Good Morning Obots!
This week’s theme is all about those bikers. Do we have any riders here? I have friends that ride HARD. I knew there were a lot of people into bikes and they “ride out” as soon as spring hits, but who knew about the rich history of African-americans in Harley Davidson history? The company has chronicled all of the stories and dedicated an exhibit to the evolution of black bikers.
Today we learn about Benny Hardy, the man that built the choppers for the cult classic ‘Easy Rider”!
Benjamin Franklin Hardy Jr. – he is the late great motorcycle legend that is becoming respectfully known as a great motorcycle dealer, all knowing mechanic and superior bike builder. Even more famous for his two great creations that are world known… “The Easy Rider” movie motorcycles: Captain America and Billy.
King Benny, through his work had always been know as the go-to person for everyone black or white to ask about motorcycles. When Cliff Vaughs, another legendary rider and filmmaker, came to Brother Ben with film star and writer Dennis Hopper to make motorcycle history… that is what he did. Harley Davidson wouldn’t give Dennis motorcycles so Dennis and Cliff purchased old bikes which were the canvas for King Benny’s masterpieces… The Captain America and Billy Bike.
His work and sales took place in Los Angeles, in a building at 1168 E. Florence Ave. near the corner of S. Central Blvd. when it was an industrial site for Good Year tires and other industries that were beginning.
Recently at the California African-American Museum the exhibit “Black Chrome” has showcased the work, contributions and lifestyle of African-Americans in the motorcycle culture and Benny was honored with a standing ovation when his daughter showed… Kevin, the Grandson of this legend, has explained his love and honor not only for Benny as a person, but as an innovator of the motorcycle.
(all information from The Chopperagent, The Onyx Rider and harleydavidson.com)