2001 Indian Chief - Me & My Bike

Up To Speed

Photography by Phil Fazin

Name: Dee Snider
Age: 53
Home: East Setauket, NY
Occupation: Lead singer of Twisted Sister; radio, television and film personality

"I'm a born-again biker. You know, one of those guys who got into riding later in life. Sure, I rode mini-bikes and the occasional dirtbike when I was a kid, but I never really felt it was a part of who I was. I was always a car guy-I've loved hot-rods and muscle cars my entire life. I thought bikes and cars were pretty much the same. Boy, was I wrong!

"Twisted Sister bassist Mark Mendoza is a car and bike guy. He's been riding his entire life, and was always trying to convince me to get a bike. I'd tell him that one day I'd get an Indian motorcycle and he and I would ride. I've always tried to be different (maybe you noticed?) and the classic Indian motorcycles were the only bikes that gave me that feeling cars did-like I had to have one. But there was one major problem: I suck with a wrench. And with a 40- or 50-year-old Indian, I knew I would be stuck on the side of some road, getting greasy. Not my idea of a good time.

"Finally in 2001 I got a brand-new, black-on-red Indian Chief. From the first time I rode 'Crazy Horse'-that's what my license plate says: 'CRZHRS'-I discovered that riding bikes was nothing like driving cars. That day changed my life forever.

"As I rode with my friends, emotions stirred inside of me I hadn't felt since I was a kid. This was what it was like the first time my parents let me ride my bicycle off the block-that feeling of independence and camaraderie when my friends and I rode to the stores, the park or someone's house. One of the greatest thrills of my life had been reawakened-and I loved it!

"Two of my four children were born prematurely. Fortunately, they are healthy and don't have ongoing health issues, but many others are not as lucky. The March of Dime's mission is to stop premature birth and help babies with birth defects. Well, when the Connecticut MOD found out that I rode a motorcycle and had prematurely born children, they saw me as a perfect target...I mean, candidate for grand marshal of their annual Bikers for Babies ride.

"After checking their ratio of spending-75 cents of every dollar goes to helping the babies-I accepted their offer. I mean, what better way to give back? I got to lead literally thousands of bikers on a ride. It was the ultimate flashback to my youth!

"Since that first ride I have grand marshaled many others, and for the past six years have chaired my own ride on Long Island, where I live. I guess it's the success of those rides and my commitment to their cause that has led the March of Dimes to make me the National Spokesperson for the Bikers for Babies. I am flattered by their belief in a guy who still wears women's makeup from time to time. And like I said, can you think of a better way to give back than by doing something you love? I sure as hell can't!"

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