Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A little motorcycle history....

Not everyone knows the history of my riding so I thought I would post a little about it. First, I come from a riding family....both my paternal grandfather AND grandmother rode their own Harley-Davidson in the late 1920's, early 1930's (cheaper than a car back then). The story goes that my grandfather arrived home with two bikes, one with a sidecar and one without. My grandmother asked which one was hers...he pointed to the one with the sidecar (for my dad and uncle to ride in). She shook her head and pointed to the one without. Guess which one she rode.....LOL!

My dad rode an Indian after the war and in later years Honda and eventually got his Harley, a Sportster. Both his brothers rode Harleys after the war. Currently both my brothers and both their wives, one female cousin, her husband and their son, one male cousin and his son, a step-nephew and his son, one step-son-in-law (bought hubby's bike) and my son & his wife (she's learning) all ride....and they are all Harleys except for my son and his wife.

I learned to ride when I was almost 55. My husband had been diagnosed with cancer (spring of 2001) and I told him it was a bike or a boat....we were going to start enjoying life. He chose the bike. On our way home from his checkups after his surgery, we stopped by the closest Harley-Davidson dealer. They had a gorgeous, used Electra-Glide.....we bought it.

We had several good local rides including our first ever EVENT. Every year Zippo, headquartered in Bradford down the hill from us, sponsors a dice run to benefit Kids with Cancer. We participated and had a great time....our first group ride, our first dice run, our first long ride.

Eventually Mike headed to the Cleveland Clinic for his radiation treatments. He spent the entire six weeks convincing me that I needed to learn to ride my own motorcycle. The more I considered it, the more it made sense. Once again, a trip home for the weekend and we stopped in at our Harley dealer. There sat my dream bike, a 2002 White Pearl Sportster Hugger (remember, I'm one of those in-seam impaired folks ).

Before we left we had not only contracted for the Sportster, but traded Mike's Electra-Glide for a 2002 HD Heritage Classic Softail.

Things continued to move and change in our lives, we moved to Florida (job transfer for Mike), took the MSF course together and I started riding. I rode the Sportster for 3 months, about 750 miles and HATED it. LOL! Top heavy and quite torquey on the throttle. When we were in Atlanta for the 100th Anniversary Open Road Show, I sat on a 2003 HD Low Rider and was SOLD! We came home, talked to our salesman, and soon traded in the Sporty and picked my new 2003 Anniversary model Low Rider.

That is the bike that I rode during the Pony Express Relay for Breast Cancer. I ended up with 24k miles on it at 20 months. As I said in an earlier blog, it was sold when I ordered the 2005 HD Softail Deluxe which I have had just short of three years now.

The Softail Deluxe was THE bike for me! It is the bike I toured the country on, 42 states, 27k miles, solo. I kept it until I decided to become a full-time RVer in 2007. I was fortunate to sell it to a friend in the Knoxville, TN area and she still has it. The next bike was my 2006 BMW F650GS, a dual-sport bike that I thought would be good in campgrounds.

I had many problems loading and unloading this bike and after 6 months on the road, I sold it and bought a car. Then in July 2008, I met Stu at an RV rally in Gillette, WY. It was fate - two widowed full-timers who rode motorcycles. In the fall of 2010, I bought a used 2009 HD Nightster, a lean mean riding machine with a big engine.

This was a great riding back and it felt good to ride again. I didn't want as big a bike as my Softail Deluxe and I needed something that would fit in our toy hauler beside Stu's HD trike conversion. I rode many miles but it was a hard ride due to the low suspension. My back was killing me! When Harley-Davidson came out with the Super Low (Sportster), I traded my Nightster without even a trial ride.

This was like having the Softail Deluxe in a smaller ride. Bigger gas tank, great suspension, lighter weight and super handling. This is the bike I rode on Route 66 in 2013, my swan song of riding. Now living in Ecuador and getting back to the states once a year, it was time to surrender my two-wheel ride. So in the fall of 2014, we traded Stu's Tri-Glide and my bike for a new, 2015 Tri-Glide. We will both enjoy putting many miles on it!

Miles of smiles ahead!

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