At first it sounded like a hoax.
But WISN-TV, the ABC affiliate in Milwaukee, ran one minute forty-seven seconds of video Labor Day weekend of Bud Surber riding the V-Twin motorcycle he built from parts he bought, parts he found, parts he made and parts people gave him.
“I’m totally blind, no light at all,” Surber told a spot just a little to the left of the camera. “I just do things by feel. I’ve done mechanic’s work for years.” Surber is from Oklahoma. The television station didn’t bother to ask him where in Oklahoma but there are Surbers in Konawa, southeast of OK City.
Surber has been working on this dream he will never see for three years. “I cut some parts myself with my saws. All of them are chop saws. And I had them tacked together” The bike starts with a kicker and features a old style springer front end. “The front end’s off an old 48 Knucklehead,” Surber told the camera. “I just don’t like riding on the back of a regular motorcycle.” He built this bike, “with the whole idea that I would have clutch, throttle and shifter.”
Surber has been blind for about as long as he has been building his bike. He lost his sight when he was shot in the head. His assailant, “came to my house in the middle of the afternoon. On a Sunday afternoon. And shot me,” Surber said. The bullet entered his temple and exited through his eye. Then he was blind.
Surber was in Milwaukee the Harley Davidson 105th anniversary celebration. Surber trailered the bike in and it had 16 miles on it as it sat in front of the television camera. “We’re gonna put some miles on it this weekend,” Surber grinned
Then as if on cue, Surber folded up his cane and stuffed it in his cowboy boot. He kicked then engine to life. And then he, and a partner on the front who actually steers the bike, rode away.