The big decision is upon me. Should I buy a Harley and abandon a lifelong allegiance to bikes that go fast, handle and run well? Or do I plunk down my dough on more of the same?
It’s a choice I never thought I’d consider until recently. But it’s one I’m facing nonetheless.
For most of my riding life I’ve felt secure in the knowledge that sport bikes of Japanese or European manufacture were superior to the classic American cruiser. They represented a style that suited my quest for speed and dependability while setting me apart from the leather vest-and-black-T-shirt crowd.
But after more than three decades of riding the “right” bikes, my thinking changed. It’s hard to pinpoint when it happened. Maybe it was last fall when I was hunched over the tank of my BMW on a lonesome back road in the Arizona desert. Or it could have been more recently when a birthday sent me squarely into middle age.
I don’t know, but suddenly a Harley sounds pretty good to me.
Sure, it’ll be slow and unreliable and scrape its running boards around every turn. I won’t be able to keep up with the crotch-rocket set. Hell, they won’t even ride with me. They’re dis-owning me as we speak.
But I don’t care. I’ll be riding in comfort. I’ll be in Hog heaven.
Still, I have doubts. The prospect of owning a rolling boat anchor with about half the horsepower of my usual bikes gives me pause. Then there are the neighbors. Will they complain about all he noise?
Perhaps the biggest concern is that I’ll become like all the other Harley people. That I’ll start wearing Harley logo clothing and doff my full-coverage helmet for something out of Hogan’s Heros. Maybe I’ll sport a leather-billed cap and develop a fondness for chaps.
Well, I hope not. Then again, stranger things have happened.