Barragan opens his arms wide, motioning to the eight bikes and five cars that litter every nook and cranny of the space. There is a lot of work to be completed.
“I can’t build a bike right now. I can barely walk. So I look over at my apprentice, Juan, and say, ‘Let’s build a car.’ So we built the ’31 Coupe you always see me rollin’ around in. Juan helped me do everything. It took a while man but as the drugs wore off, I started coming back to it. A lot of things happened that wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t get hit…you know what I mean? Things are kinda good now. Ok, so fast-forward to Born Free II. I set up a booth and while I’m sitting there, Sugar Bear leans in and tells me that he spoke with my dad in Las Vegas right after I was hit. Sugar Bear tells me this deep intense story about what he did with his bike after he was hit. How he completely rebuilt it, every nut and bolt, then one day he got on the freeway and shoved it into the fast lane because he knew he had to. He had to live to ride another day.”
The bike man! Patience…I’m still dying to know how you ended up with it.
“Oh, then one day, the owner shows up with the bike and says he’s tried to have a few guys fix it…well they can’t. So he asks if I’ll fix it. Actually, he asked if I wanted to buy it! I had to think about that one…and I told him to leave it. That night, I walked over to my shelves and I was staring at a box of all the bits and pieces from the bike. I decided I had to rebuild this bike. All of Sugar Bear’s advice came rolling back in. I was going to buy this bike. I was inspired to build a bike again…by myself, and do it like Sugar Bear did. Not only that, I was going to enter it in Artistry & Iron again, only one year later.”
Finally, he takes the Camel and lights it. I notice his full-face helmet on the desk. I can feel he’s watching me and waiting for my next question when my eyes look down at the Chopper Dave pegs, which aptly read, “Cheat” and “Death.” Then I glance at the saddle with “Patience” tooled in handsomely by Duane Ballard. We lock eyes again when he raises his brow and exhales smoke into his shop. Staring at me with a HUGE smile, he says…
“I know, right?”