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Group builds custom bike in homage to vets

The Patriot Guard Riders are raffling off this

The Patriot Guard Riders are raffling off this customized bicycle, which took four men about a year to complete, and proceeds from the raffle will benefit Help on the Homefront, which provides support for veterans. (May 20, 2012) Credit: Erin Geismar

The Patriot Guard Riders, a local group of motorcycle riders that provide escorts for military homecomings or funerals, are raffling off a custom-made bike to raise money for veterans.

“When we talked about customizing a bike, I said, ‘A motorcycle?' " said Anthony Fronzoni, a member of PGR and one of the four creators of the bike.

No, it was just a regular bicycle. That is, until they got their hands on it.

After about a year of work, “The Patriot,” as it’s been named, is more of an homage to veterans lost and a sign of respect for those still living.

Warren Schlicker, ride captain for the local PGR, said the bike was completed in October and will be raffled off after 500 raffle tickets have been sold. So far, about 150 have been sold for $10 each.

“This is part of our ongoing service work,” Schlicker said. “All of the money is going to help the veterans.”

He said the money will go toward Help on the Homefront, a PGR-led mission that provides support to veterans and their families, specifically those at Northport VA Medical Center, where members of PGR visit every month.

The old-fashioned pedal bike -- complete with a bell and streamers -- was painted “Patriot blue,” with red and white details. The bell on the right handlebar is painted like an American flag, and a string of beads hangs with streamers from each handlebar. Each color bead represents a different war campaign.

A wooden platform featuring five coins, one for each branch of the military, was fastened over the bike’s rear wheel, and a PGR medallion was welded beneath the handlebar stem.

Fronzoni, owner of DMZ Auto Body in Bay Shore, said he worked with his friend Mike Mancuso, of Islip Terrace, and independent pinstripers Tom Archer and Lou Costa, who he has worked with at his shop for years, to complete the bike.

He said they took the original bike apart, and each worked on separate elements. When the parts were completed, they invited a group of mostly veterans to come to Fronzoni’s shop for a bagel breakfast and to reassemble the bike.

“We had members from all different branches of the military,” he said. “Everybody who came to the shop that morning had a hand in putting that bike back together.”

The bike is displayed and tickets are sold at events the PGR attends, though none are currently scheduled.

For more information or to purchase a raffle ticket, email Schlicker at


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