A couple days ago I was at a Harley-Davidson demo ride in Palatine Illinois. The dealer was City Limits Harley-Davidson. I was there for a demo ride. I wanted to ride the Breakout which is a new motorcycle from Harley-Davidson. The Breakout is a brand-new model for this year looks a lot like a modified Softtail was a really wide rear tire and a skinny front tire.
It also has forward foot controls a brand-new speedometer. The key/start switch is located on the left side of the motor. It’s a little lever on top of a little mounting bracket. It’s kind of hard to find if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Also they put some drag bars on this motorcycle for what reason I don’t know. The seat is very low to the ground which would be perfect for the inseam challenged.
Got to the dealer did my usual drill and I took a walk around video of the motorcycle that I was going to ride. I spent a few minutes chatting with the sales guys at the dealership asking about business and so forth. Then I spent the rest of my time talking to the other riders waiting in line to demo Harley-Davidson motorcycles. There’s always a bunch of characters at a Harley-Davidson demo ride. I think they could actually turn it into a sitcom.
I came across this one kid, I can call him “kid” because I’m twice as old as he is. Damn, it feels weird to write something like that. What the hell am I going to do? That’s my criteria from now on from calling somebody kid. He was looking forward to riding the Harley-Davidson 72. He said he was a little bit nervous because he’s never been to a demo ride before. He also proceeded to tell me that he never rode a Harley before. I told him “clutch, brake and gear changer… same old shenanigans just like on your motorcycle.”
He proceeds to tell me “Oh, I don’t have a motorcycle. I ride my friend’s motorcycle.” I’m thinking to myself, “Cool, riding somebody else’s motorcycle for free. Nice gig if you can get it.” We continue to make small talk about all kinds of things. I thought it was time to ask the most important question that was running through my mind. “How often do you ride your friend’s motorcycle?” I’m expecting 50 to 75 times. He fires back “twice.” The word twice rolls around in my head a few times thinking that maybe I misunderstood him.
My little brain is starting do the math. He had to have a motorcycle to get an Illinois motorcycle driver’s license. Okay, there’s one time he drove a motorcycle. And if you add the other two times, now you have three total times. Then all of a sudden then my brain engaged, there was a loud clunk. Just like a Harley when you put it in gear. It’s sometimes embarrassing when people are standing next to me. It’s a lot like farting, but it comes from my head.
So I ask him, “You must have practiced a lot with a motorcycle before you took your test.” He looks at me shaking his head, kind of proud and tells me. “I rented one. They delivered it to the driver’s facility and I passed the tests the first time without ever driving a motorcycle.” Immediately I’m thinking this kid has got really good hand eye coordination. Because I know that I would’ve been able to accomplish that.
Okay, whom I to judge maybe the kid is gifted or something. He could possibly be a future Moto GP racer or something along those lines. Enough chitchat, time to get back to the main mission to have a good time and ride some Harley-Davidson motorcycles for free. Yeah baby! I told him “give it hell and have a good time.” He smiled and walked away.
I walked up to register to ride on the Breakout and found out due to my lollygagging I had missed the spot and had to wait for the next group. Okay, cool what’s the big deal. I waved to my new friend sitting on a bright yellow Harley-Davidson 72. He waved back. Still had that same smile on his face. Like someone had just pumped some drug into his veins. I’m assuming his high was because he was sitting on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle getting ready to go for a ride.
I backed away to a far corner in the parking lot and thought to myself, “I’ve never videotaped a group leaving from the beginning of a demo ride.” Yep, it was definitely time to raise the bar at coolcycledudeTV. So there I was videotaping the riders leaving between the cones and thinking to myself I should get an Oscar for this. All the sudden I heard a loud smash and instinctively turned my video recorder in that direction. Like a true journalist.
Well lo and behold the kid had the motorcycle under a car in the parking lot and he was still on the motorcycle. The guys managing the demo ride ran over to him as fast as their feet’s could propel them. I mean I never saw so many fat old guys in Harley clothes moving so fast in my life. It was a good 40 yards from the tractor-trailer to where the kid had put the motorcycle under the car. But they traveled the distance in record time. They were also probably calling Harley-Davidson corporate lawyers during the sprint.
They pulled him out from under the smashed up yellow 72. He didn’t seem to have a scratch on his body which is probably a good thing. He was definitely shaken up and the smile was gone from his face. They took him inside to the dealer probably taking some information from him. I was a bit surprised they didn’t call an ambulance and send him to the hospital just to make sure he didn’t suffer from any internal injuries.
I was sitting on the curve wondering if the demo ride was going to continue when my smiling friend comes up to me and says “that’s a bad motorcycle.” I instantly agreed with him and told him I would stay away from Harley-Davidson motorcycles. He shook his head in agreement and went to his car. What I should’ve told him is that he should stay away from all motorcycles in general.
I guess the lesson I learned from all this is Harley-Davidson Corporation puts itself at great risk by offering these demo rides and I should stay away from bad motorcycles.