Tag Archives: Harley Davidson

Don’t Be A Spectator In Life – Be A Participator

A couple of days ago I took part in a funeral cortège with several other members of the Harley Owners Group Great Western Chapter. Around forty of us rode our Harley Davidsons through a tiny Welsh village near Tonyrefail to pay last respects to Charlie, a former member. The sight of all those powerful machines roaring through valley communities brought many people to their front doors.

HOG Great Western Chapter UK

HOG Great Western Chapter UK

I felt privileged to be honouring Charlie’s memory as it was his express wish that his fellow bikers join him in this, his last ride, and afterwards be with his family for a curry. Although I’d never met Charlie it was evident from the turnout and the many funny stories that he was a popular character in the chapter. His wife and family were clearly moved to see so many of us there.

It was another funeral a few years ago, when my friend and work colleague Uwe died unexpectedly, that led me to buying my trike. I knew Uwe owned a Harley but the entourage of Harley’s that followed his hearse took me by surprise. I was waiting with others outside the crematorium when an incredible roaring sound like an approaching thunderstorm filled the air long before we could see them. It was a thrill for me to see all these fabulous machines and reminded me of a life-long ambition to own one. I was also reminded by Uwe’s sad death that none of us know how long we have left on this earth and how important it is to try and enjoy every precious minute. So for me to be honouring another biker by riding my own Harley as part of the same group that honoured Uwe was a very special moment indeed!

Our Trike

Our Trike

I wish that I could have known Charlie and ridden with him and also with Uwe but we can’t turn back time. It is sad that it was the death of a friend that prompted me to follow through and finally buy the dream Harley – especially as it has given me and Mrs D so much pleasure already and introduced us to a whole new bunch of friends. So, if this strikes a chord with you, please don’t put things off! Seize the day and follow your dream, whatever it is, while you’re still able – don’t be a spectator in life, be a participator. Because participating is so much more fun than just watching!

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Distractions from Writing

The_Trike

I suppose I knew deep down that buying a Harley Davidson Trike was going to eat into my writing time – and I was right. The only reason I’m now sitting writing this in the sunshine is because I’ve been caning the trike too much and it’s caused acute tendonitis in my clutch hand. My doctor has ordered me not to ride for a day or two (well he said a week actually but that’s not going to happen while the sun is still shining!).

I bought the 4-year-old Sportster Iron 1200cc trike from a lady US Marine and she had only done a little over 1600 miles. In just two months I’ve almost doubled that mileage. It’s the new love of my life. Fortunately, Mrs D is far from jealous because she loves it too – you could say we’ve become a trikesome – and we’ve been out on it almost every day, weather permitting.

The reaction of our friends and acquaintances has been interesting and mixed. It seems everyone has some stereotypical picture of bikers in their heads. Some think I’m having a (late) mid-life crisis and seeking to recapture my youth (that could be true – and it’s working!). In truth, owning a Harley Davidson has been on my bucket list for many years.

Our older friends remember the clashes between mods and rockers that terrorised many a seaside town in the sixties, or the rise of Hell’s Angels gangs in the seventies – they believe we’ve succumbed to a cult and gone over to the dark side.

The grandchildren think it's a new climbing frame

Can we have one of these Daddy?

Our close family are bemused but they know well enough that we’re a bit mad and unpredictable – it’s a bonus that we can still shock our grown-up kids. The grandchildren think it’s a climbing frame! (See photo)

I’ve had my own stereotype views challenged too. We have unwittingly become part of a wide camaraderie between bikers that we didn’t know existed and this came as a truly pleasant surprise. Mrs D and I have been amazed at how friendly other bikers are (although some go to great lengths to look terrifying, so far they’ve really proved to be just big softies underneath). They watch out for one another on the road and keep an eye on each other’s property when parked up. In Wales, most riders give a nod, or a wave, when passing (I’m told this doesn’t happen over the border in England, which is a shame). We’ve already made some good friends and met some truly interesting characters (who may well appear in some guise in future novels!). The fact is whenever we park up someone will come over and talk to us.

As for riding the trike – well it’s everything I hoped it would be and more. We love being out in the fresh air when travelling and we see so much more of the countryside than we ever did in the car. The feeling of exhilaration when shooting the breeze on motorways is wonderful too and the acceleration when I twist open the throttle gives a real adrenalin rush. And, to be honest, riding a Harley attracts whoops of delight from children and a lot of admiring glances from parents too, all of which makes us feel like minor celebrities.

So what if it is a distraction from writing? I’ve always thought of writing as a winter pursuit anyway and I can still dream up stories while cruising along the highways and byways of this beautiful country. And at the moment I am busy planning the next book in my head (and, no, it’s not about bikers…).

All I need now is for this damned tendonitis to disappear before the sunshine does!

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