Vintage motorcyclists were in their own heaven last weekend during the 20th Ponoka Vintage Bike Rally held from Friday, July 22 to Sunday, July 24.
Each collector took great pleasure in recounting how they found, rebuilt, modified or purchased their motorcycles. This year’s theme was Twins Are In, which celebrated twin engine motorcycles.
Along with the many vintage motorcycles found at the rally was one man who had the idea to make a one-of-a-kind trike with an Oldsmobile engine in the back.
Ken Forster, of Leslieville, came up with the idea over a 15 year period and slowly collected all the necessary parts to put it all together. “The back end of this trike is the front end of a 1972 Oldsmobile Toronado 455 engine. And the front end is a 1978 Honda Goldwing.
“It’s very comfortable to ride on,” said Forster.
To cover the engine, Forster cut the back half of a 1963 Chevy half-ton box, which includes two stacks for the exhaust. Princess Auto trailer fenders make up the back end of the trike, which also comes complete with a trailer hitch. “It tows trailers fantastic.”
The trike has only been on the road this year with Forster clocking about 600 kilometres, however, it is roadworthy and passed a vehicle inspection before he was able to make his first ride. To cap it all, the trike has a Yamaha gas tank and two old steel tractor seats with Princess Auto seat cushions. The trike brings to mind the well-known Johnny Cash song One Piece at a Time.
The inspection sheet mentions the trike was modified and home built and then the sheet was sent to insurance for approval and Forster has a trike that no one else owns, which also happens to be able to haul a trailer behind it.
Another collector from Calgary brings a portion of his 63 different vintage motorcycle collection to the rally every year. David Lieu has always loved street motorcycles. He showcased several motorbikes including an unrestricted 1985 Yamaha TZR 250.
The 2-stroke motorcycle is the only one of its kind in Canada as it was only released in Japan. This motorcycle was purchased in Japan before the 2011 tsunami that hit Japan. Had he not bought it, the Yamaha would be lost to the sea.
“What I enjoy most about riding this is actually not the bike. It’s knowing I remember owning the poster as a child and now I am the poster,” said Lieu.
The 45-year-old collector has always had a love of high performance motorcycle racing. “My heroes were always MotoGP racing stars.”
Not only does he own the motorbikes his stars rode on, but he also has the original team uniforms and memorabilia.
The stories behind the motorcycles is what drives him to collect, which started out small but has now become a full-fledged passion. You won’t find any Harley Davidsons in Lieu’s collection, not because he doesn’t appreciate the bikes, but because those were not the bikes he grew up watching.
“They make me happy and I enjoy tinkering with them,” said Lieu.
The Ponoka Bike Rally is part of the Central Alberta Vintage Motorcycle Group, which is a chapter of the Canadian Vintage Motorcycle Group, explained chapter president Craig “Bentley” Cooksley.
The goal of the rallies is to get collectors out to share stories and motorbikes and they take donations, from these rallies and other event such as swap meets, to food banks in the area.