It was a tribute fit for a king, a chorus of countless V-Twins singing their accolades through bellowing pipes and open throttles. The chorus celebrating the life of Arlen Ness was fittingly led by son Cory aboard Arlen’s favorite bike, SmoothNess, grandsons Zach on Ness-Stalgia and Max on Team-Ness by their father’s side. The day-long celebration included a touching ceremony at Crosswinds Church in Livermore, California, coupled with a memorable motorcycle parade down Dublin Boulevard culminated by an immense gathering at Arlen Ness Enterprises.

And though the “King of Custom Motorcycles” may no longer be with us, Arlen’s legacy will live on thanks to a generous $12,000 donation to All Kids Bike by Polaris Industries. The Ness family designed a signature line of Victory Motorcycles back when Victory was the sole cruiser motorcycle division in the Polaris portfolio, and the two have had an intimate relationship since. At the memorial, Arlen Ness Motorcycles announced it’d be using the money to support the All Kids Bike program in schools in Moorhead, Minnesota, Arlen’s hometown.

The Ness Family is joined by Polaris' President of Motorcycles Steve Menneto to donate a $12,000 check to All Kids Bike. 

All Kids Bike aims to teach every child in America how to ride a bike through Kindergarten PE classes. The program is spearheaded by the Strider Education Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization. Strider is the maker of balance bikes, small bicycles without pedals, whose popularity has boomed over the past few years. The Kindergarten PE Program would “equip schools with everything teachers need to teach children how to ride bikes, including teacher training and certification, a structured 8-lesson curriculum, a fleet of 22 Strider 14x Balance Bikes, 22 Pedal Conversion Kits, 22 fully-adjustable helmets, and a five-year support plan. Through the Kindergarten PE Program, every child in America will enjoy the mental and physical benefits of riding a bike, as well as the fun, freedom and mobility it provides.”

This also benefits the motorcycling community by introducing two-wheeled fun at an early age, and inspiring the next generation of motorcyclists has been a hot topic recently. The correlation is evident by All Kids Bike brand ambassadors, a list that includes notable names in the motorcycle industry including Sara Liberte, Robert Pandya, and Marilyn Stemp. Both Pandya and Stemp just made the Dealernews list of “Top 100 Leaders in Powersports,” so there’s little doubt about the program’s intention to serve as a stepping stone for the motorcycle industry as well.

Soon schoolchildren in Moorhead will be learning to ride on Strider bikes thanks to the Ness family. Intuition tells me at least one or two of them will be going “vroom vroom” as they motor around the playground. Family man that he was, Arlen would undoubtedly be ecstatic to know his legacy lives on thanks to tykes on two-wheels.