Local Worship Leader Runs Motorcycle Service and Restoration Shop
Writer / Jamie Hergott Photographer / Amy Payne
Just like many others, Steve Hoy loved motorcycles as a kid. He took that hobby and has turned it into a career, as owner of Hoy Vintage Cycles in Brownsburg.
Located on the south side of Brownsburg just north of McCammon’s Irish Market, Hoy Vintage Cycles offers service, restoration, and parts, particularly for vintage motorcycles.
Hoy recently retired from working at FedEx for 29 years. He’s been married for 28 years, has a son and daughter in college, and lives in Brownsburg. His story is a winding one, but the joy he finds in the Hoy Vintage Cycles garage is evident on his face as he talks about it.
“My passion for bikes started when I was little,” Hoy says. “I was always intrigued with anything that had an engine and two wheels.”
His parents weren’t well-off enough to buy him dirt bikes, so he spent his time riding his friends’ dirt bikes any time he had the opportunity. It continued to be just a hobby until he got married, got a job and had children.
Once his kids reached an age where they could ride a minibike, which is a two-wheeled, engine-powered recreational bike, he wanted to give them the opportunity to experience his first love. He took them motocross riding and woods riding, sharing his love of the sport with his family.
“It just progressed from there,” Hoy says, describing how he ended up getting dirt bikes and finally ventured into motocross at the age of 45. “We went from doing woods riding to doing all the jumps and stuff. Some give me a hard time for doing it at my age, but I say, while I still can, why not?”
If Hoy had a flame for bikes before, his first street bike ignited an all-out passion. His 1969 Honda Dream 305 was a black motorcycle with chrome – a classic ‘60s look. Even the year was an intentional choice, as 1969 was the year he was born.
“Once I got that up and running and riding around, I looked for other bikes to tinker on,” Hoy says.
He began buying bikes out of garages, sheds and barns, and flipping them, just like the cast of “American Pickers.” He spent evenings and weekends working on a couple bikes at a time out of his garage. As he began joining motorcycle communities on Facebook, others began asking him if they could bring their bike to him for service.
He retired in 2017 and began working on bikes full time out of his three-car garage, making sure, of course, to leave a spot for his wife’s car.
“I love taking a bike, making it just right for me, and then going for a ride,” Hoy says.
One of his favorite rides is the Tail of the Dragon, which is just about as treacherous as it sounds. Located in Deals Gap along the North Carolina and Tennessee border, this 13-mile stretch of road dodges mountains and cliffs, and is made of more than 250 turns.
“You go maybe 50 or 60 miles an hour on the straightaways, but 20 to 30 on the switchbacks, dodging cars,” Hoy says. “There’s a mountain on one side and cliff on the other.”
Over time the three-car garage wasn’t cutting it, so Hoy and his wife built a house with an external garage. This gave him the space to take on more projects, allowing him to bring in a mechanic to work with him. Kim Wroblewski has been there ever since. Work picked up so much that they bought their current location in 2017, and brought on mechanic Mike Hubert.
Hoy’s personal collection had grown to 15 vintage motorcycles, but late last winter his mother passed away and the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Hoy’s perspective and priorities shifted, as happened for many others, and he decided to pare down his collection to three bikes and get back to simpler hobbies on the side, such as flying radio-controlled planes in Danville in his free time.
There are other motorcycle shops regionally, and Hoy has talked shop with the owners of many of them. He appreciates their expertise and experience. While he doesn’t consider himself highfalutin, he says Hoy Vintage Cycles covers a wider range of work than most.
“We sell parts for newer and older bikes,” Hoy says. “We offer safety inspections, tires on anything, oil changes, restoration and some fabrication work.”
One of his favorite restomod (a combination of restoration and modification) projects was a 1972 Honda CB750. As his team fixed the bike, they made other changes like a modification to add a classic cafe seat, then got it running well and stopping well, painted it, and completed other repairs. Many jobs are fairly simple – if the bike just needs to run and stop well, it can take just a couple days. Bigger jobs like restorations can take up to two or three months.
“In this industry and this shop, you’ll meet the most diverse people,” Hoy says. “One of my favorite parts about owning this shop is talking with customers and hearing their motorcycle stories.”
While many events are on hold due to COVID, Hoy is still hoping usual activities will resume by summertime, such as a monthly event on the west side during which participants gather their vintage bikes, ride to a location together, and have dinner. The community of not only his staff, but also his customers and other motorcycle enthusiasts in the area, is what Hoy enjoys the most.
“Our main goal here is to give us all something to do,” Hoy says. “We want to get these old bikes back on the road. We want to keep them alive.”
Hoy’s childhood was as windy as the Tail of the Dragon he loves to ride, but he loves to talk about it. He considers every turn a part of who he is. Adopted as a baby, Hoy eventually grew up to know and have a relationship with his birth parents. His birth mom was a picker and won a contest to meet with Frank Fritz, one of the stars of the show “American Pickers.” Hoy was able to join her, take some old bikes, and have lunch with his mom and Fritz. Suddenly Hoy’s natural tendencies to fix up old things made sense.
As a child he also loved singing, particularly in the shower.
“That reverb is just perfect in the shower,” Hoy says.
His adoptive mom heard him and immediately put him in church to sing, and a year of voice lessons followed. He now serves as the worship leader at CrossBridge Baptist Church in Indianapolis, mostly singing but also playing guitar and piano.
His wife also grew up in the church, and when they got married, they helped Bethesda Baptist plant Joy Baptist (now CrossBridge), one of 10 church plants supported by Bethesda.
“We’ve been at CrossBridge 15 years,” Hoy says. “I’ve been on staff the same amount of years. It’s not an easy task to reach this area with the gospel.”
Hoy is just as passionate about ministry as he is about bikes. In fact, he feels that sums him up just fine.
“Music and motorcycles,” he says with a laugh, spreading out his hands. “That’s me.”
Hoy Vintage Cycles is located at 3830 North State Road 267 in Brownsburg. For more info including hours of operation and event updates, call 317-850-6354 and visit hoyvc.com.