What Is The Actual Funny Motorcycle Ride

Author's Note: This was written when I was 64 years old. I't's now 11 years since this ride, but I'd still hop on that motorcycle in the blink of an eye, given the chance.

You might not think riding a motorcycle is funny, but it certainly can become that way when you are packing a tank of oxygen! Here's how it happened. I've been on oxygen therapy 24 hours a day, seven days a week since 1997. I do have some limitations, but I try not to let them get in the way of a good time.

In March of 2003, my niece Jean and her husband Dave, came out to Vegas and stayed in a campsite just down the street from our house.

They had their camper, their dogs and their two beautiful Harley Motorcycles. Jean's was a Harley Ultra FLH-TCU, whatever that means.

After they settled in at their camp, they came to our house on their motorcycles. We went out and admired them (they WERE beautiful) and all the equipment they had.

They could talk to each other through radio speakers in their helmets while they were riding, and they could play music through those speakers too. They had extra helmets, and all the equipment to make the ride safe and pleasant. Jean is a Motorcycle Safety Instructor for the State of Minnesota, so she knows her stuff.

As we’re admiring their “ride,” my niece says, “C’mon Aunt Nancy, I’ll take you for a ride.” I laughed, playing along with the joke and said, “Right! Sure!” But she was serious.

She pointed out that they have brought extra helmets and there are bags attached to the motorcycle where we can stow my oxygen tank. She asked how long a tank lasts, and I said about 4 to 5 hours depending on how much exertion I’m having.

Jean said, bring an extra one along and wear something warm. Woohoo! I was about to take my first motorcycle ride EVER, at 64 years old and wearing oxygen! My niece knows me so well, she knew this was something I would jump at the chance to do.

Such FUN - I felt soooo goood!

Jean and I got on her Harley (the white one) and my friend Judy got on with Dave and off we went! We were cruising down the streets of Las Vegas. People and cars seemed to be whizzing by…well, that is, we really weren’t whizzing, because in Vegas traffic that would be impossible.

When we came to Boulder Highway, not too far away from home, Jean said to me through the microphone in my helmet, “Aunt Nancy, how about we take a run out to the lake?” She was referring to Lake Mead out by Hoover Dam, the largest man-made lake in the United States.

I was game, so off we went. At a pullout, she had me to get on the bike while she took my picture. Don’t I just look like I’m driving that motorcycle on the intro picture? But no, I never did drive it, but I sure enjoyed riding.

We laughed and sang along with the music through the helmet speakers all the way to the lake and for quite a way around. I felt almost giddy because I was having the time of my life! Finally, they decided to pull over at a rest stop, and someone asked me if my oxygen tank needed changing.

I quickly checked and was stunned to see it was totally out. How long had it been that way? I hadn’t a clue. They quickly got my other tank and hooked it up. My niece said, “Gee Aunt Nancy, maybe that’s why you were having so much fun!”

11 years later...I'm still riding....

Here I am in my Harley “PIGLET.” Well, it’s not fast enough to be a HOG, but it works for me. But believe me, I’d take another ride on a Harley with my niece any time she wants to come out here. I guess I was just “born to be wild,” and it’s too late to change me now!

What's the acronym for the Harley Owner's Group?

Have you ever wondered why Harleys are called “HOGS?” The tale is told that Harley “Hog” was so named for a group of farm boys in the 1920s who rode Harleys and continually won races with them.

They became known as the “Hog” boys because when they won another race they would put their mascot, a real pig, on their Harley and take a victory lap. The name stuck to the motorcycle.

Then, in 1983, the Harley Motor Company created a club for Harley owners and used the long-standing nickname as its acronym for Harley Owners Group (HOG.) The company tried to trademark “hog” but lost the case when a court ruled that “hog” had become a generic term for large motorcycles and was not protectable as a trademark.

The Harley Owners Group went on to become a big part of the Harley-Davidson brand, since HOG members spend over 30% more than other Harley owners on merchandise such as clothing and Harley-Davidson sponsored events. The brand is presented as an American icon, focusing on the pride of being American-made.

Each Harley-Davidson dealership has the opportunity to sponsor a local HOG chapter. Some do not, but there are no chapters without a link to a sponsoring dealership. The official charity of the HOG organization is the Muscular Dystrophy Association, although each chapter can choose to support another charity or none at all.

Final Note

Of course, it’s all about the ride. But with that motorcycle music in my ears from the helmet speakers, it made it all the better! When you get that “free and wild feeling,” the music goes a long way to making that ride memorable.

Alston Seymour
 

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