A Biker Juke Joint – By Steve Lita
On November 6, 2010, Billy Joel christened his newest venture, 20th Century Cycles in Oyster Bay, New York. New Englanders now have a terrific new place to ride to on the weekends. That’s right, the man who has throngs of fans around the world is himself a fan of classic, two-wheeled (and sometimes three-wheeled) machinery. I had originally thought I’d research Billy Joel’s immense library of songs and name-drop titles throughout this story: “Next time you’re in a New York State Of Mind and feel like Movin’ Out, ride over to The Entertainers shop and stay Just The Way You Are.” But that’s too corny. And Billy’s place is way too classy for that.
In a completely renovated former car dealership, Billy’s collection of vintage cruisers, tourers, café racers, UJM standards, and assorted other motorcycle oddities awaits your inspection. You can stop by on weekends for some refreshments, relax in the plush seating area, check out a video, or see what’s up on the rack being renovated next for Billy’s collection. The bike shop area is well within view of the front of the store.
20th Century Cycles was not built with the intent of becoming a bike dealership or retail shop, but, from time to time, you may find a bike for sale that’s being cycled out of the collection. According to Billy’s in-house mechanic, Alex Puls, Billy intended this place to be a fun gathering spot for local riders. A place where Billy can get away from the music biz — there’s not even a piano in the joint. It’s an environment where Billy can be a bike guy — just like us. Except my collection is not as extensive and my shop floor is not nearly as clean.
The walls of 20th Century are adorned with huge flags from motorcycle producing nations, petroleum memorabilia, and neon signs. Billy’s collection includes Harley-Davidsons, Royal Enfields, BSAs, Guzzis, Triumphs, several Japanese bikes, and even a BMW with sidecar. My personal favorite? His cherry Harley-Davidson Sportster XLCR Café Racer. You May Be Right, I may be crazy. Sorry, I couldn’t resist. RB
20th Century Cycles, 101 Audrey Ave., Oyster Bay, New York
Story as it appeared in the May 2011 issue of RoadBike.