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#41 Jeff Mcallister

Ridgefield, CT

1927 Indian Chief

I have been a lover of motorbikes since my early teens. My first bike was a Zundapp 250, then came a bunch of little Hondas. But the holy grail in my neighborhood was the Triumph Bonneville which I finally acquired in 1978. I tried to buy one at the factory in England, but that’s a story for another time!

I now own ten classic bikes and have always enjoyed tinkering with them, first as a matter of economy, then puzzle solving and now therapeutic! My career of tugboats, deep sea towing and ship docking, and finally Harbor Pilot in New York City is winding down and the time is right for the ultimate adventure – the Cannonball, a ride across the country, the hard way!

But first I needed a motorcycle. None of my bikes is right for the Cannonball. An Indian motorcycle was my immediate choice for this challenge. They are sporty and they just look right. A search quickly educated me as to how rare and dear they are. The Scout seemed perfect, but alas none were available. My friend and fellow Cannonballer Denis Sharon alerted me to a ‘27 Big Chief in the Netherlands. This bike is perfect, powerful, robust and has a front brake! I quickly learned that prepping this bike to go cross country is very different than working on a classic fast tourer. Working with the experts along the way has been educational and more than entertaining.

Riding across this country is one thing, doing it on an ancient bike on back roads channeling MacGyver at every obstacle with a hundred like-minded individuals is quite another. Thank you, Mr. Sims for providing this opportunity. I am looking forward to the challenge. “Go West Young Man”!