Q & A with Taryn Nycek

I "met" Taryn a couple of weeks ago through the wonders of social media. Recognizing her crystal-clear passion for old bikes, I reached out to her. I immediately realized what a great move that was, and we've had some great conversations about vintage bikes, the culture, and sort of talking like old friends. What happened? Community happened. She readily agreed to a literary interview, which I present to you all below. Get to know a little about someone you probably should've already known.   

What are a few things about you that you always want people to know? The basics, so to speak.

“I always want people to know that I am going to be a pain in the ass, but that I am also going to be the most non-judgmental, easy-going person they’ll probably ever meet. Over the years I have found that I can compare myself more and more to a vintage motorcycle. Like, I’ll look like fun, maybe even be reliable and we’ll share some good times – but, along the way I’m going to give you hell here and there and you’ll probably have to fix me because that’s just how I was built.”

Motorcycles are an obvious passion of yours; what others do you have and balance?

"Love those two wheel buggers, for sure. Right now I have ten motorcycles in my collection. This is the least I have had hanging around. It’s been much worse, per say. This past winter I actually had to do a third addition to my barn for storage purposes. Between three vintage cars and currently ten motorcycles – I have my hands pretty full considering I deem this all to be just a hobby. Over the years I have had a lot of Honda CBs come and go; plenty of old two strokes in and out of the garage – but, the ones that always stick around are the weird rides that are finicky and, at least what I consider, rare.
Here’s what I have in the collection to date:
- 1964 Yamaha YD3 250cc “Rat Bobber”
- 1965 Moto Guzzi Stornello 125cc
- 1965 Honda Dream 305 CA77
- 1966 Suzuki S32-II Olympian 150cc
- 1966 Ducati Scrambler 250cc (early narrow-case racer)
- 1968 Yamaha YCS1 180cc
- 1969 Honda CB175
- 1970 Harley Aermacchi SS350
- 1973 Jawa Californian 250cc
- 1976 Triumph Bonneville 750 T140V
As far as the vintage cars go, I have:
- 1931 Ford Model A
- 1954 Kaiser Special
- 1959 Ford Thunderbird

How would you describe your style of work? Restoration? Resto-mod? Full out custom one-offs?

“Not sure I really have a particular style. A lot of what I do is just picking up old bikes from people who are looking to junk these beautiful relics. When I started this hobby I was outside day/night tinkering away mechanically and doing a whole hell of a lot cosmetically too – all for what? Myself I guess. It’s not like I had a customer waiting or a certain direction to go in with the bike(s). I just wanted the fucker to run half decent at best and to look ok while doing so. After my third or so bike, I took less interest in making sure the motorcycle was spotless visually and spent more time making sure it would get me further than 25 miles from home. I’d say 90% of my parts are fabricated or repurposed from a matching motorcycle. So I guess if I had to choose….I’d say maybe I’m more restoration?"

What would you say to someone who loves the look and idea of owning a vintage motorcycle, but is concerned about reliability?

“I love this question. I’m always talking to people about this whether they’re paying attention or not or whether they’re even interested in motorcycles. Like I said, I do sell some vintage motorcycles now and then and when I do I make damn sure the buyer understands the maintenance that is constantly required. I really don’t believe there is such a thing as a reliable vintage motorcycle. The older things get the more quirks there are that pop up and that should be a no-brainer. Ya know, hypothetically speaking *wink wink* - don’t look at a moderately restored 1974 Honda Scrambler CL360 and ask me if it is going to safely get you to and from work every day. I’m not a fortune cookie over here, but I’m pretty confident in saying it certainly will not be as reliable as something manufactured say within the last ten
to fifteen years. In my own opinion, if your primary concern is reliability – steer clear of buying a vintage motorcycle.”

How did this all come to be for you?

“My Dad is a civil engineer. He’s a private contractor, but for the last forty years has had a steady job with a well-known company here in the Northeast. He bought our 31’ Ford Model A when he was 17 years-old back in 1972 and repaired it himself and made it his local driver. When I came along in 1990 – there was still plenty of heavy equipment around the property as well as dozens of vintage cars, a single motorcycle, hand-built golf carts and old guitars everywhere. To this day I remember riding with him in that old Ford to get lottery tickets at the nearby convenience store, visiting at my Grandpa’s house and playing on the old Mack truck, climbing on bulldozers and taking golf-carts out unsupervised when I was three years-old. I guess it was just in my blood that I would end up finding, repairing and collecting my
own cars and motorcycles twenty five years later.”

If you could change one thing about the vintage motorcycle scene, what would it be?

“I want to see more camaraderie among the vintage community. I love talking to anyone who has an old bike, if you’re parked with a vintage ride – I’m gonna be that person that stands and waits for you to come back so I can tell you how awesome it is. I want to see more people out there proudly sharing their vintage rides and telling the stories behind them and taking a genuine interest in the next girl or guy’s bike.”

What are your plans for the future?

“To ride and own every motorcycle in the world. Nah, I don’t know. I’m twenty-seven years old and I have no fucking idea what I want to do. I work at a glassblowing studio, I work on motorcycles and I sell weird original art. I’m a difficult one to tie down to a typical 9-5 job. I’m not blaming that on lack of a college degree, I blame that on the fact that I have too many interests and no time to sit behind a desk and push papers, or talk on a phone about pushing papers. I see it this way: I could die tomorrow – I could die next week, or I could die 70 years from now. My plans are to be happy with what I’m doing in the moment. Maybe I’ll write a book. Maybe I’ll just go be in a TV show. I don’t know. I’m really up for anything.”

Rainbow, unicorn or Rambo?

"Rambo. Who doesn’t love Stallone.”

What bike do you consider your daily-rider?

“My 1976 Triumph Bonneville 750 T140V. I wouldn’t call it daily, but when I want to take it out it moves pretty fucking well. Don’t for a second think I leave the house on it without a backpack full of tools though….”

What's the most you've ever spent on a pair of jeans?

“I have this awesome go-to shop that has had my favorite pair of black jeans in stock for like the last seven years. It’s always some kind of deal too – like, buy one and get another 50% off. They’re all I wear. If it wasn’t for these black jeans I would never be wearing pants.”

Coke or Pepsi?

“Coke. But, can I toss some Jack Daniel’s in there?”

Ever been in love?

“Absolutely. If anyone harmed or stole my 1966 Ducati Scrambler 250 I’d go full blown Rambo. Now that’s love. Oh, I also have loved every golden retriever I have owned…..such personalities on that breed. As far as humans go – no, people will come and go, but a 66’ Ducati and a golden retriever will never leave your side or piss you to the point of divorce. I have never heard of someone filing for divorce from their motorcycle or pet.”

What's your most beloved, favorite tool?

“Socket wrench. Every problem I have had with a motorcycle has always lead back to a shitty spark plug. I literally do not leave home without some new NGKs and the socket wrench.”

I'll publicly thank Taryn here, and you can thank her via her Instagram page: @nycekt where she does a much better job of posting content than I do. Reach out and take her advice: be the camaraderie and live your vintage.

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