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Canadian Biker Cover Redux: Recreating Issue #56

Thirty years ago, Pat Horvat appeared on the August issue of Canadian Biker magazine. And now, father and son bond in the recreation of that photo.

My dad’s 1985 Harley-Davidson FLHTC has seen a lot, including a recent heart and lung transplant. As a child I couldn’t picture him any other way, than on the bike he calls his ‘Lil Red Pony.’ But after 130,000 miles (yes, the speedo is in miles) and a cracked transmission case, Dad put in a Baker DD5 a couple years ago. Then last spring, while riding in North Carolina, the engine started making too much noise, so he brought it into Kendall Johnson Customs in Winston-Salem where they installed an 89-inch stroker. Could be good for another 130,000 miles! 

L’il Red has now been totally rebuilt from nose-to-tail and that includes a Glide-Pro kit (a stabilizing system that gets rid of the decker shuffle). Although original, Dad will be looking at new paint maybe in a year or two.

I grew up around bikes, obviously my dad’s and those of his Harley-riding buddies. There was BMX racing when I was young, which transitioned to dirt bike riding and, once I was old enough, I purchased a street bike. The tickets amassed, and my love for “just going fast” was being over shadowed by “just riding.” After many test rides and a couple years of saving (by not getting too many tickets), I purchased my 2012 Kawasaki Vaquero. Red, of course, as I couldn’t picture riding side-by-side with my dad any other way!

My father, Pat Horvat, appeared on the cover of Canadian Biker’s August issue in 1987, and last summer he and I set out to find the exact spot on Jail Road just east of Lethbridge, Alberta where the original photographer stood some 30 years ago. I think we came very close; the only difference being the trees are now a little bigger. 

I’ve never had a moment in my life when I could imagine not riding, and I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to ride side-by-side with my dad. Re-making this photograph was fun but shows only a small bit of the joy and fulfillment we get when bonding on the open road. If I ever get the opportunity to pass my love for riding on to a ‘mini-me’ I will, I imagine, feel as though I have accomplished something very great.

Canadian Biker Issue #329 


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