The next time local Harley enthusiasts are riding down Route 113, they might consider making a pit stop at the Haus of Trikes, formerly of Ocean City, Md., and convert their bikes to “trikes,” by adding a third wheel.
Haus of Trikes are custom motorcycle, trike and sidecar conversion specialists for Honda and Harley-Davidson trikes. They can convert Honda, Harley Davidson or other motorcycles to a Motor Trike, Trike Shop, Champion, Mystery Design or Voyager Trike conversion. Haus of Trikes can also add sidecars, electric shifters, hitches and trailers.
Owner Jeff Pickard said that because bikes are getting bigger and bigger with a wider audience, the added balance of a the third wheel is a draw for people.
“Trikes offer a comfort level,” Pickard said. “A safer feeling for the baby boomers for when your knees get bad,” he said, laughing.
After an accident left Pickard unable to ride a motorcycle for a brief period, he started riding trikes. He was also at a point in his life when it was time to do something different, so he and Ed Sovriegn started Haus of Trikes in Ocean City in 2000. They opened the Selbyville location in September 2007, right before the annual Delmarva Bike Week. Both are originally from Michigan, but, like many, they came to the Eastern Shore for one reason or another and have made it their home.
Pickard decided to move to the Selbyville location, in part, because of the immediate savings for the customers — because of Delaware’s lack of sales tax.
“Because trikes are seen as added parts, like new wheels for your car,” said Sovriegn, “it’s an immediate saving for customers.”
“We have a guy from Connecticut who said the savings in tax is worth it for him to drive here,” added Pickard.
In addition to their new tax-free spot right on Route 113, customers can find Haus of Trikes on the Internet, so they have customers from all over.
“Our main customer base is within 200 miles: Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Virginia Beach... But, we are doing trikes now for people from Colorado, Ohio, Oregon, England and Ireland,” said Pickard.
“And we have a good following locally,” added Sovriegn.
To convert a bike, they remove the swing arm and rear wheel saddlebags and replace it with a new frame, a new swing arm to accommodate the new differential, two new wheels and a new body. They also offer the Voyager, a variation that is not permanent and that can cost one-third what a true conversion might cost.
“It is an inexpensive way to accommodate a lot of different bike models,” said Sovriegn. “The Voyager opens it up for people with smaller bikes because it can fit 100 different models.”
The other brands they offer are more customizable, though, because they only fit a dozen or so bikes and are a permanent fixture.
All of the conversion work is done right in the shop. They also perform maintenance on trikes.
“We want to stress that we do maintenance on trikes — not motorcycles. There are a lot of bike shops already out there and we don’t want to take from them,” emphasized Pickard.
“We also want to say that we are a family-oriented shop,” added Pickard, pointing out that they have something for everyone.
And that’s the truth. Pickard’s wife, Edith Vogl, has opened up Vogl’s Gallery right down the way from Haus of Trikes, so if trikes aren’t a customer’s cup of tea, or they’ve already placed an order, they can walk down to the gallery and view art from local artists, sign up for a class, or buy some antique furniture.
Vogl made the move in September 2007, as well, after having the Beach Easle Art Gallery in West Ocean City for five years.
“We were more oriented toward tourists and the beach. And here we are more oriented toward the permanent residents. We have things for houses, apartments, gifts and can also help with decorating and color choices for your home,” said Vogl.
In addition to the gallery filled with art from her own collection and her late father’s, Vogl has prints from other local artists and some from her students, as well. The gallery is drenched in color and texture on the walls, with soothing music in the background.
“When people go next door,” she said, “they usually have a purpose. When they come here, they can usually just look around and relax. I wanted a comfortable place where people can sit down and not feel rushed, and I’m making lots of friends!”
Vogl teaches watercolor, oils and acrylics Tuesday through Saturday, and does framing.
“The day the sign went up, we had people come in for framing, because that’s the bread and butter for most art galleries, because not everyone has the money to spend on art,” she said, laughing.
She also noted that the Selbyville location has helped with business.
“We have more walk-in traffic here now. I used to have friends that would say that couldn’t come and see me because they didn’t want to fight the traffic, but they don’t seem to mind coming here — not to mention the sales tax. That’s a significant amount when you are talking a couple of hundred dollars.”
Born in Germany, Vogl was working outside of Baltimore in a high-stress corporate environment when her doctor told her next life choice would either be “the finish of her life or the start of a new life.” So, she moved, to Ocean Pines, Md.
“It was a turning point in my life, lifestyle and job and I came here and fell in love with the ocean. I didn’t know it was what I had been missing all my life. I hadn’t painted in about five years and got started again after moving.” she shared.
“People in this country don’t understand retirement. They think it means to not work. That’s how you die real quick. Retirement is about enjoying every bit of what you are doing. One of the ladies that takes my classes lives here and commutes to her job in Baltimore, and every week she comes bounding in and says, ‘I’m ready to relax!’ But by the end of the class, she is relaxed.”
Vogl said she gets quite the cross-section of population coming in for classes and that they always have fun.
“They aren’t allowed to not have fun,” she added with a grin. “I want to force people to bring that inner child out. You can’t make mistakes — when you make a ‘boo-boo,’ it’s just a new opportunity to take it in a different direction.”
“I never knew I could enjoy myself this much,” she added. “How many people do you know have a toy box like this? I get to paint and play with colors, and things are constantly changing. I’ve had 5-year-old kids in here and grandmothers that have never picked up a paintbrush.”
Five years ago, Vogl and Pickard married, and Vogl got introduced to trikes. After years in working in the stress-filled corporate environment, Vogl now relaxes by teaching her art classes, running her gallery, swimming, riding her trike and spreading the fun of “retirement” around.
“It’s fun. One day we were at lunch and we met a bunch of ladies from the [nursing] home in Millsboro and we gave them demo rides. And they all said, ‘Oh, this is neat. This is so cool.’”
Haus of Trikes and the Vogl Gallery are located in Selbyville on Route 113 South, at 36350 Dupont Boulevard. For more information on Vogl Gallery, visit www.voglgallery.com online or call (302) 436-1727. For more information on Haus of Trikes, or to take a demo ride, visit www.hausoftrikes.com or call (302) 436-7400 or toll free at 1-800-499-2283.