SPADE GEORGE

We were at the venerable Fillmore over the weekend to see the third tour stop of The Cult (thanks again for the hookup with Ian, Brian Awitan!) and ran into the one and only Spade George parked on the sidewalk outside the show.

If you didn’t see the feature we did on George a few years ago (“The Tao Of The Mantis Fist” issue #18) in the last issue of GARAGE magazine, we can tell you that he’s one of the great jewels of underground motor culture in San Francisco. Been here, working on bikes (“Yes, We Work On Sportsters!”) for 43+ years out of his Hole In The Wall shop for every stripe of customer you could – and probably couldn’t – imagine.

Now, when we met Spade George for the first time, we’ll admit that we swallowed hard on that nickname at first. But after sitting down with him for a few hours at his shop on San Bruno Ave. in the Portola, we realized that his station in life as the bridge between factions of outsider biker culture on both coasts changed the entire meaning of it. George commands respect from an element of biker culture that respects a very precious few, but he’s also the first to help out whenever he sees the need.

A trip to Hole In The Wall was one of the great San Francisco experiences for any gearhead and there’s a story in every relic jammed into each square inch of floor and wall space. We’d get lost in there for hours, just soaking it all up. But, tragically, Hole In The Wall fell victim to the ever-booming price of a square foot of real estate in the city and George had to head for points south.

Before he left town, George bequeathed us with the Harley flathead jug that he used to prop the front door of the shop open for forty years and it’s one of our most prized possessions. No doubt, we shed a tear when we had to watch that door close for the last time, but this town is nothing if not a blend of history and constant change, so, y’know, c’est la vie and shit…

Now, George can be found at Hole In The Wall in the San Francisco Peninsula burg of Redwood City. Still Spade George, still all the great stories, still a helping hand when it comes to anything Harley. While you’re here in town on your hot rod/biker fantasy camp, let us know: we’ll run you down to see Spade George and you’ll come away with a whole new understanding of underground motoring history from a completely unique point of view.

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