I fell in love with the confidence and freedom that riding my own bike can bring.
Kim’s hip custom Honda motorcycle—named “Wild Thing”—has a way of bringing out a feeling of nostalgia in people while she is out and about. When baby boomers catch a glimpse of her hippie-style wheels they frequently approach her, wanting to share their stories of being at Woodstock or reminisce about the flower power days.
Kim also has a blast with kids who are attracted to the brightly colored pictures that adorn her motorcycle. She is always accommodating by letting them sit on her hippie bike for a spell.
I always get lots of smiles, giggles and compliments on WILD THING.
Before “Wild Thing” was created
Kim Sweet was content to ride pillion on the back of her husband’s 2003 Honda VTX 1300S motorcycle for many years until the day Kim’s mother-in-law told her a story about how she went from passenger to rider. The story goes like this:
The year was 1985 and we were travelling across the USA on our motorcycle volunteering at National Parks. Suddenly my husband fell ill and we were stranded until a kind stranger helped us out. After we returned home I learned to ride and began riding my own.
Not long after hearing her mother-in-law’s story Kim was compelled to take a safety course. At the time Kim was convinced she only took the course in case she and her husband Jace would ever have a similar emergency. So she continued to happily ride pillion until August of that year when Jace had a motorcycle accident on his way home from work.
Thankfully he was able to walk away and only got a bit of road rash, along with sporting a huge bruise across his chest. But that unfortunate event was to be the catalyst that would finally lead Kim into riding her own.
Kim’s custom Honda motorcycle: It’s is all in a name
A month after the accident Jace replaced his VTX 1300 and bought a 2003 Honda VTX 1800S. This gave Kim the perfect opportunity to claim the totaled motorcycle as her own by buying it back from the insurance company.
Kim insists that the real motorcycle customization began with her bike’s name.
From the moment she heard the song “Wild Thing” by the Troggs she knew she had found the perfect name, and in naming her bike it marked the beginning of transforming the wreck into her very own funky ride.
From wrecked to “Wild Thing” hippie bike
The floorboards and Paladin highway bars were salvaged from the wreck and just the dented tank was replaced along with some of the chrome.
The Vance and Hines exhaust was tweaked to get just the right sound, and a K&N breather was added to her customized Honda motorcycle to ensure proper airflow. A Power Commander also provided the proper tuning.
Kim then began to think about what base color would give her custom Honda a classic retro look as ideas of a 1960 theme began to take shape in her mind. She wanted a color that would also stand out and had originally considered a neon orange.
However, when she noticed that a lot of other bikes were sporting that color, it just wouldn’t do for this one-of-a-kind hippie chick.
It wasn’t long before she happened to drive by a fire station and the brightly colored greenish yellow trucks sitting outside caught her eye. She immediately knew that the highly visible color would be ideal to adorn her “Wild Thing” custom motorcycle.
Kim enlisted Derby Auto in Sidney, Michigan to do the base coat on Wild Thing’s tank and fenders. Later she had him finish it with a clear coat after the custom motorcycle paint design was completed.
Hippie-style custom motorcycle graphics
Kim wanted to add an eclectic collage of her favorite images and include symbols that represented the 60’s and early 70’s into the design. Kim’s sister-in-law Dusty, who is a graphic artist in Tennessee, came for a visit over Christmas and over the next two weeks they planned out the groovy hippie design together on “Wild Thing.”
Kim’s lucky motorcycle jacket
Kim’s favorite piece of riding gear is her leather jacket, although she has an unusual name for it, referring to it as her “Linus Blanket.” In a way, a leather jacket could be viewed as a security blanket. Kim also considers it somewhat like a good luck charm.
Kim claims that it was because of her “Linus Blanket” that she landed a job as a Certified Nurse’s Aide. It might have also helped that the Director of Nursing who interviewed her just happened to be a biker too.
There is still one more accessory that Kim would like to add to “Wild Thing.” She hopes to eventually get a trailer in a matching hippie paint job so that she can take her Doberman Charlie on rides. Having a trailer might also give her the incentive to cross off one of her bucket list items of travelling through the majestic Redwoods in the Western USA.
Lady Biker Pin Ups and Peace
Kim was honored to be asked to participate in the First All Women Rider Peace Sign Event that was held in Sparta Michigan in June, 2015.
The weekend camping event was put on by Lady Fred. Kim was flattered when Lady Fred asked her and her “Wild Thing” custom Honda motorcycle to be in the center of the peace sign.
October of 2013 Kim posed for the Stanton American Legion 2014 Calendar. She thanks her family’s sawmill, Weber Brother Sawmill of Beal City, MI for sponsoring her.
October of 2014 Kim and her daughter were featured in the month of May for the American Legion Post in Stanton, MI 2015 calendar.
More from Kim
To see the full photo documentation of Kim’s “Wild Thing” custom Honda motorcycle in the making check out her FB photo album.
Kim recommends visiting Lady Fred on Facebook where you can find lots of information geared toward women riders.
Do you have a bling’d out bike? Are you fashionably styling while you ride? Then check out How to get featured as a Biker Girl Bling’n It.