Ian Smith is a second-generation beverage businessman whose turf includes Birmingham, Alabama. How anyone can make a living selling Red Bull in the land that perfected moonshine is beyond my comprehension, but if the clean specs and reliability of his ironhead are any indication, old Ian is doing fine. Perhaps Red Bull is just what the doctor ordered for shaking off the cobwebs after a long night of 'shining by the moonlight. Whatever the case may be, Ian, his motorcycle and the human jet fuel he slings for a living have my undying respect.
I learned a bunch of stuff the hard way about my motorcycle after the initial build. Here’s what happened. It was last year’s Big Mountain Run. My crew and I stopped in Chattanooga for lunch and I decided that my bike was running well enough to put all my gear—including the spare battery—in one of the chase vehicles. We hit I-75 during rush hour and my battery drops a cell while I'm doing 75 in the left lane. I'm running and then I'm not. The chase car with my tools and spare battery are heading down the highway with the pack.
There was no room in the median, just a concrete barrier. I sent a few frantic text messages to guys up the road and wondered what to do next. A Tennessee State Trooper had to block five lanes of I-75 so I could push my bike to the next exit. After about a 1-1/2 miles of pushing I found a doctor’s office and asked if I could use their computer to Google the nearest auto parts store. My boy Big Boss Ross rode back 25 or so miles with my battery and saved the day. I learned a lot on that trip and it exposed every issue that still needed attention with my machine. I'm proud to say I made it home and now my bike is as reliable as a 39-year-old motorcycle can be. I just ride it and enjoy it until something breaks.
Owner: Ian Smith
Bike name: Alabama 1/2 Sack
Hometown: Birmingham, AL
Motor: 1973 XLH Stock
Frame: Hardtailed by previous owner
Fork: Narrow Glide shaved by Big Boss Ross
Home-built custom bits: I made the seat and saddlebag; Big Boss Ross turned the foot controls; Spenser and Larry at Garage Company Customs built the stainless exhaust
Thanks: My friends Larry Pierce at Garage Company Customs, Bill, Big Boss Ross, Spenser, Whitey, Custom Jeff and Chopper Ed