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Since 1999, the #1 Motorcycling Magazine for Women and the Men Who Ride with Them









Reader Story: Fonzie Ignited Her Passion to Ride

Tattoos and custom paint keep it going

By Wendy Marie Koltz, Mc Farland, Wisconsin
11/19/2007

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I can tell you the exact moment in time when I fell in love with motorcycles and the bad boys who ride them. I was a young girl growing up in rural Wisconsin and we didn't have much to do in the way of entertainment except playing outside, annoying our siblings and watching our favorite programs on TV. On Tuesday evenings I would go over to the neighbor's house (they had a big floor model TV) and we would watch Three's Company, Laverne & Shirley and my all-time favorite -- Happy Days. 

Wendy showing off her tattoo, one of many firsts for her recently.
Wendy showing off her tattoo, one of many firsts for her recently.

This is where my love affair with motorcycles all began. To sum it up in one word -- Fonzie. I remember having the biggest crush on him as a girl and thought he was so cool with his bad boy good looks, black leather jacket and tough looking motorcycle. I fell in love with bikes that summer while watching that show. I also fell in love with the bad boys attached to them.

Fast forward 20 some years, I am in my 30s, and I finally got my first motorcycle. What took me so long? I can only tell you that I was happy for a long time just being a passenger on a bike, mostly Harleys, of course, though I pretty much loved any cruiser. Then one day I just decided it was time to break out and not be a backrest anymore. I wanted to know what it felt like to drive my own, ride it down a country lane and feel the smooth power of the bike as I rolled on the throttle around another curve in the road.

So I got my own bike, a 2007 Yamaha V Star Classic 650. I made my decision to buy a Yamaha after researching several bikes on the market. Sleek and vintage in design, with lots of chrome accents, this V Star really stands out in a crowd, even without customization. But I already knew when I purchased the bike that I was going to get it custom painted. And as luck would have it, I found just the man to do the job while getting my first tattoo. I guess you could call this a year of firsts for me -- mid life crisis? No, just finally coming into my own, so to speak. 

Wendy says of her custom painted Yamaha V Star, "The color of purple is perfectly suited to my passion for the color."
Wendy says of her custom painted Yamaha V Star, "The color of purple is perfectly suited to my passion for the color."

Paragon Customs out of Sauk City, Wisconsin, is a custom bike shop and the owner is a true artist when it comes to building and painting bikes with show stopping beauty. Ryan Fielding, the owner of Paragon Customs, comes with a biker background rich in history as his father and grandfather were both avid motorcyclists. It's in his blood and is our good fortune that he has taken his passion and turned it into a thriving business.

Ryan has been all over the country with his custom built choppers, and even to Germany where he won an award for one of his bikes. Numerous magazine features and expert craftsmanship have won him accolades among fellow bike enthusiasts. Now you can add me to that list.

Ryan and I met earlier this year and I told him that I had just bought a motorcycle and wanted it custom painted. He asked me what I had in mind and I told him I wanted to make it my own custom bike while still leaving the customary good looks of the Yamaha V Star intact. He said no problem; we would set up a time to further discuss the design process.

We sat down one Saturday afternoon and went over various paint schemes, colors, and several flame-types and tribal artwork to add to the overall effect of the custom paint job. I settled on a Kandy Purple with "real" flames in the same color ghosted over the base coat. A tribal cross would also be painted on the tank beneath the tachometer and a tribal design with a wolf's head would be added to the front fender. 

The front fender shows off the "real" styled flames. There's also an image of a wolf.
The front fender shows off the "real" styled flames. There's also an image of a wolf.

A little over a month later, I dropped my bike off at his shop on a Monday for custom painting. I also decided on a spur of the moment idea that I wanted to add purple neon lights underneath the gas tank for the full night time effect. Ryan would add these to the bike, too. We said our goodbyes and I was to pick up my bike later that week.

I went to the shop on a Friday afternoon, excited to see my new "custom" bike. Needless to say, I wasn't quite prepared for how beautiful my bike would look. I was speechless as he pulled it out of his shop and into the sunlight.

The paint job is phenomenal! The "real" flames expertly done on all painted areas of the bike including the battery cover and the storage compartment. The tribal artwork was masterfully done and the wolf truly shows my love for the animal. The installation of the purple neon proved to be a good idea. While parked at night with the lights turned on—it gives off this almost magical aura and I smile silently to myself and say, "Yep, that's my bike. Isn't she a beauty?" 

"Adorning the gas tank along with the flames is a tribal cross, mystical in design and considered a good omen," says Wendy.
"Adorning the gas tank along with the flames is a tribal cross, mystical in design and considered a good omen," says Wendy.

So there you have it, another page in bike history and me having the freedom to ride when I want and wherever the road takes me. My bike is truly one-of-a-kind all thanks to Paragon Customs. If you decide one day like I did to buy your own first bike, or just want to customize the one you already have, Ryan is the man for the job.

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