Photography by Matthew Gilson
The U.S. oil embargo was a distant memory. Many moped manufacturers had permanently closed. “Mopeds were completely dead at that point,” Hickman says. “They were for dorks.”
Not anymore. For the last seven years, Hickman has run The Crypt, a destination for both vintage and custom mopeds, with customers nationwide, in Goshen. There, he customizes everything from handlebars to the mechanical guts that make these greenish modes of transportation go.
Want an all-pink grocery-getter? Or something souped-up and adorned with zombies and “radioactive” rims? “The only limit is your imagination—and your wallet,” says Hickman. His creations cost between $1,800 and $5,000, depending on extras like USB chargers, car horns, and underbody lights.
No matter how simple or complex, jobs start with questions about color, style, and function. While some designs stay classic and clean, others are sporty or eccentric. The next consideration is the moped’s stance. Aggressive riders look for low handlebars and a crouched configuration. Once Hickman has a sense of what a customer wants, he digs through his collection to find one, strips it down to nuts and bolts, and upgrades parts as needed. Such attention to detail takes time—each moped requires about a month of work.
And when he’s not customizing bikes for others? Hickman is every bit as moped-obsessed as he was in the ’80s, and still can be seen riding one of his many collectibles all over Goshen.
Rebuilt for speed, this 1970s Puch Maxi moped features 90 percent original parts and upgrades for improved handling. $2,200.