aprillia Pegaso 650. This one is going to be a tough one, as I don’t know much about sleds, I’m thankful to be a part of such an amazing bike community where knowledge is endless and on tap.
Sydney Desert Sled boys, get ready for a ton of questions coming your way!”