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Shell Factory Bike Night a huge hit

December 20, 2017
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

The Shell Factory & Nature Park, which has for several years been marketing itself to bring in more of the winter and full-time residents, may have yet another huge hit on its hands.

The local attraction on Thursday held its first Bike Night in the center parking lot, in conjunction with its weekly Cruise-In, and brought in more than 100 bikers from throughout the area to listen to live music, have a beer and get a look at the other bikes on hand.

Like the Bike Nights in Fort Myers and Cape Coral, it was a success. So successful, in fact, that the Shell Factory will hold Bike Night on the first and third Thursday of each month starting in January year round.

Article Photos

Bob Ryan’s unique trike, made from the platform of a 1971 Volkswagen Beetle, was on display Thursday.


Rick Tupper, marketing director and CFO of the Shell Factory, and owner Tom Cronin were admiring the two- and three-wheelers that came.

"I'm shocked by the turnout. I wouldn't have thought in a million years it would be this large for the first one," Tupper said. "Obviously, there is a need for a bike night here. There are a lot of great bikes and this is a cool crowd of recreational bikers who live here and wanted a place to go."

Like the Cruise-In, which had its share of classics, Bike Night did as well.

Doug Horton, a snowbird from Sanibel, decided to get bang for his buck by bringing both a classic truck, a 1967 Chevy, and two classic bikes, a 1967 Triumph and a 1974 Norton.

"I participated in the car nights and I got an e-mail saying there was an inaugural bike night. I figured to kill two birds with one stone," Horton said.

Roy Shaw brought his 1955 Harley Davidson KH to the event, which he has owned for more than 25 years. He has another at home, a race model his father bought him when he was 14.

"You don't see many of these. Not many people have them. Everybody can ride a new model. These you don't see every day," Shaw said. "These don't carry a good price, but I like them. I was born in 1955."

Charley Blake had a true classic, a 1937 Harley Davidson "Knucklehead," named that for the knuckle-looking design on the heads.

"They're getting rarer every day. It's 80 years old with 95 percent stock. It's a nice ride," Blake said. "You can go anywhere you want to go in the country, it will get you there."

Bob Ryan took the crown for the most unique ride; a trike made from the platform of a 1971 Volkswagen Beetle, with a skeleton riding in the back and a coffin hitched to the back of a trailer.

Ryan said he rode it to Baltimore, 1,200 miles one-way, and takes it out all the time, as it is an attention-getter.

"It took four years to make this. I started it, couldn't finish it, so me and my friend finished it. The coffin we built at my house. My buddy is a master carpenter," Ryan said. "It's a fun ride, the kids love it, especially on Halloween."



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