Motorcycle Riding Family Carries on the Touring Tradition

Passing down a beloved father’s Harley-Davidsons

By Sherry Kimbrell, Lancaster, South Carolina

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Motorcycle Riding Family Carries on the Touring Tradition Daytona Beach
Sherry and her husband, Richard, enjoying fun in the sun on their Harley-Davidsons at Daytona Beach Bike Rally before Richard’s passing.

It’s always been about the destination beyond the destination. My husband, Richard, and I both rode motorcycles. Sometimes I would hop on the back with him and we would just enjoy our time riding as one. We’ve ridden our Harleys to Florida’s Daytona Beach, West Virginia, South Dakota, the mountains of North Carolina, and the beaches of South Carolina, just to name a few. We always explored the areas beyond these destinations as well. My husband always said, “You can’t go to South Dakota and not go to North!” and “You’re already in sunny Florida—might as well go to the Gulf!”

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In July 2018 we took a road trip of a lifetime: Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. But those destinations weren’t enough, so off to Canada we went! It was an incredible trip with amazing friends (thank you for the invitation, Kenny Farrell). Richard and I were both beaming from the experiences, the sights, and the friendships made during our trip. I will never forget our time spent together, nor do I ever want to.

Ten short days later as I was uploading pictures of our wonderful tour, I received a call from our oldest son, Michael, that Richard had been taken from his job site to the hospital. He’d had a stroke. My husband of 34 years, my life partner, my riding partner, died the next evening. Our hearts are still broken from the tremendous loss. Richard was everything to us and we are still in recovery mode even after ten short months.

Motorcycle Riding Family Carries on the Touring Tradition Road King
Sherry and Richard shared lots of great riding memories together.

Richard and I have three sons, a daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren. The oldest is Michael, Brian is the middle child, and Kevin is our youngest. Michael and his wife, Erin, have two children, Madison and Wyatt. The other two have girlfriends, Erica and Alyson. With the exception of Erin, they all enjoy riding. Erin hasn’t fully embraced the idea yet (shhh … don’t tell her that Pawpaw used to ride the grandkids around the yard on his motorcycle with a big smile on his face!).

After their dad’s death, I gave the boys something Richard had loved so much—his Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Mike now rides his dad’s ’98 Ultra Classic. Brian now owns his dad’s ’93 FXR and Kevin will inherit my ’06 Road King. They’ve all enjoyed riding various kinds of motorcycles, but I hope they will keep the ones that hold such special meaning.

Motorcycle Riding Family Carries on the Touring Tradition family
The motorcycling family and their bikes. From left to right: Michael, Sherry, Brian, and Kevin.

To end this journey is to not really end this journey. The family has taken various riding trips (except for Erin and the grands … for the moment), and they are continuing to make sure I don’t have to ride solo, whether on the bike or in life. I miss my Richard so very much, but my boys and their families have made this road I now travel more bearable, and I thank them dearly for it. Their dad would be so proud!

We all continue to ride with Richard in our hearts, our minds, and in our conversations.

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5 thoughts on Motorcycle Riding Family Carries on the Touring Tradition

  1. So sorry for your devastating loss. My husband and I have been riding together, each on our own bikes, for 30 years. I can relate to your story as my husband has cancer and I don’t know how much longer we’ll be able to ride. I don’t think I would have the guts to tour alone and I don’t have any friends or family who ride. We went on a six month adventure in 2008 which I journaled and that journal holds my life’s best memories. Thanks so much for your article.

  2. So sorry to hear of your loss. I can relate to your story as my husband and I have been riding bikes together for 20 years—hopefully many more. Lots of miles and sights in the beautiful U.S. I’m so happy your family carries on with you!

  3. I love you mom! Beautiful article!

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