I remember when my father bought his first Harley. It all started when a friend of his enticed him with mesmerized factoids and fantastical stories about life from the seat of a cycle. Dad became reminiscent of his younger years when the world was to be taken by storm and riding a motorcycle was another way to keep into trouble. Like everything my father falls in love with, he reintroduced himself into the biker lifestyle almost overnight. First came the bike, a brand new 2001 Harley Davidson Road King, then his closets filled out with cowhide clothing as if there was a shortage on leather and eventually he adorned himself with every nick-knack and trinket a biker could acquire. In my eyes, it seems like a mid-life crisis of sorts, but as time elapsed and the fad became a never-breaking fever, I realized it was more of a calling.
By 2002 my father knew everything there was to know about motorcycles. He had dissected his bike during that winter and rebuilt it with custom chrome and performance enhancing parts. He had gone as far as he could go with his Road King, so he sold it and turned a small profit due to the after-market modifications he had made. His next bike was an already all chrome custom Lo blow Bourget chopper with a 120 ci SS motor and a nasty mean streak. Those rabid chopper fanatics will know the shop based on it’s once founder and notorious bike builder, Roger Bourget. When first my eyes fell upon that beastly devastator, I had a newfound respect for my father. The man knew what swagger was and it pushed a hell of a lot of horsepower behind it.
The highlight of the Bourget era came during the Northeast Blackout of 2003. My friend and I were waiting at a stop sign when my father rolled up on his Bourget. At the time, my friend was driving a 1997 Mustang and had been exceedingly arrogant in this triumph. It didn’t take long before my father was goading us to drag race down the empty street of constantly blinking caution lights. Like the children we were, we accepted the challenge and readied for war.
My dad counted to two and we took off before he knew it. We hauled up to 65 mph in seconds and I reveled at my father’s misfortune. In the next second he hammered down the throttle and whipped past us before we could get to 80. The second after that he was a car-length ahead and the second after that he was three. The Mustang climbed up to 95 mph before my friend admitted defeat and let off the gas. I can still hear the hallow chuckles of my father mixed in with the guttural chugging of the chopper’s wicked engine.
In no way is this writer advocating street racing, but sometimes our worst judgment gets a hold of us. For my father, however, it was all part of the process. He was a biker; maybe by birth, maybe by some glorified reinterpretation of manifest destiny, but he was a biker all the same. He still is. It’s that fearlessness I saw on that day that resonated with me. He never had to work at becoming a biker, it was always in him; echoing after him. Calling him.
-Tyler Baker; One Stop Motors.com Writer