Saturday, April 6, 2013

Catching up… The Harleys,

The strange part of this is, I don’t really like Harley’s, which doesn't really add up with owning three of them. After all it’s not like I planned it, or anything.

 I've come and gone from riding all my life.

 Our first “motor bike” was a bicycle with the pedals removed, a ball bat driven in the bearing opening, and a gasoline washing machine motor bolted to the bat. The rubber drive bushing drove the rear tire by friction. Top end was about 35 mph. That feeling of going fast, the adrenaline, the rush, well I was hooked.

 The word kamikaze comes to mind.

I’m nothing like as crazy as some folks are today but, I’m crazy enough. Riding on I 95 in South Florida will do for proof.

In 2008 I bought a Kawasaki 900 Vulcan Classic, a laid back touring bike. It gets about 52 mpg, and below 70 mph is fine, much above that and your eyes can’t focus due to vibration. My son in law brought me in contact with the Red Knights. The rest is public record if not history.

Most riding clubs spread the word about this, that, or the other fund raising ride. Some of the brothers got together to join DAV in a memorial ride to benefit Wounded Warrior, if I remember correctly. At any rate I participated in an escorted ride from a local town, south into the next state and back home. Several stops were required due to it being in the scorching hot summer time.

One of the stops was at a Harley shop. We all strolled around looking at all the chrome and shiny paint. I was looking at price tags as well. 24 k for an ultra glide, 20k for a classic, 18k for a soft tail, 12k for a sportster. Crazy.

As I walked, shaking my head about the prices, back to my bike, I saw a red gold bike and picked up the price tag. I looked, rubbed my eyes, looked again and called a sales dude over to make sure someone hadn't

 made a mistake. He assured me that it was correct, I asked him what the bottom line, no financing, price out the door was? When he told me, I said “I’ll be back”.

That afternoon I bought my first Harley.

I brought it home the next day, delayed by bad weather, and my son in law, allowed that it was indeed a beautiful bike, but was I still going to buy his Sportster as we had discussed?

Forgot that, I did.

Considering the purpose of buying the Sportster was to provide revenue for him to buy a minivan to haul my granddaughters around, I felt kind of compelled to follow through.

Now I owned two Harleys.

The third was bought with “found money”. When my mother died, after medical bills, she was effectively broke. At sometime or other she had bought an annuity, and then if I know her, forgot to tell anyone or decided it wasn't their business. So, some months later I get a letter, and after a subsequent claim, a fairly hefty check.

Log on to the interwebs and find a very nice bike for just the right price.

I still don’t like the way Harleys sit, all of mine have been lowered, quiet exhaust, low and tinted windshields. If you can get them low enough, they can be comfortable to sit on to ride. If you don’t lower them, in my opinion, it feels like you are sitting on the back of a chair, very high.

The current plan, and all plans can be changed, is to sell the Kaw, use the money to make the Sportster into a chopper, and trade the baggers in for a newer Harley bagger.

Somewhere in there are a couple of long road trips and that feeling that somewhere along the way it was worth it.

Watch for me on the road.

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