Strike Ten EntertainmentFriday, August 08 2008
OCC creates a bowling-themed bike for Strike Ten Entertainment and the guys get into the spirit of the build with a trip to the lanes.
OCC has been commissioned to build a bike for Strike Ten Entertainment, "The Marketing Arm of the Bowling Industry" and a subsidiary of the Bowling Proprietors' Association of America (BPAA). Mike Luongo, the local Strike Ten representative and owner of Mike's Pro Shop in Middletown, NY has brought some balls by to custom fit them for the OCC crew. Some of the balls have already been personalized with pictures of the Teutuls on them. Now Mike plans to teach Mikey how to measure hands so he can later help drill the ball for a each OCC bowler.
Paul Senior is impressed that his picture is on his ball. Mikey is more appalled. He thinks his picture is pretty ugly--or maybe he just doesn't want to see his head rolling towards the pins. He agrees to trade balls with Paulie.
The next day Jason gets to work designing the bike and, as he often does, he starts with some pencil sketches to get ideas. He likes the BPAA logo of a ball with streaks after it and it soon becomes the basis for the gas tank. With bowling pin spoke wheels and wooden lane-style fenders, the bike's bowling theme is shaping up.
The design is quickly approved and Paulie, Rick and Lee get to work. The tank is the first priority--it's just a big bowling ball with swoops coming off it--and Jim Quinn brings in two large metal balls to serve as the basis for the tank. They talk it over and JQ agrees to WaterJet one of the "swoops" so that Rick can see how it's working. They also decide to go with the smaller of the balls JQ has brought in; the 10 inch diameter over the 12 inch.
Mikey comes in while they're working to deliver some bowling shirts, but Lee and shop foreman Mike Amarotti are too busy putting the tank together so Paulie can see how it looks. Once they have it on though, it's obvious they need the larger ball and they drill it out and get the swoops ready to mount.
Mikey meanwhile heads out to Middletown Lanes pro shop to learn how to drill the bowling balls for the OCC team. The process is much more complex than Mikey expected, "I thought we'd just drill three holes in each ball." Though he expected the size of the drill bits to vary, he didn't expect the angle of the ball, depth of hole, materials and other issues. For highly non-technical Mikey, this is probably distressing, but Mike Luongo thinks he catches on quick, "looks like he has a future in ball-drilling."
Mikey has fun preparing his Dad's ball, adding his name as "Baul" Senior and coloring the letters pink. "I hope he takes the blame for that," Mike says nervously, "I don't want in the middle of that one." Mikey feels like he's learned a lot about ball drilling and is glad the balls should be ready for an OCC bowling night later in the week.
Rick continues to work on the tank and Paulie makes a "tunnel" to cover the backbone and provide a frame for Rick to hang the swoops on. Paulie seems to have a lot of trouble fabricating the simple tunnel. At one point it slips on the machine saw and he has to throw the now jagged piece of scrap out. But eventually it's together and ready for Rick to use. Rick gets to work shaping the basic swoop form, curving the two sides carefully for a streamlined look. He gets done, only to realize he's made two of the same side. He has to hammer one flat and start over, though that only takes a little while to fix. He laughs at his own mistake, "Oh well, that's how we learn."
Once the sides are on, Rick finds he has a lot more detail to work on than he'd anticipated. He hasn't done a design quite like this before, but he likes the challenge of doing something new.
While the build goes on, Senior invites Mikey up to the farm to help with an animal he's having trouble with. He tries to get Mikey to put a helmet on, but as Mikey is noted for having an over-sized head, it doesn't fit. Senior gets him nervous by cautioning him about not spooking his "bull," which is "starting to get used to him" and may or not be friendly. Senior is carrying a gun in case the bull gets out of hand, and tells Mikey not to get near the electric fence (which is the only way out). He has Mikey hold the gun while he shakes a red-plaid shirt at the animal, bullfighter style. Mikey is starting to get scared, but his dad laughs at him, letting the cat out of the bag. Not only is the "bull" not dangerous, it's a cow. "With horns?" Mikey is confused, but admits its the "best" his father has gotten him since he was a child.
Jim Quinn machines the bowling pin shaped struts for the back wheels and checks them for fit. They look cool, but he notes they are very heavy and will need bolted on tight. While he's checking them out, Mikey arrives with a bright yellow bowling ball complete with smiley face, and the whole team, especially Lee and Rick, urges him to throw it. "We haven't broken anything here yet," Rick reminds him. Mikey decides to throw it at the wall above the lifts and does some serious damage to the wall-- several times. And the ball finally creates a big enough hole that it sticks.
The fun over for now, Paulie gets to work on the handle bars. He's had to wait till Rick had the tank in place to ensure that he'd clear the tank properly. He discusses angles and options with Rick, then starts bending the stock. He isn't watching carefully as he bends the metal, and it springs out of the press, hitting him in the face. "It didn't hurt really. It just scared the hell out of me." This whole build has been full of little mistakes like this.
The bike is done and ready to paint and the OCC crew head out for a night at Lucky Strike Bowl for a night of bowling. Professional bowler Danny Wiseman is there to give the OCC guys some tips on their game. Mikey has everyone divide up into teams based on shirt color. White shirts are his team, blue shirts are on Senior's team. Mikey tells everyone to "grab their balls" and start bowling!
It's a close game, but Mikey's team edges into the lead to win, 481 to 420. Senior's team immediately calls for a rematch, only to lose again, 576 to 521.
The frame is back, and Paulie and Rick begin to assemble the bike as far as they can without the tins, which are still at Nub's. The bike is to be unveiled at the International Bowl Expo 2008 in Orlando in just a couple days, so they need to get it done as fast as they can so it'll be ready to load into the truck for transport.
The next day they are still waiting on tins. There is still work to do on the brake lines, rear wheel and electrical system. Finally the tins arrive, just barely in time to get it all assembled. The wood-grain bowling lane motif on the fenders, coupled with the bowling ball gas take, really make the design come alive.
They take a brief pause though to listen to Mikey. He wiped out his scooter the day before and is pretty banged up. Thankfully his is just bruised and scratched and can still get around.
While he's talking, Rick puts the finishing touches on the bike and it's ready to ride. Time is so crucial, that Paulie drives the bike straight off the lift and into the trailer for transport to FL