Rinken’s Wrench N’ Ride Gets ‘Em on the Road Again

"The Wild Ones" with Marlon Brando imprinted the American imagination  with the sexy biker image.

The Wild One: Marlon Brando didn’t need no fancy ‘lectronics on his bike.

MY 1979 KZ 750 WASN’T MUCH TO LOOK AT BUT it was clean with no major dents or scratches and nice chrome fenders and a seat in fine shape. Some days I’d ridden longer than 12 hours at a stretch. The bike always made it better than me. Besides burning oil it was mechanically sound. Except the irreplaceable mechanical ignition points—which lasted a decade. The bike’s book value was $70. One final time I file the points and barely made it to the nearest shop that would deign to take it.

That was 13 years ago. I still have the manual.

 Now Chris Rinken tells me $30 would put it back on the highway.

The author sitting atophis ex-motorcycle, a '79 Kowasaki KZ-750, Blue Book value $70.

The author sitting atop his ex-motorcycle, a ’79 Kawasaki KZ-750, Blue Book value $70.

“[Expletive deleted],” I say.

“I’m sorry,” he replies.

Rinken, owner of Wrench N’ Ride Motorcycle Repair, a small garage beside his home on the corner of Seigel and Bogart streets, works exclusively on pre-electronic, vintage motorcycles—anything ’81 and older. He tells stories that start out like mine.

“One guy kinda had no idea what to do to get his ‘72 CV 350 running. It was in storage for six years and he paid $600 for it and owned it for two years but it never ran. He was pushing it around from apartment to apartment, and—a total fluke—luckily for him there happened to be motorcycle shop,” Rinken says. “He was super pumped about it.”

Rinken didn’t replace a part, he just cleaned the carb. “The bike just needed some care,” he shrugs. And that’s all he does. Rinken stays away from body work or welding, but he can recommend someone.

“If it runs I completely leave it at that,” he says. Rinken first started riding at 11 and learned to work on bikes from his dad. Basic, simple stuff. “Nobody knew how to do vintage maintenance,” he says. “They weren’t raised with a dad who knew all that stuff.”

After graduating from law school in ’12, into the worst economy this side of the Depression, he opened Wrench ‘N Ride. Today he has eight vintage bikes in the garage. One ‘64 Honda 90 cc that he laid hands on is worth $2,500 dollars now.

A shop like Wrench N’ Ride is rare, unique even, considering the sheer number of motorcycles in Brooklyn. To help people buying vintage bikes make sure they weren’t being scammed, Rinken offered a second set of eyes. “A couple of customers wanted to learn basic maintenance, basic inspection stuff,” he says, “just as a way to make sure to get it on the road and avoid really expensive bills from the repair shop.” He’s starting classes now. “We have motorcycles in the shop, and we have extra tools. We get people here who want to learn about bikes, who maybe want to get into it, try it to see if they like doing it. It’s all about getting people into the community.

“I’d rather have a bike that’s worthy,” he says. “The last bike the shop sold was an old Honda 360 that had flames on it. It does a hundred miles an hour if it needs to.”

Wrench N’ Ride Motorcycle Repair

315 Seigel Street

Bushwick, Brooklyn NY 11206

608 695-8392

 Phil Scott is an executive editor of Brooklyn Artisan, a former managing editor of Omni magazine, and the author of seven books, mostly about the history of aviation. He lives in Rockaway.

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Joy’s Best of Brooklyn for March 21 through March 24

This weekend starts early on Thursday and it’s also the last day for Dine-In Brooklyn.
Winslow Homer, The Unruly Calf, circa 1875. Graphite and white opaque watercolor on blue-gray wove paper. Brooklyn Museum, part of Fine Lines: American Drawings. See below.

Winslow Homer, The Unruly Calf, circa 1875. Graphite and white opaque watercolor on blue-
gray wove paper. Brooklyn Museum, part of Fine Lines: American Drawings. See below.

Three reasons to go out on Thursday, March 21

steamboat1 • Brooklyn Museum stays open until 10pm on Thursdays so that visitors can linger in the galleries and take advantage of special evening programs. Several new exhibits have opened in the past few weeks including Fine Lines: American Drawings and the spectacular Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui. At 7:30, a Drawing Workshop for all ages will explore the drawing process and help budding artists develop professional techniques.

2 • The March edition of Steamboat, the comedy series, at Greenlight Bookstore gets down to funny business with comedian and author Bob Powers hosting some of the city’s best humor writers. Tonight’s roster includes multi-tasking Brooklynite Rosie Schaap, author of Drinking With Men: A Memoir, and Dave Bry, author of Public Apology: In Which a Man Grapples with a Lifetime of Regret, One Incident at a Time. Fort Greene. 7:30pm.

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A different take on a traditional Hagaddah.

3 • Brooklyn by the Book: The Bronfman Hagaddah. In time for Passover, author Edgar M. Bronfman and illustrator Jan Aronson will speak with Rabbi Andy Bachman of Congregation Beth Elohim about this contemporary retelling of the Exodus story. With its underlying message of human rights and freedom, The Bronfman Hagaddah brings together readings from diverse sources such as abolitionist Frederick Douglas to Ralph Waldo Emerson and poet Marge Piercy. At 6:30 there will be a kosher-wine tasting by Slope Cellars, food from Brooklyn-based Gefilteria (read more about them, below) and a book sale by Community Bookstore. Discussion begins at 7:30. Park Slope.

Three things to do involving seams, screams and Bob Ross

storefront21 • Saturday & Sunday Learn to Sew a Vintage-Style Men’s Shirt at Brooklyn General Store. This two-day intensive, for those with intermediate sewing skills, will cover techniques including felled seams, a lined back yoke and sleeve plackets. Instructor Heather Love is a Brooklyn-based mixed-media artist. Her Etsy shop hellomello handspun features her knit-based crafts and materials. North Red Hook is the home of Brooklyn General Store, the former Frank’s Department Store, and is an updated and welcome throwback to the era when Union Street used to be a thriving shopping block for food and goods. 9am-6pm.

lunaPark2 • Sunday Season Opener at Luna Park. Normally I might wait until warmer weather arrives to get excited about Coney Island, but this year’s opener has significance after all the rebuilding and restoration after Hurricane Sandy. The 86-year-old Cyclone is back in full operation, along with the Soaring Eagle and Steeplechase, a spinning disk called the Zenobio, and the Human Slingshot. As is the tradition, Marty Markowitz will christen the Cyclone by smashing a bottle of egg cream on her bow. Coney Island. 12pm-10pm.

PaintingTakedown3 • Sunday 1st annual Painting Takedown, a charity event to benefit Citymeals-on-Wheels. You remember Bob Ross, right? Twenty Brooklyn artists will be asked to throw away all taste and aesthetics by creating a painting à la Bob Ross. Audience members can bid and buy the finished canvases, while the painters will receive prizes for crowd favorites. Expect drinks from SixPoint Brewery, lots of chili, and goofy bad art. At former-feather-factory-now-arts-center The Active Space, Bushwick. 6pm-9pm.

caption and credit for Vermatzah goes here see item below

Eco-Kosher Vermatzah connects modern ecology with Jewish dietary laws and ethical standards.

Three purveyors of note for Passover and beyond

1 • Way Outer Brooklyn Vermatzah, small-batch, wood-fired matzah from Naga Bakehouse, Vermont. Locally-sourced wheat and farro go into the hand-shaped rounds produced by this eco-kosher baker. Albeit not kosher for Passover, this matzah is produced with care. With each order, the company attaches a small bag of wheat seeds to give home growers and cooks a chance to farm in their own homes. Order by Thursday for mail delivery for a seder, or revisit after the holiday.

carpInBathtub2 • Gefilte fish is a Jewish food that does not have any religious symbolism, but is a part of traditional Eastern European cuisine, especially at holidays. My grandmother used to purchase live carp and whitefish and keep them swimming in the bathtub until it was time to cook and grind the fish for the quenelle-shaped pieces. My mother resorted to jars of prepared gefilte fish that contained an unappealing aspic-sort of jelly and a couple of slices of limp carrot. No wonder we resorted to massive amounts of horseradish, jarred of course, to make it palatable. Forward to 2012, and three Brooklyn entrepreneurs open Gefilteria to specialize in artisanal gefilte fish with freshness, sustainability and flavor added to the traditional food. The founders describe themselves as “a trio of New York foodies, reimagining Old World Jewish food by adapting Ashkenazi classics to the values and tastes of a new generation.” Fish as well as several styles of horseradish are kosher for Passover and can be purchased at local retailers and online, but hurry, as supplies are sure to be snapped up.

caption credit goes here

(Photograph, Katie Sokoler/Gothamist)

3 • We can still go stand in line at Zabars or Russ & Daughters on a Sunday morning for a novy fix, but the neighborhood appetizing store, stocked with smoked and cured fish and dairy products, has largely faded away. Enter caterer Peter Shelsky in 2012, and he’s returned appetizing back to Brooklyn with Shelsky’s Smoked Fish in Carroll Gardens. Shelsky’s extensive kosher-style Passover menu offers tempting dishes such as Grandma Yetta’s savory gefilte fish, house-pickled herring in cream sauce, fresh apple horseradish sauce, vegetarian matzah ball soup, strawberry rhubarb matzah crumble, and homemade matzah. Beyond Passover, there’s always the sandwich menu; try the Brooklyn Native: eastern Gaspé salmon, smoked whitefish salad, pickled herring, sour pickle all piled on a bialy.

2todoNOTEJoy Makon curates Brooklyn Artisan’s Craft & Design coverage and creates the weekly Best of Brooklyn lists. Send items for listings to brooklynartisan@joymakondesign.com

Joy’s Best of Brooklyn for February 19—25

The American Revolution through gardening, get close to stinky cheese, monumental artwork at Brooklyn Museum and it’s NYC Beer Week in Kings County.
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The Old Stone House, portrayed in this historic rendering, is the perfect backdrop for a talk by
Andrea Wulf, author of The Founding Gardeners. See first item, below.

Thursday The Founding Gardeners, a talk and reception with design historian Andrea Wulf. Celebrate President’s Day with a fundraiser talk and wine reception for The Old Stone House. Our founding fathers (Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Bartram, Madison) were as passionate about gardening, agriculture and botany, as in their belief in liberty for the nation they were creating. Author Andrea Wulf will reveal their unique ideologies as the gardeners, plantsmen and farmers of the American Revolution. The Old Stone House, with its colonial heritage and habitat gardens, is the ideal setting and beneficiary for this evening. Advanced ticket purchase is recommended. Park Slope. 7pm-9pm.

caption here

“It’s a pungent job but
someone has to do it,” says
Stinky Bklyn. (Photograph
by Morgan Ione Yeager.)

Thursday Affinage: the Sophisticated Art of Aging Cheese, a workshop with Christopher Killoran, shown left, of Stinky Bklyn, in conjunction with The Horticultural Society of NY (“The Hort”). Affinage is the process of washing, innoculating and injecting young cheeses with the molds, bacterias, cultures and enzymes that will allow the cheese to reach maturity and become delicious. This evening’s event will discuss the whole process, all while learning how to use, serve and enjoy cheese. The Hort is dedicated to urban gardeners, with the aim to grow a green community that values horticulture and the benefits gained to the environment, neighborhoods and lives. Advanced registration advised. Outer Brooklyn. 6:30pm.

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El Anatsui, Conspirators, 1997. Composed of individual strips of wood, this piece can be
arranged differently each time it is installed, reflecting the artist’s desire for his work
to remain dynamic. At Brooklyn Museum, see below. (Photograph by Andrew McAllister,
courtesy of the Akron Art Museum.)

Thursday Curator Tour, Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui, Brooklyn Museum. Curator Kevin Dumouchelle will lead a free tour of this fascinating exhibit of wall and floor sculptures and installations. Ghanaian artist Anatsui converts found materials, often bottle caps, into colorful, textured hangings and site-specific sculptures. Prospect Heights. 6pm.

nycbg-centerimageFriday Opening Night Bash, New York City Beer Week. Rare and exotic beers from over 30 breweries will be poured at Galapagos Art Space. Sponsored by New York City Brewers Guild. DUMBO. 7pm-10pm. Through March 3, NYC Beer Week will bring together 12 NYC craft breweries, nationally and internationally renowned breweries, over 250 NYC beer destinations, celebrity chefs, and restaurants for the “beer spectacle” of the year. All Beer Week events in BKLYN and Outer BKLYN are listed on the site. Here’s a few other events that caught our attention for this weekend:

caption Robert Buchan

Beer Week tap takeover at Banter.
(Photograph by Robert Buchan.)

 Friday Banter, Williamsburg. New York tap takeover, with 24 craft beers on tap featuring rarities from New York’s finest brewers.

Saturday Fermented NY Craft Beer Crawl of Williamsburg, tour by Urban Oyster Tours.

Sunday The Owl Farm, Park Slope. Celebrating wheat beers: Berlinerweisses, Wheatwines, Weizenbocks, Goses and more.

montague street caption

A Montague Street view from The
Brooklyn Historical Society archives.

Saturday Big Onion Walking Tour of Historic Brooklyn Heights. Sponsored along with Brooklyn Historical Society, this two-hour tour will explore NYC’s first Landmark District. The walk starts at Borough Hall by Cadman Plaza, and ends with a behind-the-scenes tour of the Brooklyn Historical Society building. Along the way are sites associated with Gypsy Rose Lee, WEB DuBois, and others. Brooklyn Heights. 1pm.

61LocalSaturday 2 Year Anniversary Bash at 61 Local, a public house featuring locally crafted food, drink and the people who make it. Celebrate with special soda shandies from Brooklyn Soda Works, a raffle for a knife crafted by Joel Bukiewicz, Cut Brooklyn, with all proceeds of the evening to benefit BK Farmyards. At 8pm there will be a documentary screening that highlights the collaboration with these producers. Cobble Hill. Begins at 5pm.

Coney Island new: the shake was messy but great at newly-opened Tom's back in October 2012, pre-Sandy, but there's all that darn whipped cream! Read what my colleague Bruce Campbell had to say about Tom's Prospect Heights Egg Cream. (photograph, Brooklyn Artisan photo pool)

Coney Island new: the shake was messy but great at newly-opened Tom’s back in pre-Sandy October, but there’s all that darn whipped cream! Read what my colleague Bruce Campbell had to say about Tom’s Prospect Heights Egg Cream. (Photograph, Brooklyn Artisan photo pool.)

Saturday and Sunday Ice Skating in BKLYN: If you’re missing the Kate Wollman Rink in Prospect Park, closed due to construction, try an afternoon of ice skating en plein air at Coney Island at the Abe Stark Rink. Until March 24, the rink is open weekends from 12:30pm-3:30pm. Skate rental is available. Hydrate and refuel at Tom’s, a branch of the venerable Prospect Heights eatery.

Sunday Oscar Party at Pine Box Rock Shop, a bartender/musician-owned vegan bar and performance space. Cast your ballot and enjoy champagne specials and free popcorn during the awards show. Pine Box promises awesome prizes to those whose ballots match the actual winners. Bushwick. 7pm.

9781118062975_cover.inddMonday Sandy Benefit Concert with jazz guitarist, singer, raconteur John Pizzarelli. Tonight’s fundraiser at powerHouse Arena will feature music and talk from one of the connoisseurs of The Great American Songbook. Pizzarelli will sign copies of his new memoir, World on A String. As the son of jazz-legend Bucky Pizzarelli, as the opening act for Frank Sinatra’s last tour, to performing with Paul McCartney in 2012—Pizzarelli has a lot of material to work with. DUMBO. 7pm-9pm.

2todoNOTEJoy Makon curates Brooklyn Artisan’s Craft & Design coverage and creates the weekly Best of Brooklyn lists. Send items for listings to brooklynartisan@joymakondesign.com

Joy’s Best of Brooklyn, November 29, 30, December 1, 2

The presents come early and often at Prospect Park Zoo on Saturday and Sunday. (photo by Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS)

Twelve reasons to keep it local this weekend.

Thursday: The Brooklyn Cheese CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) begins this Thursday and runs for 6 weeks until January 3, 2013. On Thursdays, Cricket Creek Farm, a small, grass-based dairy from Williamstown, MA, will distribute their cheese at Picada y Vino in Park Slope. Regular shares of 2 lbs and half shares of 1 lb per week are available. Four cheeses made from raw and pasteurized cow’s milk are featured, and described on Cricket Creek Farm’s lovely website.

Thursday through Sunday: Holiday Art Sale at 440 Gallery. This artist-run collective offers affordable, original works of art, as well as reproductions, during their 2nd annual holiday sale. Prices range from $4.40 to $440. Ask about Philomena Marano’s $25 prints to benefit Coney Island relief funds. Park Slope. Thursday and Friday, 4pm-7pm. Saturday and Sunday, 11am-7pm.

Friday: Winter Art Sale at Trestle Gallery. A one-night-only reception of paintings, drawings, photography, mixed media from 46 artists. Proceeds benefit the participating artists as well as Trestle Gallery and Brooklyn Art Space programs for emerging and mid-career artists and curators. Gowanus. 8pm-10pm.

Saturday and Sunday: Presents to the Animals, Prospect Park Zoo. To a meerkat, mealworms are artisanal; otters consider capelin (smelt) and eggs a delicacy. Starting this weekend through December 30, watch Hamadryas baboons, Pallas’s cats, red pandas, mongoose, and other zoo critters have the most delightful and comical time tearing into gift-wrapped bags and boxes of treats. The Zoo provides these presents as a form of enrichment to keep the animals’ minds and bodies healthy and active. All I know is that last year we split our sides laughing. 11am and 3:30pm. [Read more…]

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