Photo Shoot: Bonneville Blue

Sometimes a color tells a story.


The Sherwin-Williams automotive paint shop can get you pretty much any color you can imagine, which makes working on a color scheme harder than you had hoped.  I wanted something tough and cool, but elegant.  Something that would justify sanding off the perfectly good factory black paint.


This first-world problem was processing in the background of my brain CPU one evening while drinking IPAs and talking about legendary bikes, when the topic of “Big Sid” and Matthew Biberman’s epic Vincati came up.  Apart from its historical and mechanical achievement, the Vincati is one of the most strictly beautiful bikes I’ve ever seen.  Should I copy that color?


No, this isn’t about copying someone else’s color; it’s about finding my own statement.  Still, I loved the Bibermans’ story of father-son reconciliation through a mechanical adventure, something I wish I could have had with my own father.  As it happens, they talk about the color in their book, Big Sid’s Vincati (which you should get if you don’t already own.)


The color they selected is “Lynndale Blue,” which was named after the Lynndale Farms Raceway in Wisconsin, and which adorned the 1966-67 Corvette Stingray.  This struck me like an omen:  My parents, both sports car & racing enthusiasts in the 1950s & 60s, both owned corvettes, and even met one another through the local SCCA.  It’s likely they even went to races at Lynndale: they went to Sebring, Watkin’s Glen, and lots of other tracks.


The “stinger” on the ’67 Corvette hood was black, which inspired my diagonal matte black stripe on the tank.


I also added a “smoking rabbit” Mad River canoe emblem on the side panel, an echo of memories paddling the Grand River with the family as a kid.  I still love taking out my Mad River Explorer 16 when I’m not riding.  I think the bike would look great with a canoe trailer attached.  Have to figure that one out.


The bike has several other modifications.  Nothing visually radical — things replaced here, cut off there, holes drilled in baffles there, and so on.  It will continue to change, so this is just a portrait of how it happens to look right now.  It’s not and will never be a real custom build, but it is a kind of homage to the custom builders, and a nod to Mom and Dad and all the great things we can do outdoors.


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