I met Travis Scott in a roundabout way through the last Meet a Reader focus, Bob Kelly. Bob showed me a cool Nimbus for sale that I promptly featured, and I couldn’t help but notice that the seller called himself the Nimbus Nut. I had to find out more…and once it was clear that Travis was passionate about bikes and had some cool stories, I hit him with the usual questions for you to enjoy.
How did you get started with motorcycles – how did you learn, and what was your first bike?
My brother and I started out on mini-bikes and go-carts at ages 8 and 9 respectively. I remember going from a mini-bike to a Simplex and thinking how huge it was! LOL From there it was Suzukis, Yamahas, Ducatis and on and on…
What bikes do you currently own?
I still have my 1968 FLH that I have had since 1979. A 2003 V-Rod as my street bike, 5 Nimbi (or is that Nimbuses?) I am restoring 3 of them to make available to any other Nimbus enthusiasts. And a few Harley Hummers, mostly race bikes.
At one time I had the largest private collection of Harley Hummer parts in the country, and have had close to 200 of them over the 25 years that it was my home business. It was THE BEST business ever because 98% of the guys were reliving their childhood by restoring or just owning a bike just like they had as a kid! The 3 most common lines I heard were, “That was the first motorcycle I ever had.” or “That’s what I learned to ride on.” or my favorite,” I always wanted a Harley Hummer but all I ever had was a damned Cushman.”
Assume for a moment that money is no object, and importation laws aren’t a problem. What’s the next bike you’d buy, and what would you do with it?
I think I would like to have a Buell Ulysses dual sport and travel the more remote countries around the world.
Money being no object I think I would spend the rest of my life doing this and just staying as long in each country as I liked before moving on to the next and the adventures it had to offer.
What’s the most memorable motorcycle trip you’ve ever taken?
Now that’s hard! There have been many, but one of my favorites was riding the ’38 Nimbus on the “Tail of the Dragon” and then going from the southern tip of the “Blue Ridge Parkway” all the way north to the uppermost point of “The Skyline Drive” over 500 miles of 35 mph with no commercial traffic, no businesses or homes visible from 90% or this road way and no traffic lights, or ANY lights at all! Absolutely “made for motorcycles”, well old slow ones anyway ;>)
Do you listen to music while riding? If no, why not? If yes, what are some of your favorite tunes when you’re on your bike?
Yes sometimes. Mostly on my street riding, but sometimes on my antique bikes too because I know of their mechanical health and feel confident NOT having to listen to them constantly for anything amiss. I like a lot of instrumental new age music and a lot of female artists from the 80’s and the 90’s.
What’s your favorite piece of gear?
Frogg Toggs, this IS Colorado after all! Rain almost all summer!
You have $25,000 to spend on anything in the world of motorcycles – 1 new bike, several old bikes, track days, a trip, you name it. How do you spend it?
Probably on expenses on the longest road trip/vacation on my old Nimbus possible 🙂
How did you discover the Nimbus brand?
I have been into motorcycles most my entire life and got into antique ones in my mid to late 20’s. At some point saw a Nimbus at the AMCA swap meet in Sacramento, CA. and just fell in love with the way it was made, (I was a blacksmith at the time) all strap steel frame with big ol’ rivet holding it together. Not to mention that lump of a motor sitting there gently moving the flexible frame as it sat there with a low loping idle. It was quite a sight with all the intake and exhaust valves exposed to the environment going up and down for the whole world to see ! As the years went by and I saw Indian 4’s and Henderson’s, Excelsior’s, Ace and other 4’s just get more and more out of reach for the average broke motorcyclist like myself I grew even more interested in this pretty much unheard of bike. The more I learned about them the more I thought “Here was an antique motorcycle that a guy could actually take out and ride the hell out of and not worry so much about it breaking down and having to spend thousands on parts if you could find them at all” as was the case with the afore mentioned 4 cylinder antiques.
So when I got really serious about owning one I began my search in earnest. I searched every m/c sales site, every club and even ran ads in all the “Wanted” sections I could find. Finally I ran an ad in the AMCA magazine offering to trade my 1968 FLH (restored mind you) for a nice Nimbus! Eventually, I DID get a call from a gentleman in northern Wisconsin who had moved here from Denmark in the early 1980’s and had imported a handful of Nimbus at that time. The one he had to offer for sale (he wasn’t interested in the FLH) was a 1938 “Sport model” that he had gotten “road worthy” for a friend of his back in the mid-80’s…well he rode it a couple of times and then it sat there for almost 25 years before he called me. It was red, old and crusty looking, but started right up and “ran like a Nimbus should” he told me, so needless to say I was hooked! And the Nimbus adventure began!
Now came the fun part! Trying to find parts for it or at the very least someone that knew anything about them. Eventually I became pen-pals with a fellow in Denmark that had the best website on them and he had owned them all his life and he became a best friend and introduced me to many other Nimbus enthusiasts over there in their homeland. Amongst these were two Norweigan fellows whom decided that they were going to take two matching 1937 Nimbus with sidecars around the world! Now a “round the world” trip on a motorcycle is not any thing new, Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman did it on “Long Way Round” and “Long Way Down” but unlike these guys Tormud and Klause would be doing it WITHOUT brand new factory sponsored bikes, OR a fleet of chase vehicles, huge crew, and all the best gear from the worlds top manufacturers! No they would be doing it all alone, just them and the two bikes and what ever they could carry in the side hacks. So with a few small cameras and a laptop they set off and tried their best to keep a running blog which served not only as a means for their friends and followers to keep updated as to their progress it also was a way for people along the route to offer a place to spend the night and or offer assistance in many other much needed ways.
This put this adventure right into the lives of those following along on the blog and those in all the countries along their route ! As a jab to the “other round the world guys” they called their adventure “The Dumb Way Round”. [Editor’s Note: Annoyingly, I can’t find a current site for this, so I’ll just leave you with a summary from BikeEXIF.] So needless to say, following along with them was acknowledgement that I had indeed chosen a most incredible and durable motorcycle indeed. I don’t want to give away their story so I will leave it up to the reader to experience it for them selves! An incredible story to say the least!
So – why the Nimbus Nut? What converted you from a fan of the bike to someone who’s started to import them?
Well during my search for for a bike for myself I found that there were others like me that would like to own a Nimbus too, but even when they found someone who owned one most said that they wouldn’t even consider selling it ! So after a year or so of owning mine and getting friends in Denmark I looked into importing a couple. My friends over there located a pair that had just been “renovated” over there and helped me to get them to the US. Had I known of all the bureaucracy , paperwork and huge hassles I was in for I might not have embarked on this venture ! But these two went to new owners so fast that I sucked up and the next year did it again only to meet a whole new set of challenges and demands ! Holy cow I thought I knew how to do this but NO they had to change requirements, forms and procedures every time! So now I have these 3 but have no idea if I am going to be able to get any others over here in the future, let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope ;>)
What do you expect from the future of motorcycling, good or bad?
I see motorcycling continuing for a long time into the future, but I also think that electric is going to be huge and other forms of alternative fueled vehicles that are going to overlap what we think of as motorcycles are already in the works. Hopefully the powers that be don’t outlaw the old gas powered machines that we all know and love!