When I was in college I had a good friend who graduated a year ahead of me. Mark was a commuter student like myself and we both worked at the local supermarket to pay for our meager existences. While I wasn’t the best with money, Mark was extremely frugal and extracted a good amount of living from a meager income. It wasn’t lost on him that we joked about his “frugality”. Behind the jeers, I admired his discipline.
Imagine my surprise when one night in 1990, Mark rolls up in a mint 1984 Corvette (yes, the first year of the new body style). We all got to talking and before any of us could extract from him what he paid for it, Mark offered that he paid too much at too high a rate of interest and he didn’t care. Because this was in such stark contrast to his frugal persona we were all very surprised and vocalized it. His answer?
“I’ve always wanted one and I told myself that when I graduated I was buying one, regardless of the cost.”
It’s funny the things you remember. Especially when you imitate it yourself 30 years later.
I have always wanted a Harley-Davidson Motorcycle. My love of motorcycles is well-documented. Any bike is a beautiful thing, wind therapy is the same no matter what you are on. But there’s something special about the American Icon Harley Davidson. The trademark rumble, the magnificent yet classic style and the memories of my Dad and his series of bigger and more beautiful models have always been at the forefront of my mind.
But I could never justify the cost.
2 years ago I celebrated my divorce by buying a motorcycle. The idea was Verboten in my marriage for financial and safety reasons ( my wife knew about the accident in ’87 that almost killed me) so once divorced I had to. It was a small Honda that served me well for a year as I got my skills back. I soon upgraded to a larger bike, a Yamaha 950. Before purchasing, I perused the row of Harley’s but they were too expensive. As I signed the Purchase and Sale it felt good but not great, I really wanted the Harley.
The Yamaha lasted a year. Last week, while in a funk over a girl and life in general I needed to do something for me. I needed something to love. To fixate on. To distract me from the factors in my life that were chapping my ass. I desperately wanted something to make me happy. Want became need and before I knew it I was at the dealer discussing trade in values.
I had gone there looking at a 2015 Heritage Softail but once I saw it in person I wasn’t impressed with the condition. I quickly moved down the line and BOOOM there it was, a 2014 Fat Boy Lo Softail with 4000 miles. This bike was immaculate.
I fell in love and drove off with it that day.
Despite my love of all that is Harley, I had never ridden one. All I can say is that there is a difference. Everything feels different, better. The feel of the road, the rumble of the pipes, the ogling of young children and jealous soccer dads, it’s all as advertised.
As a rider I joined an exclusive club. Bikers are a tight bunch. Hailing from all walks of life we all share our love of the open road and the comraderie it entails. We have each other’s back. Having a Harley is not a pre requisite for membership. All types and models are welcome. But again, there’s something about the Harley.
I’ve been riding almost non stop for a week. I have no plans to stop until the snow flies. Behind the bars of this bike is where I am meant to be. It was always my goal. I wanted it so bad it became a need. A manageable one, my payment only went up a bit. So worth it.
An added bonus, I feel as if my father is riding beside me with a proud smile from ear to ear. I have to rely on imagination because it is one thing I never got to do with him.