In October of 2012 (October 10th to be exact) I took my bikes tins to JB's Custom Colors in Kamloops BC to be painted.

I wanted to be pro active and get them done early so that my bike would be ready for filming of my TV Show, "Ride Like a Local" on Eastlink TV and for the "Biker's United in Remembrance" Conga.

I gave Jeff Balmes my logo files in the right format - Adobe Illustrator & high resolution pdf.
He had my company's font.
He had my chopper chick and he had my maple leaf.  See the photo below.

I gave him clear instructions as to what I wanted,  in fact I spent a morning showing him exactly what I wanted...

My chopper chick with the tribal maple leaf in flames for the fairing.

On my tanks were to be three flaming maple leafs each getting progressively smaller and the in military stencil - "Belt Drive Betty" in ghost flames.

On my saddlebags and tour pack were to be three flaming maple leafs all the same size with "" again in military stencil, in ghost flames running through the maple leafs.

I was clear, supplied good foundation art and I waited.
And I waited.

No basic drawings were sent to me as to the concept...
No photos were forth coming.
When I asked for photos or when the tins would be ready - I got told, oh you'll be happy.

In February I had a photo shoot arranged with me and my bike - I had to cancel that - why?
No tins back from the painter.

Then I had another photo shoot scheduled and it got cancelled because - again - I had no tins.

I got excuse after excuse as to why I couldn't have photos at least - always being told, "I am working on it." Hell I even got told once that they had been shipped DHL and another time that they had been sent with a friend of his.  But when they never showed up and I called, I got the run around and a hundred excuses.

Now one of the reasons I took the tins to Jeff to be painted is he is a master at true flame, but come to find out that not only did Jeff not do the work, he had a 23 year old do it.
Nothing against the young man or his talent, which I think - once he has some time on a gun - will be HUGE...But - that is not who was supposed to do the work.

I finally got this photo TODAY - keep in mind, we begin filming here in Grande Prairie on Saturday and I need my tins by Thursday so that I can ride my own bike...

I am so disappointed. What I see here is uneven lettering that is in no way shape or form military stencil.  The maple leaf is not representative of the maple leaf that comprises a good chunk of my logo and he had not even begun on the chopper or the chopper chick.

This is what it looked like at 2 pm TODAY. After 7 months, this is all that is done.

The tanks, saddlebags and tour pack are completely untouched other than for base black.
Now keep in mind that I never once changed my mind - I knew EXACTLY what I wanted and that has never changed since day 1.

This is not it.

This is not my logo, it is not representative of my is nothing like what I wanted - nothing at all like I had explained to Jeff. Nothing at all like the artwork I supplied.

I have asked them to sand it down and paint it black, clear coat it and get the tins back to me.
I start filming THIS SATURDAY.  (Jeff has known all along about everyone of my deadlines.)

My husband needs at least a day to put it together and the clear needs some time to cure.

Jeff was going to be getting some prime advertising on my TV show, a feature in the paper and some other advertising in our phone book and newspaper. He had already benefited from some advertising I had done for him before...about $1,000 worth that we had agreed would go towards a future paint job - this paint job...

I am simply stunned that someone would do this to their own business - let's face it my bike is going to be a rolling billboard for over 26,000 KMS this summer as I go across this country riding with hundreds and hopefully thousands of other riders as we film for "Ride like a Local" and raise funds for the charities attached to my Conga - and the exposure value compared to the cost of the paint job - well -  a top end paint job will cost $10 grand and more from a guy like Blake at Cross-Eyed - one that is front to back, top to bottom, graphics.

This paint job was truly and well going to come in at about $3,000 - $5,000 tops.

My newspaper, web site and social media network reach upward of 150,000 people per month.  
Then there are the articles I write for the Northern Horizon and East Coat Biker - another 130,000 reached bi-monthly. I am not sure how far TV will extend my reach, but suffice it to say that over 11 years of hard work, I have built up a communications network of somewhere around 250,000 - 300,000 people. And his artwork would have been on my bike for a whole season, maybe two...and in a guaranteed 13 episodes on TV and in countless articles...

I estimate the value of that kind of advertising and publicity is well over $65,000.

Is this kind of marketing opportunity not one you would put every effort into?
Am I wrong in thinking that an artist would appreciate the chance to have their art promoted extensively?

This was supposed to be a win - win situation - Jeff and his business would get the advertising and exposure they needed and my bike would have had a new look.

Instead there is a 10 year friendship/working relationship up in flames.

Who does this to themselves?

Who puts someone like me in this position where I have to tell you why my poor girl - "Black Betty" did not get the 100,000 KM facelift she so richly deserves. The one I have been talking about for months.

I am stunned to say the least.

So today, I did some playing around with photoshop - below - now bear in mind that I am NOOOO artist but I am investigating having Speedpro Signs here in Grande Prairie wrap my bike and their layout artist and I have been talking about what I want.

There is no time left to go to another air brusher, not if I am going to make it to all of the events that I am supposed to be filming at in May and June and then the Conga beginning June 18th.

It won't be everything I wanted, but at least the art will be far more representative of my brand - my business. I wanted the flames licking off the ends of the leaf, but I don't know how to make that happen.
This is what the maple leaf would look like on black...

And who knows - "Black Betty" may have to stay gloss black for this season - we shall see.

I am a disappointed human being who has learned a valuable lesson - when something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't and I should have listened to my gut, months ago and drove to Kamloops and gotten my tins.  I should not have listened to the advice of others about dealing with artists and to have patience.

I should have done what I felt was right back in February and gone and gotten them.

So a little advice from me to you with love...follow your gut - ALWAYS and if something starts feeling like a jerk around, it probably is.

Don't ask me why Jeff has put me in this situation, one where in I have to tell you all, that this exciting paint job that I have been waiting on has turned out to be a flame out...and I get to share this disappointing news with all of you...

I am so sad and disappointed that there are no words to express the pain I feel.

I never imagined that I would be sharing anything but utter excitement and joy.

Oh well - that my friends is life...time to move on and shake it off.

This too shall pass.

Have a good evening everyone, I am going to borrow my husband's Road King and go for a brain clearer...cause, yeah, I have no bike of my own to ride now and who knows if I will even get my tins back - I have NO IDEA and tonight I am beyond caring.

Tomorrow I will deal with whether or not I get my tins back and what a plan B could be if he decides to make this more painful than it already is.

One way or another the Conga will go on, the charities I have chosen to support will not be let down by me - if I have to go get a loan to buy new skins and get her painted - I will...this situation has a solution and I will find it.  Just not tonight...

Belt Drive Betty
Editor & Rider

Post a Comment

  1. cruisinthru7:55 AM

    That is most unfortunate..but some times things like this happen because a far better solution is waiting for you. Possitive thoughts your way and maybe the paint job of your dreams will show up where you least expect. Silver linings.

  2. Anonymous11:17 AM

    If you get a chance to use Crosseyed Airbrushing
    in calgary you would be happy. I have used Blake on two projects I have done and all work has been amazing. He's a little more expensive than others, but the communication with clients is superb, and he aims to make you happy. I had a full chopper he did, with the frame, all metal, all accessories and it took him a total of 6 weeks from when he started. Have to book way in advance, but once he starts its his whole focus. Im not affiliated with the shop, just a satisfied customer

  3. This just ain't cool, BDB. Not cool at all.

  4. Youare right Jeff - what you did is not cool at all and you have cost me a ton of time, a lot - a huge amount of tears etc...YOU sir are the one who is not cool here.

  5. Dang Betty. It seems you've had a very bad setback. In fact, since I've been reading your blog you've had one disappointment after another. I really pity you and all of this heartache you've been dealing with. I'm hoping life turns around and you find some happiness in all of this misery.
    Sending you well wishes!

  6. Ah Sash - it's the nature of the job I am in.
    I will not blow smoke or sunshine up anyone's arse - if I did - my word would mean nothing to the riders who have come to value my opinion.

    I am blessed to be able to write about many things - to meet wonderful people, and ride to wonderful places in Canada.

    I tend to get the stuff off my chest that could weigh me down - share the lesson I have learned and then move on.

    Things might get me down for a day or two but trust me - I love what I do and I love being of service to my community - if I didn't find enjoyment in it - it wouldn't be worth it.

  7. Anonymous10:43 PM

    whether it is bike shops or painters, mechanics or artists I am tired of being treated like I need them more than the shop in question needs me. I work damn hard for my money and once, just once, I would like a shop to hustle, honour their work, and treat me with the respect that goes with paying my bill in cash and on time, which I always do. I am tired of the leave it over there and I will get to it when I get to it or returning three days later to find my ride sitting exactly where I left it attitude. Always make an agreement with the person you are doing business with on the cost and time of repair or work ahead of time. Jeff, seven months for that crap, get real dude

  8. I just gotta say, this kind of thing never happens to me. I've just been really fortunate I suppose. It seems that I've attracted some of the most amazing and courteous people into my life! Ever since I divorced my incredibly negative exx, I changed my attitude about life, and all I get now are amazing people! Truly lucky I suppose.

  9. 99% of the people in my life are fabulous, wonderful people. I just found out that my friend Jeff is buried under some kind of addiction and is no longer the person I called friend. People change and it can sometimes be for the good or the bad.

    I live a pretty charmed life for the most part and am a blessed woman.

  10. John Sinclair8:53 PM

    Sure wish I had come across this blog entry earlier. Just got completely screwed by Jeff today. Dropped off all my tins to him in February for a custom paint job on my bike with a delivery date of April 15th. Date came and went, no painting done. Contacted him and he made several excuses but said he'd be right on it.

    After a couple of weeks, still nothing. Went through Kamloops just prior to Victoria Day on my way to a rally in Salmon Arm and stopped in. Was surprised to find the shop closed but Jeff was there. He explained why he was late and that work would be done on the bike that weekend. He told me to stop in Victoria Day on my way back though Kamloops. Guess what, no Jeff on Victoria Day. Contacted him again later in the week and he said the bike was underway, he'd just need another week. Another week went by and still no word.

    All his promises went unkept. He never called when he said he would, never sent the pictures he promised and never did any work when he said he would

    Finally, having enough, I went down to Kamloops today (a two and one-half hour drive). Imagine my surprise to find the shop closed with a notice on the door from a collection agency and the landlord. They have thrown Jeff out and seized all his assets. Now here I am, can't contact Jeff, have no idea where all my bike parts are and am out half of the $4,500 paint job which I left as a deposit. Surprise, surprise, I can't get ahold of Jeff via phone, text or email.

    No idea what I'm going to do now. As if this wasn't bad enough, Jeff is the third painter in a row to screw me on this bike. The first kept putting me off and after four months, I decided to drop him. The second painter talked a good game but obviously wasn't a painter as he botched the job horribly before getting even half way through. Finally Jeff. Thought I did all the right things – looked at his work, contacted previous clients, toured his shop and met the staff and finally, had several meetings with him to go over exactly what I wanted.

    Lost all my faith in painters. No wonder this guy went out of business!

  11. Anonymous5:39 PM

    John - if you need your parts I can get in contact with landlord of building. My heart goes out to all who he screwed over.....and believe me....there are many including myself. Just post your email addy or a contact number for me.

  12. Anonymous12:33 AM

    John Sin. please get ahold of me I have keys 250-819-0301

  13. Anonymous11:51 PM

    If you are looking for a talented airbrusher - Cye Delaney of Sakred Skin & Studio is the guy to talk to! He is on Victoria Street. his website is - his bike is fully airbrushed by himself and has done a few other bikes in town. Worth the look! Great tattoo artist too.

  14. Anonymous12:12 PM

    This is really no surprise to me... Balmes has been in a tailspin for a long time now... just another joker who got caught up in a lifestyle he wasn't cut out for. It's even worse when he's taking other people down with him though... last I heard he was locked up. Sorry to hear you have had to go through this BDB.