Posts Tagged ‘Softtail’

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.