It’s pretty hard to miss Megan Margeson at our events! She usually rolls in with her mom, both of them on insanely cool choppers. She has even won a couple of awards for her bike at our events over the years. Megan comes from a true motorcycle family and we got to catch up with her to hear more about her 1964 Harley-Davidson Panhead Chopper and one of the best moto trips of her life. Read on to hear more.
Megan Margeson @MeganMargeson
What you do for a living?
Middle School Science Teacher
How long have you been riding motorcycles and how did you get started?
I got my first dirt bike when I was 7, rode on the back of my dad's Harley for the first time when I was 8, got my motorcycle license when I was 18, and finished building my bike when I was 23.
Why do you ride motorcycles / What do you get out of riding motorcycles?
Motorcycles have always been something that my family did together. What started as family trips to the desert to go dirt bike riding (which still happens) has grown into 5,000 mile trips on our choppers. I think family is what makes motorcycles so important to me. While the feeling of riding is, of course, what keeps me getting on the bike, being able to share in these adventures with my family makes it even more special.
Run us through the list of bikes you have had in your past / currently own:
Past- Honda 70, Kawasaki KX 65, Kawasaki KX 85, Honda CRF 250R Current- 1964 Harley Davidson Panhead Chopper, 2002 Suzuki RM125, and a mini chopper
What first attracted you to Harley-Davidson?
I was born into a Harley family. My dad got his 1949 Pan Shovel when I was 8, which was originally owned by my late uncle. Once I started riding on the back, I was immediately hooked. Shortly after, my mom purchased a Harley Davidson Heritage Classic. After riding that for a few years, she decided she wanted a chopper like my Dad's, so they started building her Shovelhead. Growing up, it was never a question as to 'if' I would ride but just a matter of 'when'. When I turned 18, I signed up for a motorcycle safety course and got my license. Once I started riding, my Dad said we could start building a chopper for me! About 6.5 years of building later, my chopper was complete!
How did you know it was the bike for you?
I can't think of anything more special than having a bike that my dad built for me. The amount of love, sweat, and tears that went into this bike make it my most prized possession. We built it from the ground up, with me in mind every step of the way. I am more on the petite side and we built it to fit me perfectly. Since we built it, I was able to design every aspect of the bike: from the seat, to the sissy bar, to the paint, etc.
Tell us what it is like to ride your particular bike:
I have ridden other types of bikes, but nothing has come close to my bike. Firstly, I am just very comfortable on my bike because it was built for me. Being comfortable is so important! Secondly, the feeling of a springer front end is my favorite! I just love hitting a bump in the road and feeling that bounce of the springer as I continue down the highway. It is a hardtail, so I am always sure to remember my kidney belt. While a bump in the road every now and then can be fun, going down the 405 freeway with no suspension can be quite painful.
What made you choose your model over the other H-D models?
In all honesty, when we started building my bike, I wasn't going to be picky. I was just happy to be building a bike! My parents actually got the motor by trading their friend their old 1954 Chevy Truck for my panhead motor. I feel like when I say that, people assume I'm really spoiled (which... I guess I am, in a way). My Dad always said his goal was to build me a bike. He said he didn't have a lot to leave me with, but a bike was something he could do. Because money doesn't grow on trees at my house, it took us about 6.5 years to build my bike. I'm not complaining by any means. If anything, it made me appreciate it that much more.
Any modifications? Tell us about them if so:
Since we built it, pretty much everything can be considered a modification. I designed the king and queen style seat with Danny Grey, even had memory foam and gel put into it... worth every penny! The mustang tank, custom fender, and wishbone frame were painted by Chris Morrison, Richard LaPorte, and Dennis Babin. I wanted the bike to be period correct, so I tried to make design choices to reflect that, as well as South Bay Chopper history. The 13' over Fat's springer front end, "South Bay Swoop" style sissy bar, stainless steel auxiliary gas tank, and Dick Allen two-into-one exhaust are all elements of "old-school South Bay" choppers.
What has been you favorite adventure you have taken on your bike?
Last Summer, my parents and I took a 5,000 mile trip to Canada. We went up the coast from Torrance, CA up into Canada, down through Idaho, stopped by Sturgis, went all the way down to New Mexico, and back up to California. We had a few bike issues along the way, which just adds to the adventure. Riding old bikes means that break downs are inevitable. We come as prepared as possible and do our best to keep up on maintenance, but things shake loose and pieces wear down. Breaking down multiple times just reminded me how wonderful the Harley Davidson community truly is. Three different strangers invited us into their homes to work on the bikes. A tow truck driver, who happens to be Harley rider, gave us a ridiculous deal on the tow. One man in Montana let my dad borrow his bike while my dad's was taken apart. Another man let us borrow one of his tools and just asked that we mail it back to him once we get home. Phil and Lydia of Cycle Works in Lynwood, CA overnighted us a Shovelhead head to borrow so that we could make it home! And countless riders stopped on the side of the road to make sure we were okay. When I begin to lose faith in humanity, the motorcycle community is there to remind me that good people still exist!
Do you have any fun road trips planned?
This coming Summer, my parents and I will be riding up to Alaska and across through Canada!
Tell us about your experience at Babes Ride Out? (if you have not attended, tell us what you are looking forward to the most):
When people ask me what Babes Ride Out is like, I find it so difficult to put the experience into words. It is the most liberating experience. It is the one place in the whole world that I feel I can go and not a single soul is judging me. We ride together during the day, and dance like no one is watching by night. Every woman there is so, incredibly supportive and we are all there because we have a mutual love that we can connect with: motorcycles. I finished building my bike the night before Babes Ride Out 2017. It was my goal to be able to take its maiden voyage to Joshua Tree for the event and put it in the Real Deal Bike Show. Not only did I make it there with no issues, I took home Best Vintage Bike and People's Choice! Could not have picked a better place to take our first ride together. Babes Ride Out is a safe place where I can sit at a random table and eat dinner with women I have never met and by the end of the meal, feel as if I had known them forever. When I'm out in public and see a woman in a Babes Ride Out hat, I always run up and introduce myself. Even though we have never met, the experience of BRO unites us. Babes Ride Out isn't just a campout, its a community.
Any advice for ladies who want to get started on two wheels?
TAKE A SAFETY COURSE!! Since I had been riding dirt bikes my whole life, I didn't see the need in taking a riding course. However, since I was under 21, the state of California required I did and I am so thankful for that! To this day, I think back to techniques I learned in the course while I am out riding. It not only strengthened my riding abilities but taught me what to do in unsafe situations.