It’s fair to say that those who work in the motorcycle industry do so out of their love for bikes and our two-wheeled sport/hobby. It doesn’t really matter if you’re a PR agent, a journalist or a factory representative, a person could earn more money if their job was instead in the automotive field. Meanwhile, there are thousands of moto-loving people who work tirelessly behind the scenes to promote and help enhance the world of motorcycling, routinely without any fanfare whatsoever.

That’s why we’ve decided to shine a little light on some of the people who have devoted significant portions of their lives to nurturing and advancing how we use and enjoy motorcycles in a multi-part series about those who help develop motorcycling and boost its exposure. —Kevin Duke, Editor-in-Chief

Laura Klock is the better-looking half of Klock Werks Kustom Cycles, in beautiful Mitchell, South Dakota. In 2010 Klock Werks was taking part in a dyno shootout and charity ride event for CASA, the Court Appointed Special Advocates for children program in Mitchell, when Laura and the other Klock Werkers decided to take the charitable assistance concept a step further. That’s when “Helping with Horsepower” was born, which has grown into a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, with its hand on the wheel of a host of charitable programs that give back to their communities. One of the early projects was the Victory above, built under the supervision of Lloydz Motor Workz, which Ms. Klock rode to a Bonneville Land Speed Record in 2006. Three years later she returned and raised the record to 173.3, while her two daughters set records in their classes – the first mother/daughter team to hold concurrent Bonneville records.

Seeing how riding at Bonneville inspired her own daughters may have germinated the idea of helping the young women in a residential treatment facility in Mitchell called Abbott House.

“I woke up one morning with this idea. What if we took a damaged motorcycle into this facility. They’re in there working on the damage in their lives. We can fix the damage on this motorcycle and relate it to their lives. At first there’s a lot of ‘I can’t’ and ‘I don’t know how,’ and after about three classes, you watch them discover things about themselves that are pretty amazing.”

Laura Klock with Abbott House’s first finished product. Now they’re on number four.

Laura Klock with Abbott House’s first finished product. Now they’re on number four.

A lot of motorcyclists are already aware of the redemptive powers of using tools on motorcycles, and the genius of the Bike Rebuild Program is to share that with troubled youngsters.

“At-risk youth repair and customize a motorcycle, completely transforming it from something broken, damaged, or neglected into something amazing, just like they are doing in their lives in treatment centers and other outreach centers and programs,” the HWH website says. “This program utilizes a motorcycle as an effective tool to teach life lessons such as teamwork, self-confidence, and problem solving, through hands-on project-based learning and instruction. During classroom time, the kids identify desired changes, enter name and paint design ideas into a contest, choose the replacement parts for the motorcycle, learn basic tools, remove the damaged parts, and reassemble, under direction of a volunteer facilitator. Additional discussion during class time includes basic marketing topics and the importance and impact of sponsorship. When the transformed motorcycle is complete, it is usually raffled as a fundraiser for the charity.”

In addition to raising money, that first build had a profound impact on the girls who helped build it. And since then, the Bike Rebuild program has spread to the Pine Ridge Reservation, the Omaha Home for Boys, the Good Samaritan Boys Ranch, and now a new program that’s about to launch at the Desert Foothills Family YMCA in Scottsdale, Arizona, as part of its teenage youth program.

The latest almost-complete project is a 2007 H-D Fat Boy being built by the kids at the Children’s Home of Reading (Pennsylvania), whose winning raffle ticket will be drawn this May in Denver.

“Lucky Penny,” built at the Children's Home of Reading, will be raffled off May 21.

“Lucky Penny,” built at the Children’s Home of Reading, will be raffled off May 21.

The HWH program has expanded into another couple of areas, one of them literally about horsepower: The SpiritHorse Program launched last summer and assists individuals with special needs through interaction with horses: Leading, grooming, putting on and removing equipment before and after a ride helps SpiritHorse clients develop self-sufficiency and accomplishment.

Last but not least, the The Helping With Horsepower Entrepreneur Experience provides a hands-on entrepreneurial and small-business experience to benefit students and at-risk youth, and raise money for charities – by operating an ice cream truck. This project involves Dakota Wesleyan University’s Collegiate Entrepreneur Organization acquiring and setting up a used truck, licensing and operating it.

When Laura Klock isn’t busy giving back to the community or setting records at Bonneville, she’s at work 24/7 doing what she and husband Brian (they got married on the salt in 2007) have been doing since they launched their custom motorcycle and parts business, which seems to have taken on a life of its own after winning the Discovery Channel’s Biker Build-Off a decade ago. It’s a busy life, but Helping With Horsepower makes it an even more highly rewarding one.

Related Reading:
Unsung Motorcycle Heroes 1: Steve McLaughlin
Unsung Motorcycle Heroes 2: Bob Starr
Unsung Motorcycle Heroes 3: Paul Pepe of Ride Lake Superior
Unsung Motorcycle Heroes 4: Dave Thom

  • Douglas

    Great story about great folks and their works/passions. May it continue to spread.