Clark turning heads, winning awards with bike

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 3, 1999

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / March 3, 1999

MT. AIRY – With its shiny blue frame, chrome handlebars and white-walledtires, it is definitely a work of art.

It has won numerous awards from competitions around the area, including those from the prestigious World of Wheels, a national competition.

And it was built by a young man from right here in the River Parishes.

It is the “Twisted Fantasy,” a lowrider bicycle owned by Johnny Clark Jr.,the son of Joyce and Johnny Clark Sr. of Mt. AiryThe Clarks started their creation when Johnny Jr. started buying lowriderbike magazines in early 1990s and showed them to his dad.

“When he got an interest in it, I bought him a bike and it went on from there,” Johnny Clark Sr. said. The bike was a 20-inch Schwinn. The Clarks started making adjustmentsto it, a tweak here and a change there. The parts came from California andNew Mexico from stores found in lowrider magazines.

The Clarks have kept the bike in mint condition since. And one only has tolook at its frame and handlebars, both made of twisted chrome, to see where the name comes from. A blue velour seat and mirrors with moreblue velour around them add a touch as does a license plate with an airbrush drawing on it.

The Clarks began entering the bike in car shows in 1996 and have been to quite a few since then. The bike would finish in the Top 25 at the SecondAnnual Sunshine Kids Benefit Car Show and in the Top 50 at the Cystic Fibrosis Benefit Show in 1998. That year, the Clarks also entered the bikeat the World of Wheels competition in the Superdome and came away with the third-place award in the Lowrider Bicycle competition.

Originality and imagination play a big part in the judging. So does how thebike is displayed. The Clarks display Twisted Fantasy in front of a largeairbrushed print of the bike done by Johnny McGee of Royal T’s in LaPlace.

McGee also did the license plate on the bike. The Clarks said they lookthrough magazines to get ideas for their bike but that the display was their own idea.

The Clarks continued to tinker with the bike and entered into the World of Wheels, the largest one in Louisiana, this past January. This time the bikeand Johnny Jr. took home the first place trophy in the Lowrider Bicyclecompetition.

The Clarks are currently preparing the bike for the new season of competition which runs from March to September for the smaller competitions. Johnny Sr. said he and Johnny Jr. try to have one or twodifferent parts for every competition. Larger changes and new parts willbe added by the time the World of Wheels comes back to the Superdome in January.

“The sky’s the limit,” Johnny Sr. said when asked if their was anylimitations on what modifications can be made to the bike. “The mainthing is to try to be different from everybody else.”

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