International Female Ride Feature: Heather LaCour featured builder for The Greasy Dozen
Posted on May 05 2018
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Heather.
I consider myself lucky in my life thus far. I am a proud mother of two of the greatest kids in the world. I met my husband who is my best friend early in life and I/we enjoy growing and supporting each other both as a couple as well as independently.
I don’t know if I would call myself an adventurer, but I’ll try anything a least once. People and places entice me and each story or encounter I have had has shaped who I am today. I want to experience as much as I can and as often as I am able too. How else will I learn my life lessons?
I am forever awkward and I am ok with it. I whole heartedly believe in laughing often, even if it is at my own expense. That way when other people are laughing, I feel like they are laughing with me, not at me!
I have recently begun to live by practicing what I call “Throwing Pennies”; by putting myself out there and taking chances. Most of the time things work out but if for some reason they don’t, there has to be a bright side in there somewhere and I try my hardest to find it.
Where did you grow up? Where do you reside now?
When I was young, my mom and I moved around a lot, I’ve lived in New Jersey, Utah, Colorado and Michigan, but later ended up back in New Jersey for most of my childhood. I currently live in Easton, Pennsylvania. Northeast PA is a great place to live because it’s a pretty central location to so many great places like Philadelphia, New York city, the Catskills and the Jersey shore and a surprising number of great roads to ride.
What do you ride daily? What do you have sitting around?
I just started riding last spring on a 1972 Honda CL350 scrambler. After that bike started burning oil one night, I stole one of my husbands bikes (a 1979 Honda CX500 cafe racer style build) and have been riding that while we work to complete my second bike and first full bike build.
In all, we currently own my 1972 CL 350 that is waiting for an engine rebuild, a 1974 Honda XL 350 flat track bike, a 1978 Yamaha XS 650 chopper, a 1979 Yamaha XS 650 future project, the Honda CX 500 I’ve been riding, a 1981 Kawasaki KZ 440 future project and my 1981 KZ 440 that we are currently building
Were you into motorcycles at an early age? Is it in the family? Did you just happen to get caught in the cycle web? Let us know when you realized you were hooked!
About three years ago, my husband had taken me for a ride on his CX500 when he had first gotten the bike.
I loved all of the smells in the air, from the fresh cut grass to the pond we had just whizzed by, the quick temperature changes of sun to shade, the feel of the wind on my body and how it sounded in my helmet. I remember feeling his back to my chest, and having that cliche’d urge of wanting to let go and spread my arms out, playing out that classic Titanic scene you’re probably picturing in your head right now! The whole ride was invigorating and refreshing.
It wasn't until he had gotten his second bike that I started thinking about riding myself. Why wasn't I? Who or what was holding me back? Why shouldn’t I harness those feelings I had as a passenger and take them to the next level by riding my own? I found the only reason I wasn’t riding was because I didn't tell myself I could. So, with a “I can do anything” kind of attitude, I started studying for my permit and took the rider course. Not only did my husband support me, but he took me to a local parking lot and taught me everything he had learned so far about riding.
Do you own a business?
My husband and I run a clothing company called Deathbed Edition. It’s currently a very small company but in time, we would love to do what we can to grow the business and make it so much more.
Deathbed Edition is about celebrating the pursuit of living a life worth writing about. It’s inspired by motorcycle culture and the spirit of a rider that embraces adventure in all aspects of life.
We love working with people in the industry and connecting with riders. We have sponsored a few events and shows and love being a part of the motorcycle community.
We are looking forward to our relaunch in summer of 2018 once our product line is completed. So keep your eyes out for more details on what’s happening!
Whats your work life balance between Family/Friends, Motorcycles & your job?
I’m still trying to figure this part out. So if you have suggestions let me know!
I work hard to be present. I am fully committed to my family and anything that follows will fall where it does.
Any other hobbies besides motorcycle stuff?
If I am home and we have a free evening, I’m always down for a nice fire and some beers in the backyard. Otherwise we are always trying to take trips to upstate NY to explore and hike or we’ll take a drive to Philly for the day or we’ll hit NYC and explore the city. Of course, any free time I get to ride is always appreciated and taken full advantage of!
What do you think about while riding?
Is it silly to say that I just think about riding? I think of the road before me, the movement of the bike, and the best lines to take. Riding is so peaceful and grounding, and I love that with so much going on during every moment of life off the bike, all the noise around us daily, I can just tune it all out while riding and enjoy the ride.
Who are you inspired by?
I find this question very hard to answer, to narrow it down to one or even a few people is very difficult for me. I take inspiration from everyone I encounter as I believe there is a reason we have crossed paths. My greatest daily inspiration comes from my family. Particularly my children who are excited by the simplest of things in life.
My husband, who’s creativity, tenacity and drive continues to amaze me with what he can accomplish. And how even though we have had a life time together already, he still looks at me with fresh loving eyes, encouraging and supporting me with all I do.
I am globally inspired by all of the strong, independent women thriving out there today and working hard at making their dreams reality while they stay grounded and true to themselves. The women that uplift, support and influence others towards greatness.
Finding inspirational women has not been hard, they are everywhere, from the small business owners hustling their asses off like Jodi (of Spoke and Dagger), Leslie (of Breaking Hearts & Burning Rubber) and Alyson (of Exit 11 Gifts), to the restless adventurers out there in this crazy motorcycle scene like Catie Cook, Leticia Cline, Becky Goebel and so, so many others I follow and/or have befriended over the last few years ( I could never name them all!). And especially all the other moms I know (you know who you are) that are raising sassy little dare-devilish children that have not let their own dreams and independence fall to the wayside.
I am grateful and thankful to have some of these women in my life. And look forward` to one day crossing paths with many more that I have yet to meet.
Describe your favorite ride or longest ride or both!
One of my favorites was going to Babes Ride Out East Coast 2017. Before this ride, I have only taken longer journeys with groups or with at least one other rider, but somehow it happened that for this one I was on my own. I loved that I was on the road setting my own pace and would arrive at a destination with like minded women, seeing friends that came from farther away and inevitably meeting new ones as well.
Before leaving my husband Chris gave me a few “how-to lessons” for when the “this might happen with an old bike” instances would come up. At one point I had to pull over on a back road in the middle of nowhere because my bike kept wanting to stall out at stops and I had to adjust the carbs. I felt so empowered and independent that I could fix it on my own. Some guy on a bike pulled over to see if I needed help and it was so meaningful to me to be able to say, “Thanks for stopping, but I got it.” I fixed it and was back on my way in no time.
Then about 10 miles from the campground I was at a red light and a women with a new Triumph Bonneville rolled up next to me. We both flipped up our visors and you could tell by the cheek apples showing through the openings of our full faced helmets that we were both smiling ear to ear. She yells, “you going to Babes?” I yelled back “Yes!” The light turned green and we rode the rest of the way together. Once at the camp there were so many riders arriving at once that we got split up and I lost her, so I didn’t get to catch up with her again, but that whole ride was an exceptional way to begin my first Babes Ride Out experience.
This summer I want to take a shot on the flat track. Maybe just practice for a bit before actually racing to get comfortable with the bike, but definitely run a few laps to see what I can handle and have fun with it.
Another future Moto goal is to take a Himalayan Hero’s trip with my husband. I would love to experience the grand beauty of the Himalayan mountains. I want to breath that crisp clean air and push my limits in a whole new way. Some of those roads and bridges look sketchy as hell, but it would be a pretty epic adventure for sure, and I would love to give it a go!
What advice would you give to those thinking about getting a bike?
ABSOLUTELY DO IT!! There is nothing more empowering or exhilarating as being in control of such a raw machine. It seems intimidating at first, but most things worth doing are. It is amazing the amount of support in the moto community, especially in the women's moto community. Every women rider I have met has been supportive, uplifting and encouraging. So do it, get on that bike!
For those of you that don't know, Heather and her Husband Chris were picked to be featured bike builders for this years Greasy Dozen!!! We want to hear more about your build...
YEAR, MAKE, MODEL...or a list of year dates for major parts you gathered
1981 Kawasaki KZ440
What's your vision for this bike, whats the end goal?
I'm using the KZ440 as a donor for a hardtail chopper build.
I threw one of my so called pennies out there when I saw an instagram post from Old Bike Barn in early January about the Greasy Dozen Builders Collective. They were looking to sponsor 12 small, garage builders with stalled projects where life just got in the way. So I entered us because I felt we fit the criteria. Unfortunately we were not selected as one of the 12 builders. So of course I was bummed, but Chris and I still planned on building my bike anyhow.
The next day, Bear, the owner of Old Bike Barn and founder of the Greasy Dozen, had specially selected the Luck Number 13 builder and had announced it was Chris and I. Chris called me when I was at work and said to get off the sales floor and check Instagram. I’m not going to lie, I made an ass out of myself with my level of excitement when I read the announcement.
Chris and I got started right away, in the mean time we had a few unexpected events come along where we were put a bit behind schedule from our original plan, but we continue to push with a positive attitude and a lot of coffee. Now being so close to the deadline I feel we are in a good spot with the build and it will be ready to ride in time.
So the end result is to have a completed KZ440 chopper that Chris and I have built to ride to the Greasy Dozen Run in Ohio on May 18, 2018.
Did you do all the work on your own? List anyone who helped and give contact info if any companies were involved!
I’m building the bike with the help of my husband @chrislacour and with support from The Greasy Dozen and all of The Greasy Dozen sponsors -
@Old Bike Barn
@Indian Larry Motorcycles
@Led Sled Customs
@Kickstart Cycle Supply
@Cycle Source Magazine
@The Horse Backstreet Choppers Magazine
What was/is the best part or feature or moment during this build?
I love that I am building this bike with my husband. The time we are spending together is productive and meaningful. We are fabricating as many parts as we can in-house with our limited resources That makes this build so much more special than just buying parts online and bolting them on.
Chris has been a patient teacher and has been talking me through my projects on this build while teaching me how to fix my screw-ups without doing it for me. I think thats commendable considering we have a deadline for this build and it is quickly approaching . He has been pushing me to do more than I thought I could and giving me tremendous support along the way. I can truly say I have gained a great deal of confidence in myself through this build and the fabrication of some of the parts.
And the best part of this whole experience is that I'm going to have a kick ass bike!
Have you gotten angry or over it at all? Do you dislike anything about it?
Well yeah, I’ve gotten angry over a few things that have not gone the way I expected them to. And thats ok.
My battery box, in particular, will always have a special place in my heart. I had to cut, weld and re-weld a few times in my learning process. While I was literally grinding away one day, I slipped and broke a weld that was super difficult to do in the first place. I may have dropped an F*bomb or two (totally out of character for me) and had gotten pretty pissed at what I had done. But I fixed my mistake and made the area stronger, and I learned to control the grinder better to prevent it from happening again. My work may not be perfect, but it’s my work and I couldn’t be prouder!
When somethings not going as planned, how do you blow off steam?
Shut it down and go have a drink!
Did you have any inspiration for this project?
Well, nice weather is coming as well as our Greasy Dozen deadline, so that’s motivating and inspiring us to get moving!
As far as inspiration for the build, I wanted a unique chopper and we have not seen many KZ choppers out there. We are kind of creating this as we go. Chris and I talk through what works and what doesn’t. My bike as it is now has evolved from what I first pictured it might be, so I’ll be pretty excited to see how it all turns out in the end.
Any muscle put into the motor? cam, headwork, specs please!
The engine is stock. It’s a chopper, though, so it’s kind of hot rod in that everything has been stripped off of it and it’s super light!
Finally, give us a run down of parts you're using. Companies who supplied them. all major parts and cosmetic accessories!
We used a VooDoo Vintage hardtail kit and we have some parts on there that we got from Old Bike Barn, Biltwell, Lowbrow Customs, Dime City Cycles, Zombie Performance, The Factory Metal Works, and Bison Motorsports.
We had Weston Boege from Counter Balance Cycles in Rhode Island upholster the set pan we sent him.
We also have a bunch of parts that we fabricated ourselves in our garage such as the battery box, exhaust, sissy bar, shaved fork lowers, all of the bungs and tabs, the remote front master cylinder setup, ignition coil mounts, the rear drum brake rod to cable conversion and all of the foot controls