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Thread: 1969 XLCH Ride To Woodstock

  1. #1

    Default 1969 XLCH Ride To Woodstock

    This is a long read, but I think some of you will enjoy it. And let's be honest, what else do you have to do while "Big Daddy Government" has you grounded?

    Last year was the 50th anniversary of 1969, so I decided to ride my 1969 XLCH to Woodstock, since both were turning 50. I actually decided that I would ride to the town of Woodstock, NY, and then continue across NY for another hour or so to the actual concert site.

    I chose a beautiful October weekend, and planned to stay in the Catskills and make it a two-day trip. What could be better? The ride up was fantastic! It took about 5 hours, almost completely on back roads, the leaves were changing color, and the weather was perfect.


    I made it to Woodstock, NY and rode around town for a while. I stopped into the town cemetery to pay my respects to Levon Helm and Rick Danko, and then made my way out of town.


    On the outskirts of town, I was riding down a narrow, hilly road on my way back to the main route West and saw a perfect photo opportunity with the narrow country road surrounded by autumn leaves, so I pulled over.

    Anyone who actually RIDES kick-only, mag fired XLCH's knows that when stopping for a short amount of time, you keep it running. If you're not sure why, you just have to experience it for yourself. But I pulled over to take a photo of my bike on the hilly road, left it running, backed up to take the photo, and in the display on my phone watched my 1969 XLCH vibrate off the side stand and fall over.

    A gentleman stopped in his car, and helped me pick it up. He was smoking a big joint, and said "hey man, your bike is laying where Bob Dylan crashed his Triumph in '66." I replied "Oh yeah? That was along this road?" He said "No man, I mean RIGHT HERE!" (and he pointed to the ground where my CH had been laying.)


    I thanked him, and sat on my bike. It was still running and, other than a small scuff on my right grip, it looked fine. I let out a grateful sigh or relief and, as I was anxious to continue my trip, reached for the clutch lever to shift into gear.

    Except my clutch lever wasn't there.

    The lever must have hit the ground head-on, because it snapped off and was hanging by the cable. Did I mention that I was 5 hours from home and alone?
    I tried to fit the lever back into place, and it snapped back in!


    So I shifted into first and rode to the end of the hill. I shifted back to neutral and pulled to the side of the road to come up with a plan. My girlfriend, MagKenzie was away hiking for the weekend, so I called my Dad (Papa Magneto). I explained what happened, and told him that I was going to make my way to highway and head for home. I looked on google maps and found a route that I could take that would be 100% highway up until 10 miles from my house. (less shifts)

    I told my Dad that the lever was holding and functioning, but it had a limited number of shifts left. I didn't know if it was 5 shifts, 25 shifts, or 100 shifts, but it was going to break and I was in a race against time. I decided to go for it, and asked my Dad to have his truck ready to go in case it failed before I reached my house.

    It gets dark pretty early in mid-October, but I blasted along the highway with my little XLCH headlight flickering away, stopping only for gas. The ironhead gods shined on me and I made it all the way home. There is something exhilarating about making it home on your bike when you have a mechanical issue.
    This weekend, I decided it was time to get the 1969 XLCH back on the road. I had pieced together a pair of OEM levers (because my old ones had been repops, I decided to upgrade to OEM) thanks to my parts stash and a shipment from my good friend Moon Wolf.

    I polished them up on my buffing wheel, installed them, and took the bike out for an afternoon ride with my Dad today.


    Thanks for reading,
    -Magneto Sportster

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010


    I just hit the imaginary “Like” button on your posting, thanks for posting that Jerry!
    Pisten Bulley is Harry Roberts in Vermont.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2016


    Thanks Jerry. Nice Sporty.
    Hows about a bedtime 'Then came Bronson' story. That TV show debuted in 1969 also.

    bronson mad mag.jpg >>>MAD MAG/RAG.

    Last edited by JoJo357; 05-19-2020 at 02:32 AM.

  4. #4


    Nice Post Enjoyed the read. Thank You.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Charles Town, West Virginia


    Good story with a happy ending. I always say if you can ride it home it ain't broke down.

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