Most people don’t know this about me, but another of my passions in life are motorcycles. I like all different kinds – choppers, rockets, cruisers, Harleys, BMWs, Hondas. I have been riding for almost 10 years now thanks to my best friend Jay. He threw me on a Honda CBR600F3 about ten years ago and said “take it for a spin.” I had never been on a motorcycle before. So, here I am, in the middle of Stockbridge, MA on this bike scared to death that I am gonna kill myself my first time out. He had told me to take it for a quick spin. Ok, I can do this. Waiting for traffic to clear, (which could take forever in Stockbridge during tourist season) then I let out the clutch and give it a little gas. Ok, that wasn’t so bad. I didn’t die. Traffic is moving incredibly slowly and I want to go. Finally, traffic moves out of the way and I crack the throttle. Seconds later, I look down and I am over 70 mph. WOW! What a rush.
If you’ve never been on a sportbike before, imagine Ferrari type power in a 350+/- pounds bike. Zero to sixty in seconds. That was it. I was hooked. About four hours later, I brought the bike back to Jay with the biggest smile on my face. It had begun. Over the next few years, I rode a few other bikes owned by Jay and my brother Mark. All of them rockets. I was definitely a sportbike guy.
A few years later, I decided I was going to buy a bike for myself. I went to the dealer and was all set to buy a brand new Yamaha R6 in Raven. I was offered a job instead, and they put me in the Harley building selling Harley-Davidsons©. Yuck. I was a sportbike guy. I didn’t like those biker types. Their motorcycles were way to loud, and oh so slow. Not my thing. Fast forward a few months – I am selling Harleys and they keep hounding me to buy one. I want to go fast, I say. These things only have 68 hp. It can’t get out of it’s own way. “Try this out” the say as they point to a Harley-Davidson V-Rod©.
Interesting. Great style, 120hp motor made in conjunction with Porsche. Ok. I will give it a shot. So, off we go on a 30ish degree day with a few flurries in the air to test this bike out. I have to admit, I came back with a smile on my face. The bike was brand new and had a custom Harley-Davidson© paint kit on it. I liked it more than I cared to admit at the time. As I was considering it, they mentioned that someone had a V-Rod© there on consignment with only 1800 miles on it, lots of chrome and lowered two inches front and rear. I checked it out. It was gorgeous. I was in love. The battery was a little low from sitting around for a bit, so we charged it up and hit the ignition. Holy Shit! What a bark from that exhaust. This thing was obnoxiously loud. It had to be mine.
Looking back, I met some amazing people over the course of my time at the dealership. Since then I have met a ton of bikers and let me tell you that while there some bad eggs out there, there are some pretty damn good people out there on motorcycles. During the summer, we ride every Wednesday night with an awesome group called No Destination run by an amazing woman named Patti. I have made so many friends there and over the last five years or so in the motorcycle community. I have been to many, many poker runs to raise money for people who lost family members, or have an illness racking up thousands of dollars in bills. The Toys for Tots run in the late fall, where you will find 300 to 400 bikes no matter how cold the weather is, bringing toys for needy children and raising money to make sure these kids have a good Christmas. Here is a pic I took at this year’s run at Brunswick Harley.
Toys For Tots
I have also been lucky enough to be a part of a few Patriot Guard Missions. These bikers go to the funerals of soldiers that have served our country and died, or are killed in the line of duty. It is an honor to be part of these rides, but heartbreaking to see these young men and women die so young fighting for our freedom.
Another group I am very proud to be a part of is a forum composed of some of my friends that were in a V-Rod© forum and it spun off a photography forum called Movie Photo Forums – a great forum if you are into photography and motorcycles. Most of the active participants ride, and a bunch actually ride V-Rods©. There are some incredibly talented members there and I am proud to be a part of it. They have become like family to me. I get a lot of inspiration for my photography from the members there. A bunch of us met in Canandaigua last summer on the bikes and rode together. We even spent some time shooting in the area while we were there.
I guess what I am getting at is looking back to when I was a sportbike guy and I stereotyped “bikers” I had no idea what I was talking about. There truly are some amazing people out there. Don’t judge. I could write about this all day, but you’d probably get tired of reading and head out. So I will end this with a pic of my bike and my girlfriend Rose’s bike -or the Cadillac- as i like to call it. We take my Harley for local rides, and her “Cadillac” for trips to Canandaigua or Montreal.
A few pics I have taken of bikes over the last few years…
FJR in the Catskills