While attending any Lowrider shows throughout the country, you are sure to witness the slick artistic rides, stunning ladies, and hopefully, some amazing customized bicycles! At times, these intricate twin bar frames may be over shadowed by the hoopla of the autos at the show, but it is important to acknowledge these bikes and their builders as the level of creativity is equal to their four-wheeled counterparts. As you walk down the aisles, please consider that many of these spring-forked show pieces are also built by young enthusiasts with limited funds along with greatly appreciated help from family and fellow club members. Few things are more satisfying than watching our future Lowrider generations embark on the right path thanks to a mentor or parent with years of Lowriding flowing through their veins. Who could forget yesterday's memorable father/son bike duos? Mike and Mike Lopez, Jr.'s "Casino Dreamin," Pat and Patrick Torrez' "Smile Now, Cry Later," and the Colorado bike club that is the Trujillo family, all have vast contributions to the Lowrider bike culture.
This Pecos duo of Israel and Austin Rubio can now be added to this list, thanks to their latest project, "Cruel and Unusual Punishment." In this Texas desert town, the elder Rubio has been a member of Our Style car club since the ‘90s, and it seemed only fitting that his son, Austin, would follow his father's footsteps in this shared passion for Lowriding. At age 10, during Christmas, Austin received an Aztlan bicycle from his parents. Soon after, this new two-wheeled owner was cruising down the sand dusted pavement and competing locally in the street class. For the next few years, Austin learned some bodywork techniques from dad while working on the family ‘77 Monte Carlo, which built up his own builder's confidence in the process. At the age of 15, young Rubio started on what would ultimately become a three-year bike project. After the initial teardown, Israel completed the metal work per his son's blueprint specs. Once committing to the final design, Austin and his fellow club members followed up by smoothing out the modifications and prepping the customized frame for paint. Austin knew of only one person that could capture his multi-color vision, customizer Sam Salazar, of Innovative Customs, in Lubbock. "I explained my concept, and told Sam to go all-out. When I saw it for the first time, it was better than I expected!" Unable to his excitement, Austin elaborates. "The mural of the man in the electric chair coincides perfectly with my bike's name!" Margarito Patino, of San Antonio, stitched up a tight biscuit tuck to compliment the paint scheme.
Final steps in this project included installing the custom accessories, built by Krazy Kutting of Yuma and Bruce Horton of Pecos, as well as adding the custom tubing done by Odessa's Tony Candia. Since the completion of "Cruel and Unusual Punishment," the father/son duo have competed with the full custom two-wheeler throughout the southwest, taking home numerous awards but always anticipating a "personal best" with a sweepstakes win at a LRM show. In the 2011 LRM Denver Super Show, Austin reached that objective by placing 2nd in Best of Show. "At that moment, my dad told me, ‘Congratulations, you made it to the top of the peak.'" The statement will never be forgotten by Austin; who sends a special thanks to his mother, Yolanda, and his sister, Senovia, for their support during "our projects and weekend trips." Today, Austin continues to cruise the sand-dusted streets of his hometown in his '96 Fleetwood, but he will never forget the life lessons and family values learned from his father's influence and this bike build. Paz, Tejas.