whitetrashWell first of all I didn’t lose it, It was taken…
Tattooed White Trash – Mike Halloran
1) Care to take a moment and tell everyone a little about who you are and what you do?
I’m Mike, Mike Halloran to be exact.
I have always loved mechanical things and I’ve always liked working with my hands. I started out with woodworking as a kid and then moved into metal work as I got older. Some people have told me I have an eye for design. I don’t know about that but I can say that I have always had an idea in my head what something should look like. So if I couldn’t find something the way I wanted it I would either modify it or build it from scratch. I guess my philosophy from a young age was “built not bought”.
2) What got you into motorcycles?
Evel Knievel of course. Like every other red blooded American boy of the time period I wanted to be Evel Knievel. I remember riding my bicycle around, jumping off of ramps and trying to do wheelies and all the crazy shit that he did. My mother wouldn’t let me have a mini bike, motorcycle or a go kart “they’re too dangerous” she would say. Nothing dangerous about building a gravity racer out of wood and carriage wheel with no brakes right mom?
I would either modify it or build it from scratch. I guess my philosophy from a young age was “built not bought”.
3) What was your first bike?
My first street bike was a 1986 Kawasaki 454 LTD that I bought brand new. I rode on a learners permit for about 20 years. That was the bike I had my first accident on as well.
Evel Knievel of course. Like every other red blooded American boy of the time period I wanted to be Evel Knievel.
4) How did you get started with metal engraving and what were some influences to get you where you are?
I saw an article once in a woodworking magazine that talked about making etched brass builder plates that you could attached to finished woodworking projects and I thought that was cool. The idea was in my head for a long time. Years later a friend asked me to make a wooden plaque for a display piece he wanted to make. He was going to have an engraved plate made that said “Tattoo Remover”. I told him to hold off on the plate, that I wanted to try something. That’s how it started. I did find some valuable information on the internet as I was stumbling through the beginning stages of learning how to do this and I’m still learning as I go.
5) Is TWT a one man show or do you have help?
For the most part it’s a one man show. On big jobs my wife Darlene will lend a hand, there have been a few big jobs that I wouldn’t have been able to get done if it wasn’t for her help. I do get help from my friend from time to time. Mostly design ideas. Some of my friends have given me really great design ideas.
6) What are some of the tools you use to crank out such cool products?
Just your normal metal working tools. A lathe, a small milling machine, a band saw, and your regular hand tools.
7) I know you were in a motorcycle accident a few years ago that resulted in the loss of your leg. Care to talk about how that happened and how it has affected your life?
Well first of all I didn’t lose it. It was taken. Just a little amputee humor there. I was on the R4YL run and we were headed from McArthur Ohio to Slade Kentucky. We were just outside Ironton Ohio on Route 93. A lady in a minivan pulled out in front of me. I tried to go around her but she clipped me and sent me off the road and I hit the end of the guardrail and then slid into a tree head first. The guardrail fucked up my right lower leg pretty good. It took a big piece of meat out of my calf and broke both the tibia and fibula and a bunch of the bones in my foot. They airlifted me to a nearby trauma center. The doctors tried to save my leg but in the end they cut it off. Long story short I was in the hospital for 10 weeks and then I came home and slowly got back to almost a 100%.
8) Most people would have gave up riding after an accident like that but you just hopped right back in the saddle. Did you have to change anything about your bike or how you ride?
Well riding is part of who I am. So for me there was never a question about riding again. Luckily my wife has supported my choice 100 %. I haven’t been back on two wheel yet but it’s on my short to do list. For now I have a sweet ass trike I’m riding. The first time back in the saddle I was so happy, and excited that if I was a pussy I would have cried tears of joy. Ok I am and I did. The trike is a “homemade jobby” built several years ago by my good friend Rich Hutchinson, Hutch to most people. One day Hutch decided he wanted to build a trike. So he found an ’81 Honda CB 900 and built the rear section and installed the rear end from a Suzuki Samurai. The CB 900 is shaft drive so a tiny little driveshaft connect the gearbox to the rear. Did I mention the CB 900 is a 10 speed? Well it is, 1 thru 5 with a secondary high/low gear set. The only thing I had to change was the brakes. The rear brakes were a normal foot pedal setup and the front brake was a normal hand level. The front brake didn’t really do much braking to begin with so I changed the rear brakes to operate via the brake lever on the handlebars. The rear end has disc brakes so there is plenty of braking power.
9) We consider The Cantina somewhat of an internet dive bar. Do you have a favorite dive bar story that you would want to share?
Well I have a bunch of them but this one time, we had a little get together and it was about five month after I got out of the hospital after my accident. I had been walking with a walker and had just switched to a cane. I was doing pretty good but still figuring out the whole walking with a peg leg thing. So I got a little drunk and then my friend Soup decided it was a good idea to give the one leg guy some moonshine. Well a lot of moonshine actually. So now I have to piss. So some of the guys were like Mike do you need a hand getting to the bathroom. “nope I got it.” So in the bathroom I go. Next thing I know I lose my balance and down I go. I broke the toilet tank with my head and now there is water all over the floor and the water line to the tank it still running. So when they came busting in I’m on the floor laying in water trying to turn the water valve off laughing like a fool. We still get a chuckle out of that one.
I broke the toilet tank with my head…..
10) You have been around the bike world for a while now, how do you think it has changed for the good or bad in recent years?
Things are always changing and at the same time they seem to stay the same. I know, I know you’re thinking oh isn’t he a philosopher. What I mean is, we are all looking for the next big thing. In the 80’s & 90’s Street Pro Bikes were the rage. The whole super wide rear tire thing. Now skinny seems to be the new thing. But it really isn’t, it’s just coming back around. I think for me right now things are to my liking. Form with function, there are a lot of talented builders doing cool stuff right now, I there always has been. But I’m sure that will be something “new and exciting” and the traditional chopper will be pushedout of the spotlight. As they say, “history repeats itself”.
11) Any parting words? Shout outs? Advice?
First I would like to say thanks to the MotoCantina for letting me ramble on for a bit. Big shout to all the people who have helped me along the way, both with my etching and my recovering from my accident. I could not have got to this point without you, but especially my wife Darlene, my three sons, and the Go Fast Crew. As far as advice. Don’t quit, keep moving. Adapt and Overcome.
Well riding is part of who I am. So for me there was never a question about riding again.