Not a Harley Girl – or am I?

I’m a sport bike girl at heart. I like the speed and focus of flicking the bike through a twisty road. I like the tucked in feeling of the bike bonded to my body. I like the hyper, buggy, plastic body work of performance bikes. I like the general demeanor and style of fellow sportbike riders (not the squids).

As author of  Chicks On Bikes that embraces all kinds of bikes and riders and styles I do my best to disregard personal preferences. I am forever enthused to learn what individuals love about their bikes. The character and the bike they choose are an inseperable part of the story and every rider has a story.

But I’m going to confess the big cruisers have never called to me. Its kind of the way I feel about birds – its fascinating to encounter other people’s birds but never ever do I want to own a bird. They’re loud, they poop on you and I don’t like the herky jerky way they move.

The maverick in me just does not want to own the #1 selling bike in America, the Harley Davidson.  I’ve actually entertained ideas of buying seriously ugly but beloved bikes such as the V-Strom. In part just to be ornery.

But as I contemplate doing a major road trip book tour this summer. Possibly with my 9 year old daughter. It behooves me to take an earnest look at the biggest lux touring ride in the Harley stable -the Ultra Classic Electra Glide.

I think the wonderful writer photographer Bob Stokestad summed it up well in this article on the Big Mama as he calls it. And from now on I shall call all Ultra Classic Electra Glides Big Mama too.

I will just say its the closest thing to a 2 wheeled Lazy Boy and the highly visible color orange with a hue that nods to the 70’s suits me just fine. Here is a picture of me and Ella on it at Dudley Perkins Harley dealership in San Francisco at their recent Garage Party.

seat testing Big Mama at Dudley Perkins Harley, San Francsico

The Garage Parties that Harley dealerships have been putting on this spring are aimed at encouraging women riders.  I gotta love that. I give HD a hearty thump on the back for the wisdom of promoting women riders. Its that kind of smart marketing that keeps them the #1 seller. And another kudo to Dudley Perkins, a SF institution, for being such good people. If were plunking down my change to buy a brand new Big Mama, this is where I’d plunk it.

I just saw a video where a knee is dragged on a massive Goldwing. Now that’s the kind of rider I want to be, comfy but fast!

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6 Responses to “Not a Harley Girl – or am I?”

  1. Kerry Says:

    I shared your post with hubby Dave tonight and we talked about what makes Harleys different for us. We’ve both ridden other bikes. I took my license test on a little Honda 350 which was light as a feather and easy to move around. We both agreed that having a Harley under you is different. It has “meat”, substance, it roars, it has a life, it breaths fire! The first time I road a Harley (Sportster) in a parking lot, I was surprised by the weight. Then I came to appreciate it and love it. A big part of it is the sound. If you hear a Harley off in the distance and a chill runs up your spine, then that’s it – you’re hooked. The Harley rumble is my lifeblood – no doubt about it. I can see the attraction of sport bikes – nose in the wind, feet tucked up behind, chest down on the tank, leaning way over in turns. But I don’t like the sound. Maybe it’s about how you like the wind in your face and how your body is most comfortable – I dunno. These are my rambling thoughts…. Ride free, however that may be!!

    • Christina Shook Says:

      Yep, the sound of your bike is a key element. My husband is an audio engineer and is passionate for the growl of a Ducati.
      Isn’t it great that there’s a myriad of bikes to consider, debate and find the one you love. Or better, several that you love and own.

  2. Wendy Says:

    Wow you and Ella on a summer road trip on a Harley–what a memory for your girl! I hope something like it happens. Come see us if it does. Love you, Wendy

  3. Janet/Corn Dog Says:

    “The maverick in me just does not want to own the #1 selling bike in America, the Harley Davidson. ”

    LOL well-said, and I am the very same way about many other things. (Go see a top-grossing movie? Not on your life! The current TV hit? No way!) But, Harley is different. It’s the sound, the history, the “meat” as Kerry said. And, the La-Z-Boy analogy is right on – when we took our first trip to Sturgis in 2006, I rode a Sportster and my husband rode his Heritage Softail Classic. He kept saying what a toughie I was for riding the Sporty on that trip, and I would reply that he was right – HE was riding the recliner on wheels and I was riding a folding chair on casters. BUT – the thing is? That Sporty was made for those twisty roads! It was a blast!

    Looking forward to hearing more about your trip!

  4. Bruce Says:

    I used to think that Harley Davidsons were lousy bikes as well, but after riding my 2008 Street Glide and putting about 20,000 klms on it, I have changed my mind. I have had about half a dozen different bikes over the years, from small street bikes as a teenager to dirt bikes and 4 cylinder Hondas. The very first time I took the Street Glide out for a ride, I fell in love with it. I have ridden a couple of cruiser bikes from Yamaha and Honda since, but none of the ones I tried out felt anything like the Harley. The Street Glide just rides great, especially when cruising the highway in “cruise control” with the stereo turned up!

    Thanks for the interesting post.

    Bruce

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