Lately I’ve had cause to ponder the question, “What makes a biker a biker?” Are you a biker just because you own a motorcycle? Are you a lifestyle biker or an occasional weekend warrior? I even had a guy comment under a photo of me on Facebook that he just didn’t understand “people that would desecrate their bike just to make it look ridden,” as if I hadn’t put my time in or paid my dues.
It doesn’t matter if you are a burly biker, a crazy cowboy or an Indian chief—one thing we all have in common in this world is the desire to feel good. When you wake up each morning, do you feel good? Do you feel good about who you are, the choices you make and the person you have become? Do you have the desire, the energy and the means to accomplish the things you’d like to do today?
After riding a motorcycle for 20 some years, I can honestly say I still love to ride. I love to ride, I love to love, and I love to live. Love Ride 28 took place this past October, and I think I have missed the event only twice in all these years. After the 2011 event, I have such sad and mixed feelings.
When my cousin planned her wedding for August 5 and asked me to be her wedding photographer, of course my answer was yes. What is more important than family? Nothing! So when I was discussing my dilemma of being late for Sturgis with the wisest woman I know (my mother), she asked me, “What do you suppose would happen if you just didnt go to Sturgis this year?” After I’d mulled over that for a moment, she continued, “Are you fairly certain they would call the event off?”
Grace McKean, whom I call “Amazing Grace,” is 76 years old and still kick-starts the vintage Harley-Davidson 45 Flathead she bought at the tender age of 17 using all the savings she earned as a Walgreens waitress. Many readers have written to me in response to the first part of my story, asking how Grace as a young woman found the strength and courage to do what she did at a time when a woman on a motorcycle was less than respected.
Have you ever had somebody pass you by who left you thinking, “I need to know that person”? For me, that woman was Grace—the amazing Grace McKean. I was in Milwaukee, Wisc., for the SS Cycle 50th anniversary party. It was a sunny summer day, and as I was headed to the event, a woman passed me by going the opposite direction on a classic old white Indian motorcycle.
I used to feel like I didn’t know Schit. And now that I know Schit, my life is so much more enriched! Im talking about Jack Schit, of course, our host for Arizona Bike Week, which I attended during the first weekend in April. And if you ever feel like you don’t know Schit, you should check out Jack.
“What have been the five best days of your life?” That is one of my favorite questions to ask people. It is a great question to ask your elders. It’s a great question to ask new people in your life. It’s also a great question to ask yourself when you are writing next years bucket list so you can include the experiences you haven’t lived yet.