Stephen Pate checking out a Moto Guzzi

My cousin Stephen Pate opens Italian motorcycle shop in Windy City

Sid and Stephen Pate of Restoration Werks eye the fancy Vincati, only one in the world
Stephen Pate of Restoration Werks and Big Sid Biberman eye the fancy Vincati, only one in the world (photo by Matthew Biberman)

The continuing adventures of my cousins Stephen Pate

One day a few years ago, I came across my long-lost cousin from the States Stephen Pate while surfing the net. He had a website called StephenPate.com. In our family, we usually defer to the oldest family member when registering dot.coms except when your cousin beats it to it.

Stephen, my cousin and not the one I’m named after, has an interesting career. In 2006 he opened a shop in Milwaukee to fix motorcycles. Starting with $500 and a Craigslist listing, Restoration Werks was so busy that he soon was working on more than 80 motorcycles.

This proves the inherent value of Craigslist for real people doing really important work. I don’t think my cousin was running a sex ring out of the back of his shop like some people who use Craigslist. See State AG ultimatum to Craigslist: Pull racy ads or face prosecution

Stephen has built quite a shop for himself. Look at that Ariel.

Restoration Werks Ariel photo by Matthew Biberman
Restoration Werks Ariel photo by Matthew Biberman

After moving back to Chicago, Stephen had a new plan.

“I am focusing exclusively on the restoration of vintage European motorcycles, scooters and micro-cars. Occasionally, I will be working on vintage bicycles and motor-bicycles as well, simply because I dig ‘em… Big Time. I will continue to do select service work on all makes and models of machines. However, this will not be the shop’s primary focus and it will only be done as the restoration schedule allows.” Restoration Werks

Some pretty nice bikes there at Restoration Werks.  I know quite a few friends on PEI who will be angling for personal introductions to my cousin. The line up is at the bar and to the right boys.

Get a look at the Nimbus from Denmark (photo by Matthew Biberman)
Get a look at the Nimbus from Denmark (photo by Matthew Biberman)

Matthew Biberman, the author of Big Sid’s Vincati: The Story of a Father, a Son, and the Motorcycle of a Lifetime, available on Amazon.com, took those pictures while visiting Restoration Werks from Louisville Kentucky.

Biberman has written a book about the journey he and his father took together building the Vincati from a Vincent and a Ducati. Don’t get me started on that one. It’s a story for another day.

Benelli in top shape (photo by Matthew Biberman)
Benelli in top shape (photo by Matthew Biberman)

Personally, I’m embarrassed to admit my two motorbikes were just that. I had a Honda 55 when I was 16 and a Honda 90 dirt bike at 29. No fancy Italian bikes, not even an old Harley.

Stephen Pate checking out a Moto Guzzi
Stephen Pate checking out a Moto Guzzi

I did race a cop on his Harley Davidson police special down Quinpool Road in Halifax. It was the summer of ’66. I’d spent my next year’s tuition on what was then a cool chick magnet. Remember the Beach Boys song “Honda Honda, it’s all right.”

The Honda Cub was so dang slow you had to lean over going down hill to hit 55, which is what the cop said I was doing when he caught me a mile later in Armdale. I was so intrigued I made him show me the speed. Paid that ticket with pride and left the Province two weeks later with only two points left.

Not a problem since when I got to Montreal I just applied for a new license all over again. They didn’t care if you came from Mars in Quebec back then. Now they have reciprocity so don’t try that trick at home kids.

That’s enough about me.

Good luck to my cousin Stephen Pate and his business restoring Italian motorcycles. Some guys don’t get the best jobs. They invent them. Pates are like that.