Indian Larry, the renowned motorcycle builder, stunt rider, and artist, was a true icon in the custom motorcycle world.
Indian Larry won the hearts of motorcycle aficionados all across the world with his artistic brilliance, bold daredevil acts, and superb craftsmanship.
However, his life was tragically cut short, leaving fans and the motorcycle community mourning the loss of a legend.
In this article, we'll explore the circumstances surrounding the untimely death of Indian Larry.
Who Is Indian Larry?
Indian Larry was a stunt rider, biker, and motorcycle builder.
He was born as Lawrence DeSmedt on April 28, 1949.
He became known as Indian Larry in the 1980s while riding a chopped Indian motorcycle through the streets of New York City.
Larry, regarded as an old-school chopper builder, advocated for increased appreciation of choppers as an art form.
He was a fan of Von Dutch and Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, whom he subsequently met in California, and became interested in hot cars and motorbikes at a young age.
Indian Larry's brilliance was finally widely recognized in the last few years of his life.
In 2004, he died as a result of injuries incurred in a motorcycle accident while performing at a bike show.
In September 1998, his bike, Grease Monkey, was featured in Easyriders magazine.
Indian Larry appeared on the Discovery Channel show Motorcycle Mania II in 2001, followed by three different Biker Build-Off shows.
During this time, he created the motorcycles Daddy-O (also known as the Rat Fink bike), Wild Child, and Chain of Mystery.
How Did Indian Larry Die?
Indian Larry died on Monday, August 30, 2004, at 3:30 a.m. in an accident. He was 55 years old.
Larry's final words were to his wife Bambi (who was present at the event), “Sweetie, sweetie.”
Timothy White, a photographer and friend, announced his death.
He stated that Mr. Desmedt had traveled to Charlotte to film a new segment for the Discovery Channel series “The Great Biker Build-Off.”
Larry was always careful to build his bikes with aligned geometry, so they didn't veer off to the side while riding down the road.
One advantage of this level of bike stability was that Larry could perform his stunts on his own bikes, such as standing fully upright on the seat while speeding down the road.
Larry had performed this stunt countless times over the years.
Larry would stand up while balancing himself and then outstretch his arms in a “T” configuration, known as a “crucifix” pose.
Larry rode through the tunnel of flames in front of a crowd of thousands that afternoon. Larry attempted the standing stunt again a short time later, this time on his bike, Grease Monkey.
Larry had expressed reservations about performing the stunt that day. Larry told Mondo that he didn't feel good about doing it, but he felt obligated to do it.
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Larry usually did this stunt after the bigger stunts, according to Bambi, as “his way of blowing off steam…winding down.”
Something went wrong while Larry was performing the maneuver, and the front end of his bike began to wobble.
Larry fell off the bike, hitting his head, instead of being able to jump down in the seat and regain control.
Larry sustained serious head injuries and he was airlifted to the Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte.