Posts Tagged ‘fatboy’

Holly and I took advantage of a moderately decent day after a stretch of cold and rain to run over to Pittsford Plaza. We took the interstate over, not my favorite, but I must say the Fatboy is much nicer to ride on such roads than my little Honda ever was.

Our errand done, Holly turned to me and said “I want to go for a long ride.” So I headed down 65. Drove all the way to Honeoye Falls: beautiful small village.

From there we headed east toward five points, and picked up Rt 15 south  to East Avon. Was great fun just to run through the New York countryside. Passed some family farms—a rarity these days–and a great big winged something-or-other bug met eternity right in front of my eyes on the windscreen, leaving a quarter-sized yellow splotch.

We took a left on 20 and headed over 390 to find a little roadside place called the Countryside Diner. Holly ordered the fried chicken, and I had the hamburger-and-macaroni soup with fried clams and a salad. Good food and generous with the soft drinks, all for the price of a deep-fried carb & starch meal at a burger franchise. A good meal for a decent price.

We headed home the long way, Rt 5 west to LeRoy, then north. It was a good day, and all the more fun for having Holly along. We can’t talk much on the ride, but seem to like the same kinds of places, and when we stop it always seems to lead to good father-daughter conversations. I’ll miss that when she moves on in a few years.

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What a difference three days can make. (Parse that for a second, eh?) On Tuesday, Holly and I took a short run down to Bergen. The weather was sub-45 and windy, pardon my French, but il fait froid.

Tonight was in the high 60s and the last day of a sale at Stan’s. Having discovered a hole in the seat of my riding jeans, it was time for

Map picture

a run on the Fatboy. What a beautiful ride in the late afternoon sun! I love this time of the spring, when the leaves are still forming.

The hues fascinate me. In summer, the leaves are all the same shade of green, and the grasses turning from deep green to brown. Now the leaves range from lemon yellow to yellow green to deep green. The sunlight hits the tree-tops and the colors seem to dance like an impressionist landscape.

The green fields are variegated with blazing yellows—mustard, dandelion—and the light umber of broken sod, like strokes of a palette knife across the canvas.

You can see it from a steel cage, but on a bike you sense it. The air is fresh and alive with smells of new growth, manure, fresh sod, and blossoms. The air passing over the skin is moist but warm, not hot and sticky like summer and not clammy and raw like late autumn. The solstice is still six weeks away, so the air is not as turbulent as it gets when the sun bakes the asphalt and the tar snakes ooze forth. One glides through the air, like through the water in a swimming pool. In another month or so, it will hit like waves and tides on the beach, pulling this way, pushing that.

A “Hog” is slang for a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Legend has it that a race team in the 1920s used to carry a piglet as a mascot. When a member of the team won a race, he’d do a victory lap with the piglet, and folks took to calling them “hog riders.”

A “Fatboy” is the classic Harley Davidson cruiser, part of the “Soft tail” family of motorcycles. Early Harleys were known as “hard tails” for their lack of rear suspension and rigid frame. The “Soft tail” line was introduced to resurrect that classic Harley look, but it has a rear suspension hidden underneath the bike.

My first three vehicles were motorcycles. I learned to ride in the fields on the farm where I grew up. When I got my driver’s license, a Honda in the 300 to 550 CC range could be purchased for a few hundred dollars in good used condition. They cost very little to insure. So I learned to eat bugs and dodge rain drops, wore a big orange insulated suit in extreme cold, and I got around on two wheels for 8 to 10 months of the year.

After I started my family I decided to play it safe, sell the bike, settle down. I missed riding and the relaxation it brought, but life was busy between school and work and kids and Little League.

When gas prices hit $4.20 a gallon in 2008, I started looking at bikes again. Here in NY we pay primo gas taxes—the same day 87 octane was $4.20 here, it was $3.36 in Springfield, MO. My wife will tell you that’s my excuse for a mid-life crisis. I tried a bunch of Sportsters but found them uncomfortable. Then this great looking used Fatboy showed up at Stan’s Harley Davidson in Batavia. Three days later I owned it.

My youngest daughter, I learned, harbored a secret love for motorcycles. Every time I tried a bike, she’d hop on behind me and let me know how the seat felt. So she was ecstatic when I bought the Fatboy for, in her words: “Dad, this is nice.”

So we started touring around together on the bike, taking photos of the places we visited, and I got to thinking it might be fun to blog about small town America.

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