The ups and downs of owning a classic motorcycle
The cast of “CHiPs” at the 2012 reunion, along with Bob (top right) and his son Mickey (on bike).
Rider: Bob Beauvais, Grapevine, Texas
Occupation: Professional sports photographer
Rides: 1980 Kawasaki KZ1000 C3 Police Special
Bob’s story: “Growing up in the Seventies and Eighties, my favorite show on TV was ‘CHiPs.’ It wasn’t the cool accidents or Ponch and Jon that made the show for me — it was those awesome Kawasaki police bikes (though Officer Sindy Cahill, aka Brianne Leary, wasn’t hard to look at, either).
“I would ride around on my bicycle humming the theme song pretending to be a CHP motor officer. I always dreamed of owning a Kawasaki police bike.
“Well, in 1990 I finally got my chance. At a local Chevrolet dealer in Hamden, Conn., I found an ex-Massachusetts State Police Kawasaki. It was in awful condition, but I was young and stupid. I figured, how hard could it be to get it running right again?
“It turned out to be real hard. Not being a mechanic, I really had no idea what I was doing and every mechanic I took it to didn’t, either. For the next 20 years or so I had various mechanics and shops work on the bike. Slowly it came together. I had it restored to a California Highway Patrol (CHP) bike so it would look just like the one from ‘CHiPs.’ I even went as far as having a car stereo installed in the radio box so I can blast the ‘CHiPs’ theme as I ride down the highway. (I know it’s corny, but it is fun to see the looks I get.)
“This past September the ‘CHiPs’ cast had their first ever reunion. Being a die-hard fan, I offered up my services as the official photographer and also offered to trailer my bike from Texas to L.A. for the event. Talk about a dream come true!
“I got to meet the entire cast and have Larry Wilcox, aka Jon Baker, sit on my bike. It was a moment I will never forget and yes, the theme song was playing in my head the entire time.
“I’ve attached a photo of my bike at the ‘CHiPs’ reunion. Larry Wilcox is sitting on the bike along with my son Mickey. I’m in the back right-hand corner with a s#*t-eating grin on my face. I LOVE YOUR MAGAZINE! Keep up the great work.”