My riding buddies all agree that I'm in the enviable position of having a wife who wants me buy a new motorcycle. The weird thing is that I just can't bring myself to do it.
I could say that it's not about the money, but we all know that when anyone says it's not about the money, it usually is about the money. It's true that I can't really justify the purchase, but that's only part of it.
The original title of this piece was going to be "My Harley is not an ornament or a status symbol." Pretentious, right?
I tried "My bike is not an ornament or a status symbol," but that didn't work, either. Too something, I'm not sure what, but it didn't work.
If you think of a title that works better, please send it to me.
I built my first motorcycle before I had a drivers license and I did it out of parts I found in alleys and behind gas stations. The year was 1965 and the motorcycle looked like a Harley-Davidson chopper rear ended a Honda 50.
It was a scary affair with only one working brake, but I was king of the alleys in West Rogers Park (North Side Chicago). I still wonder what ever happened to that bike.
My first new bike was a 1978 Yamaha 500, a great city cruiser, but a little light for the open road. I sold that bike for twice what I paid for it-a great story for another time-and parlayed that into a 1981 Yamaha 850.
In the late '80's I was sharing a studio apartment in North Hollywood (CA) with a drummer who let me use it when he was on tour. He also let me use his Corvette and Harley-Davidson Springer Softail.
It was the latter vehicle that grabbed me by the cajones and still hasn't let go. My first Harley was a 1990 Low Rider. It was an awesome bike that I tore apart twice and built into my dream machine. I wish I still had it, but I sold it 2005 (see below).
In 1994 I joined a friend in New Zealand where we rented Honda Gold Wings and toured the two islands comprising that little country-another great story, also for another time.
I didn't care for the Gold Wing, but riding across the empty New Zealand countryside, under the stars, listening to my home made cassettes was a little slice of Heaven. When I got home, I bought a Harley Road Glide and have been riding one ever since.
My current ride is a 2002 Road Glide with about 50,000 miles on it. That's not a lot of miles for a bike that age, but it wasn't my only bike and, for a while I had some other stuff going on and didn't ride all that much.
I'm not one of those Sunday-go-to-brunch riders, just pulling the bike out for a 5-mile jaunt over to TGI Fridays. I have nothing but disdain for what we used to call RUBs (rich urban bikers), who sit on their shiny machines without a clue as to how they work or what to do if they don't.
I spend time in the garage with my bike. On the street, it peels off the line like a slingshot and I can hear the stereo at 80 MPH.
Generally, if I pull my bike out of the garage, I'm going to be riding for a while, hopefully crossing at least one state line.
I've welcomed home soldiers, Marines, sailors, airmen and a couple of Coasties on that bike. I've escorted the remains of those who made the ultimate sacrifice on that bike and I've escorted World War II heroes on it.
I rode that bike to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
That's my bike up there as the featured image. The picture was taken in 2010 inside Cellular One Field (Comiskey Park). It was the last time my bike was clean.
My buddies like to say that my bike is not for show, it's for go. I guess that makes it a little like me, not so great to look it, but performance when it counts.
That's funny, I'm going to leave it in.
Now you can see why when my wife tells me to get a new bike, it's not that simple. We've been through a lot together, a lot of good miles. Both with the wife and the bike.
I'm going to leave that one in, too.
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