Remembering the life of Indian Larry – Lawrence DeSmedt
Indian Larry (Lawrence DeSmedt) was a distinguished motorcycle builder, artist and biker, who was born on April 28, 1949.
He earned the name Indian Larry when he was riding a Indian chopper on the streets of New York.
Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth and Von Dutch were Larry’s inspirations as a kid.
His first reconstruct was his sister Tina’s tricycle, which he equipped with Schwinn Bicycle handlebars and a lawnmower engine.
He bought his first motorcycle; a 1939 Harley Knucklehead for a couple of hundred dollars and took it apart in a few hours but spent nine months rearranging.
He learned to weld from Conrad Stenglein and a month before finishing high school he went to California to live with his sister Dianne.
Dianne was murdered on July 21, 1971, and he brought her body back with him to New York for her funeral.
His sister’s death had a devastating effect on him, and he spiraled into drug addiction.
He would rob stores to pay for the drugs, and in 1972, he was arrested for robbing a bank by two officers.
At the age of 23, Lawrence was sent to Sing Sing prison for three years.
He earned his GED and started taking courses in welding and mechanics, and it was in prison that Larry honed his mechanical skills.
After the end of his prison sentence, his bike, a 1950 Indian Chief chopper was featured in Iron Horse magazine, and he was also featured on the cover of Artforum magazine.
He was profiled with his bike Grease Monkey in Easyriders magazine which won the 1998 Editor’s Choice Award.
In 2000, he worked with his fellow friends to open Gasoline Alley in Brooklyn.
Larry came to the attention of the general public with his appearance on Discovery Channel program, Motorcycle Mania in 2001.
On August 28, 2004, he was performing his signature stunt in front of 8000 fans on ‘Grease Monkey,’ when he jumped off before the bike fell and struck his head.
He was airlifted to the hospital and later died on August 30, 2004, due to head injuries.
Discovery Channel aired the show ‘Biker Build-off’ in 2004, which included a tribute to the legendary biker.