Harley Bagger: Sic Semper Tyrannis

Street Glidin’ for freedom on the streets of Virginia

harley custom bagger

Sic Semper Tyrannis

Sic Semper Tyrannis. That’s latin for “Thus Always to Tyrants.” It’s Virginia’s state motto and, in a nutshell, symbolizes victory over tyranny, good triumphing over evil, and “Go U-S-A!” (For a visual, search for “Homer Simpson USA” on YouTube, and you’ll get the picture.)

Words: Nick Schultz Photos: John Jackson

harley custom bagger

Sic Semper Tyrannis

The state’s favorite sons have freed us from the tyranny of imperial British rule (George Washington) and the cruelty of the ’N Sync version of Justin Timberlake (Timbaland), so why not turn to a couple more of its residents to lead us to freedom?

Words: Nick Schultz Photos: John Jackson

harley custom bagger

Sic Semper Tyrannis

Virginia’s the fitting home to this good old custom Street Glide—an American machine designed and built to free its rider from the tyranny of dull, malevolent stasis and thrust him or her into the swift liberty of the fast lane.

Words: Nick Schultz Photos: John Jackson

harley custom bagger

Sic Semper Tyrannis

When Gary Wiseman and Melvin Carter Jr. of Fredericksburg, Virginia, joined forces in the name of bagger freedom, all of their prior experience was with choppers.

Words: Nick Schultz Photos: John Jackson

harley custom bagger

Sic Semper Tyrannis

Gary had always owned choppers. Melvin’s shop, C&C Customs, built only choppers.

Words: Nick Schultz Photos: John Jackson

harley custom bagger

Sic Semper Tyrannis

But just as seasons change, so too do trends in the bike customization world.

Words: Nick Schultz Photos: John Jackson

harley custom bagger

Sic Semper Tyrannis

The two knew it was only a matter of time before the chopper thug life would give way to more practical, yet no less customized, means. Sic semper tyrannis, we suppose.

Words: Nick Schultz Photos: John Jackson

harley custom bagger

Sic Semper Tyrannis

It began when Gary, owner of Platinum Auto World used cars, was searching for new inventory online and spotted a 2006 Street Glide in average-to-poor condition, and he seized the opportunity.

Words: Nick Schultz Photos: John Jackson

Sic Semper Tyrannis

That’s latin for “Thus Always to Tyrants.” It’s Virginia’s state motto and, in a nutshell, symbolizes victory over tyranny, good triumphing over evil, and “Go U-S-A!” (For a visual, search for “Homer Simpson USA” on YouTube, and you’ll get the picture.) The state’s favorite sons have freed us from the tyranny of imperial British rule (George Washington) and the cruelty of the ’N Sync version of Justin Timberlake (Timbaland), so why not turn to a couple more of its residents to lead us to freedom? Virginia’s the fitting home to this good old custom Street Glide—an American machine designed and built to free its rider from the tyranny of dull, malevolent stasis and thrust him or her into the swift liberty of the fast lane.

When Gary Wiseman and Melvin Carter Jr. of Fredericksburg, Virginia, joined forces in the name of bagger freedom, all of their prior experience was with choppers. Gary had always owned choppers. Melvin’s shop, C&C Customs, built only choppers. But just as seasons change, so too do trends in the bike customization world. The two knew it was only a matter of time before the chopper thug life would give way to more practical, yet no less customized, means. Sic semper tyrannis, we suppose. The results speak for themselves, but we’ll go ahead and say a few words anyway.

It began when Gary, owner of Platinum Auto World used cars, was searching for new inventory online and spotted a 2006 Street Glide in average-to-poor condition, and he seized the opportunity. His collaboration with Melvin came together like the Virginia creeper flora that circles the state’s seal. It’s fitting that painter Kevin Monteith’s tribal graphics that adorn the Glide intertwine like that Virginia creeper yet spike like barbed wire, separating the flashy, sexy candy red paint on the upper half from the cool, mysterious blue undertones sweeping the lower half. It’s symbolic of the yin-yang dynamic between their newly blossoming bagger style and their darker chopper roots—the two becoming one, adorned by a thorny crown of metal. But not everything that glitters is gold. Sometimes it’s chrome. If the paint job and graphics smack you upside the head, the 23-inch chrome All Star front wheel from Hardcore Product, HHI Rake Neck Kit, the digital gauges, the electric centerstand, and hidden wiring in the frame should knock you over. And while you’re down, have a look at the blingy Vance & Hines Big Radius exhaust, Performance Machine air cleaner, and Camtech saddlebags.

“The whole build was a fun experience from start to finish as Melvin and I were both new to the bagger scene,” Gary recalls. “It was a learning curve trying to figure out what would be cool and what wouldn’t. We have since built another bike, a Road Glide with a 26-inch wheel and air ride front and rear. Needless to say, we have learned a lot.”

Although the evils of the taxation-without-representation-era British Empire and “Bye Bye Bye” topping the charts (shudder) are mercifully now just specks in the rearview, we shouldn’t forget the debt we owe to Virginians for helping progress us past these dark times. And in accord, if you cross paths with Gary or Melvin, don’t forget to thank them for freeing this dandy Street Glide from the shackles of its former average-to-poor condition. Sic semper tyrannis, fellas.