John Brain - When I visited Europe back in 2008 and 2009 for the big FBI Fun-damentalistic Bikers Inc. custom bikes meets in Amsterdam, it was my desire to get a better understanding of what was going on. The European kustom bike scene was more developed than the American scene at that time. One of the reasons for that was because of one dedicated biker with a vision - Rhalf van Heusden of Holland – who put in place the foundations that allowed the scene to grow and develop all over in Europe.
He set up what was really the first of the modern kustom bike shops anywhere –the “Chopperdome”, setting standards and making alternative bike parts available to a burgeoning audience of alternative riders. Rhalf really pushed forward the idea of kustom biking as an actual lifestyle, he travelled across Europe and brought people together – he took his vision very seriously. He was kind of Europe’s “Johnny Appleseed” of custom biking.
North American bikers were kind of in awe at how advanced and tight the European bike scene was in 2008. America at the time had a growing audience for kustom biking through Internet forums like “Kustom Cruisers” and “Chopperbicycle.net” and also from the Webzine “Bike Rod & Kustom” founded in 1998 by the late Jim Wilson of New York.
What America did not have at that point was broad unity from all the diverse kustom bikers across America. Very few kustom oriented bike clubs existed in America in 2008 - outside of a few in California, and with some people in New York state and Detroit coming together, but it was nowhere near what was seen in Europe at the time.
From: Kustomized Bicycle Magazine is a worldwide inline publication for custom bicycle builders and includes Boardtrack, Lowriderm cruisers, choppers and features bikes, how-to tech, new products, product reviews, featured builders, and a little humor.