ED “BIG DADDY” ROTH | KUSTOM KULTURE KING’S “CANDY WAGON” HARLEY TRIKE

“I had the pleasure of building the entire machine myself. Doug Kinney sanded it and helped paint it, but the entire concept here was to build a machine for parades and stuff. At the first parade I threw candy from the rear trailer to the kids in the crowd, and it spooked the horses in the parade (kids chasin’ candy) I never did that again! Newton was responsible for the sketches of the ‘Candy Wagon’ after the machine was built. I drove this machine to many bike runs in and around California and it was an exceptional Harley trike motorcycle and very dependable!” ~Ed Roth

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WHERE THE HELL IS MURPH… | WELL, HE’S OUT GRABBING LIFE BY THE BALLS

What I love most about TSY is meeting good souls like Murph.  Currently Murph is on the road, solo. Just him and his BMW GS. I have to say, I’m eatin’ my heart out a little over here, and before we dig into the story, I also have to say– I’d love us to support Murph on his trek anyway we can.  Check out his travelogue / photo-journal of his travels chronicled on WHERE THE HELL IS MURPH… and while you’re at it, buy one of his prints and/or make a donation however big or small– just do it. Let’s keep Murph on the road, gas in his tank, and food in his belly.

I knew I couldn’t do Murph’s story justice myself. You truly have to hear it from the man himself, and you’ll see why this is more than a bike ride.  It’s an inward journey as much as an outward one–


Born in Dublin, in the early ’60s– trials rider, enduro rider, then road racer. There’s a lot more in those eighteen years I spent there, but that’s another bottle of Johnny Walker Black. Left Ireland for the U.S. in the early ’80s. Lived in NYC (is there any other?) and loved it, but as fate would have it, a series of events had me move to Florida. At the time, blue skies, beaches filled with bikini clad nymphettes got me hook, line & sinker. I was soon to realise that all that looks good on the surface is not what it appears to be when you dive down a few feet.

Made a lot of money in Florida in property in the last ten years– in fact, was a multi millionaire. But then the Irish disease that afflicted my father got me. Booze. Alcoholism. I drank my way through a three million dollar apartment building I owned, a few houses, and three condos. Lost it ALL.
The last two years have been sober. January 17th will officially be 2.  But before that I went down as far as anybody could go, the depths of 24hr drinking. It really was a horrible place I led myself to. So in December I bought the bike, and tried to stay afloat by staying in the rat race, but being extremly independent and always having worked for myself– a $10 an hour job and being treated like a slave didn’t last. Meanwhile my house has been in forclosure for the last two years, so I really just exploded and said– FUCK IT.
A retread on an old relationship didn’t work (go figure), I hated Florida, I always loved traveling, so got on the bike in April thinking– Lemme go and see some friends around the country, take some pictures, ‘n post ’em on a blog…

PHOTOGRAPHY OF WILLIAM GEDNEY | AN AMERICAN ARCHIVE, KENTUCKY

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Man driving car and drinking can of beer. Kentucky, 1972. William Gedney Photographs and Writings Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library. http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/gedney/

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Chances are, if you’re reading this you’re like me– isolated from the starkness and poverty represented in William Gedney’s haunting, honest images of Kentucky life taken back in 1964 & 1972.  We get wrapped up in our own comfortable little coccoon and forget that there’s a world out there, even today, without the internet, shopping malls, and Starbucks.  Driving across this great country years ago, and seeing parts of the rural south with my own eyes exposed me to a way of life in the outskirts of America that I was largely ignorant of.  Most of us have a whole lot to be thankful for, like the simple conveniences and access that we overlook everyday.

From the mid 1950s through the early 1980s, William Gedney (1932-1989) photographed throughout the United States (as well as India, and Europe). From street scenes outside his Brooklyn apartment, to the daily chores of unemployed coal miners, and the indolent lifestyle of hippies in Haight-Ashbury– Gedney recorded the lives of others with remarkable clarity and poignancy. These photographs (along with his notebooks and writings), illuminate the vision of an intensely private man who, as a writer and photographer, revealed the lives of others with striking sensitivity.

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Boy covered by dirt smoking cigarette with one hand, holding can of tobacco in other. Kentucky, 1964. William Gedney Photographs and Writings Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library. http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/gedney/

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