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GOING THE DISTANCE
"ANOTHER CHINESE MEMBER?"
Photo courtesy of Steven Yee
DOING WELL: STEVEN YEE.
STEVEN YEE, HAMC IN A FACEBOOK MESSAGE:
"Hey Scott, how are you? Long time, huh? That was a nice article. I see you're still writing a lot. I also have been diagramming and writing the past 1 1/2 years. I'll have two books coming out in the future. They're on the Yee Systems, very advanced training geared for all sports, especially MMA (Mixed Martial Arts). Strongstyles Gym in Indepenence, Ohio, they've been using some of my techniques while training their fighters.
Book one is finished and book two is almost done. They'll help a lot of people.
Lynn has 27 of my songs that haven't been released yet. I put them on video before the program was taken away. Lynn tried to have musicians duplicate the music,but they couldn't. All my new songs are in C, G, C.G.G.E flat tuning, it's like re-learning the guitar. I don't have an 8 track in here like I did when I put the first CD out.
It's been a crazy year.....Lynn's been hanging in there. I almost lost her in April due to an almost 100% blockage in her carotid artery. I'm blessed to have her.
I heard we have another Chinese member in New York. Thanks again, and you and your family have a super Holiday Season."
Another Chinese member in New York?
There goes the neighborhood!
There aren't too many Chinese bikers around, and even fewer in motorcycle clubs. Steven Yee is one of the latter. I've been pivileged to be able to correspond with Steven from time to time over the years.
However, I'm a lousy letter writer. If I wrote letters for a living, I would've been fired a long time ago.
I've let down friends who've written me, who have asked if I'm okay because they hadn't heard from me in a long time. They implore me to write back to 'em. I must have a hermit gene in me.
True to my nature regarding writing letters, I take the path of least resistance, and let correspondance slide as easily as my Harley 74 skids on greasy roadside grime on her rear sixteen. Steven is one of those who has been victimized by my lack of enthusiasm for letter-writing.
A few years ago, Brendan, who is the president of the New York City Hell's Angels called me. He said...
"Hey Scott. I spoke to Steven Yee and he says he hasn't heard from you in a while. Wants to know if you're okay with him and if you can write to him."
Hey man, if the president of the NYC Hell's Angels calls, ya better listen! He's like Smith Barney. Smith Barney made money the old fashioned way, they earned it. Brendan garners respect the old fashioned way, he's earned it. He's also like E.F Hutton. When he speaks, people listen.
I assured Brendan that I was okay with Steven, who I like and respect tremendously. I just got lazy about my letter writing. Nothin' new there, man.
When it comes to letter-writing, I might make a three-toed sloth seem fast.
I'll tell ya what, man. That should be the least of my faults. At that point, I had been trading intermittent letters with Steven, who was, and is in prison. It's interesting news, that the NYC Angels now have a Chinese member.
I first met the NYC Hell's Angels when I was working as a motorcycle messenger in 1968. In the summer of 1968, I'd parked my Sportster at the curb in front of Quick Trip Messenger Service on East 25th Street, when I noticed a biker standing by my bike. He had a Davy Crockett type of cap on. He wore colors, which read, "ALIENS M.C." When I walked up and said, "What's up, man?" The other biker said, "This your bike?" I said yeah, why? He said withouit a ounce of guile, "I was thinking of stealing it." And ya know what, he was serious. We both had a good laugh, and he introduced himself. His name was Mario, and he and I became friends. He said, "You ever think of joining a club?" I said nope, no interest.
Mario rode an XLCH too, but his had a bolt-on hardtail attached to the stock frame. Mario's Sportster was quite striking.
The frame and his tin was painted winkle black. I wondered if he heated the parts up (but not the tank, or else the Tank Go Boom!) in the clubhouse's oven for max wrinkle effect.
She had a narrow glide fork, and had I believe, buckhorn bars. She had no front fender and a short sissy bar. One day Mario was in an extremely agitated state. He said, "The niggers burned my bike!" He actually meant Puerto Ricans, who were engaged in a turf war with the Angels. The burning of Mario's Sportster, was retribution for a beating the Angels gave one of the Hispanics.
It wasn't long after that, that the NYC Aliens attracted national media attention, after they tore up the New York Coliseum in a battle with rival club, at a custom car and motorcycle show. They then became the NYC chapter of the Hells Angels, when they were asborbed by the HAMC for showing class.
I had one occasion to enter their clubhouse on East 3rd Street, when I went there to trade a Tillotson carb for another carb, any other carb for my Sportster. The first thing I encountered when I came in past their front door, were two snarling attack dogs going bonkers at my arrival. This was in a narrow hallway leading past the front door.
I can't remember if they were Shepherds or Dobermans.
The only thing holding 'em back was a waist-high gate. Believe me, I was grateful for that gate. These were well-trained security dogs, that I have no doubt woud've shredded any intruders on command.
An Angel whose name is fuzzy to memory now, it might've been Mike, told the dogs to stand down, and led me into their shop. The shop consisted of a well-organized room.
He said, "We don't really trade. We sell parts." What I was looking for at the time was an S.U. carb. I eventually would find an S.U. carb off of an English sports car, at a Willets Point, Queens junkyard, which I rebuilt from parts I bought at a Manhattan English car dealer. I never got to use this S.U. because I eventually went to the S & S Super B, so I gave the S.U, to a friend. Besides, the Angel said, "Nobody wants a Tillotson." That was the consensus then. Apparently, The Firm agreed, since they replaced the Tillotson with the more effective Bendix caruretor.
I had an interesting conversation with a head and neck surgeon back then, after I had some surgery at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. This was in 1971. This doctor who was the senior resident who assisted in my case said, "So, you're a biker, huh? I met a biker named Sandy Alexander at a party. He's an actor and a member of the actors' union. He said that he's a Hell's Angel." Sandy at that time, was the president of the NYC club. I have vivid memories of the Angels of that time, and I must admit that I would've been surprised to see a Chinese member, then.
Chinese-American bikers are a subject that I've explored over the years, starting with a survey I did when I was writing for Iron Horse magazine. I have an interest in this, for obvious reasons.
Although I received many replies from Chinese independents, I never got any feedback from Chinese one percenters. There was a Chinese member of the Frisco Angels in the '60s, named Mel. Other than Mel and Steven, I know of no other Chinese one percenters in America. Until now, that is. There is that Chinese member of the NYC Angels Steven mentioned. Lynn Yee tells me his name is John, and he's a New York Nomad.
The neighborhood's seriously screwed now!
Steven is the first Chinese one percenter who I've seen in biker magazines over the years. If I'm not mistaken, his picture graced the cover of Outlaw Biker sometime in the late eighties. I started to correspond with Steven years ago, when another Hell's Angel gave me his mailing address in prison.
Steven Yee is an Ohio Hell's Angel. In this Facebook age, it's a lot harder to shirk my letter-replying responsibilities, as Facebook messages like Steven's to me, demand that I act responsibly! So of course, I responded. I will say this though:
With internet social media , it's lot easier to reply, than the analog method of picking up pen and paper. If anyone is interested, both Steven and his lovely old lady Lynn have Facebook pages.
Steven as you know from my previous writing about him, is an accomplished musician, songwriter and writer. He has talents that have flourished in the dry river bed of prison.
I must admit that there are times when I'm blasting down the highway on my stroker shovel, when I feel a twinge of guilt because Steven can't enjoy his Harley and all that outside life offers,
while he's a guest of the Graybar Hotel. There is the hope of parole in his future, though. I pray for his release, and Lynn's continued good health. Then we'll have another Chinese biker tearing up the streets. Steven's wife Lynn, is one those true-blue, good souls who has remained dedicated to Steven, and his legal case. He is indeed, lucky to have her. Hey Steven and Lynn, may I wish you the very best of the Holidays. Later.