Bruce Springsteen has been riding motorcycles around Asbury Park and the Jersey Shore area since the 1960s, and it’s safe to say that The Boss won’t be stopping anytime soon. Even when his bikes give him problems.
Although he’s had a number of different bikes over the years, notably including several Harley-Davidsons, one of his more recent purchases drew some media attention a couple years back. It wasn’t for the best of reasons, but let’s break down the story behind Springsteen’s Moto Guzzi motorcycle, and why it was being talked about so much.
Bruce Springsteen’s Moto Guzzi
In case you aren’t aware, Billy Joel happens to own a custom motorcycle shop in Long Island, New York by the name of 20th Century Cycles. They specialize in restoring vintage bikes, so that the owners can get practical daily use out of them.
Springsteen, being a longtime friend of Joel’s, decided to check out what he had to offer. Billy Joel ended up custom building a Moto Guzzi cruiser for Springsteen, and it looks absolutely top notch. With a clean jet black paint job and chrome trim to top it off, this older motorcycle looks like a brand new bike fresh out of the dealer.
Now, the specific year and model of Springsten’s motorcycle is unclear. The best guess by fans is that it’s a ’70s or ’80s Eldorado, California, or Police special. Either way, Springsteen’s ride is mint.
When Bruce’s Bike Broke Down
Here’s where things got a little interesting. Back on Veterans Day in 2016, Springsteen decided it was the perfect day to get some seat time on the Moto Guzzi.
Unfortunately, he didn’t make it too far before having to pull off to the side of the road. The motorbike wouldn’t start, and Springsteen was basically stranded where he stopped.
Luckily for him, a pack of Monmouth Post 54 Freehold American Legion riders happened to be passing through the area. The war veterans — Dan Barkalow, Ryan Bailey, and Bob Grigs — saw the stranded bike, and pulled over to offer some assistance.
Little did the helpful group of bikers know, the motorcyclist in need of assistance was none other than Springsteen himself They introduced themselves to the celeb, and then got to work diagnosing the bike’s problems. They narrowed it down to a dead battery, but were unable to actually access it.
The motorcycle riders ended up giving Bruce a ride on the back of a bike to the Original Mulligans Grill in Farmingdale so that he could wait for a ride. In the meantime, they grabbed drinks and snapped a few photos. One of those photos was posted to the Freehold American Legion Facebook page, where it received quiet a bit of attention.
When Billy Joel got word of what happened, he was playing a concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Joel took personal accountability for what happened, and even played Springsteen’s “Born to Run” during the NYC show as a tribute to the legend.
In the end, apologies were made, the bike was fixed, and Springsteen was back on his steed once again.