Sturgis: Pee Wee Herman Bike Build

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Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

In addition to kicking off The Legendary Buffalo Chip during the 70th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Pee-wee Herman participated in a contest in which top motorcycle and bicycle designers made-over his iconic 1947 Schwinn bicycle.

The winning bicycle design, with an “Easy Rider” theme, belonged to Steve “Brewdude” Garn of BREW Bikes from Northwest North Carolina.

Pee-wee Herman inaugurated the bike as Captain of the Buffalo Chip’s Annual Legends Charity Ride. Both the winning bicycle, and the bicycle built by Brian Schimke of TPJ Customs were auctioned on the spot for The Kids & Chrome Foundation, who support The Black Hills Children’s Home Society and The Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame.

Scwhinn also generously donated 60 new bicycles and helmets to the Black Hills Children Home Society, giving each child a new bike to ride. The remaining two bikes from builders John Quinlin of Recycled Cycles and Jesse Hansen Mountain Sports will soon be available for purchase at an online auction.

Sponsored by Schwinn, the fundraising contest brought together a mix of nationally renowned and local South Dakota motorcycle and bicycle builders to creatively redesign and fabricate a ‘new’ TRANSIT 3-Speed Electric bicycle.

With only five weeks to transform the electric bicycles into unique, custom designed works of art that capture the essence of Pee-wee Herman, the designers displayed their bicycles at The Legendary Buffalo Chip’s Event Center on Sunday, Aug. 8 as Pee-wee Herman himself chose the winning design.

Dubbed the “Pee-wee Rider”, the winning bicycle was complete with a red frame, American flag paint job on the top tube of the frame, satchel bag and blanket on the pannier rack, a skull mounted on the head tube in between the front forks for a bit of an edge, and many other extraordinarily detailed designs.

Steve Garn (onwer of BREW Bikes) says: “The whole experience was 100% positive. Being there and being a part of this project was amazing. We got to meet Pee-wee Herman who was very friendly and had a lot of nice things to say about the bike. At BREW we work on both bicycles and motorcycles, so it was a really nice tie-in for us.”

“My own son grew up watching Pee-wee’s Playhouse, so we had Pee-wee sign a picture of my son when he was a boy in his Pee-wee Herman pajamas. We also got to be in a photo shoot with the bike and Pee-wee. This whole experience was just incredible!”

The Legendary Buffalo Chip, Sturgis’ premier entertainment venue and motorcycle travel destination witnessed an interesting array of leather, chrome, bikers, and Pee-wee Herman fans during Sturgis Rally Week 2010.

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One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007 and is currently Editor at Large at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of 365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).