Harley Riders Aren’t Whiners

Everybody knows that fifty years ago British and German machines dominated the motorcycle world, along with Harley-Davidson and Indian.  It was during those vigorous years that my friend, John, was a factory representative for BSA and Norton.  Life was good, having access to free demos while serving Texas and Oklahoma.  But unknown to the company, his favorite ride was a BMW.

Everyday was a ride day, but Sundays were more special.  He had time to ride longer and further.  Leaving out of Waco, he usually headed west for a spell, and then turned north toward the town of Hico, the home of a motorcycle friendly diner, the Koffee Kup.

Two others, Tom and Bob, also BMW owners, often joined him on those Sunday rides.  They were often joined by some Harley folks, four of them. In spite of being from the Houston area, they knew John was the factory rep for those two British lines.  So when they wanted to join with the BMWs they didn’t object to John being the ride captain.  It was okay that he set the pace, route, and time.

Since motorcycles were John life he made it a point to know the shortcoming of every machine on the road, including the fact that Harley-Davidson developed a nasty vibration at road speed.  At 62 mph the handlebars grips oscillated in a circle that equaled the size of a pork and bean can.

One time they’d ridden more than one hundred miles before reaching Hico.  John, Tom, and Bob dismounted and went in for coffee.  When they glanced out the window the Harley boys were manning their wrenches, checking the nuts and bolts that were holding on fenders, saddlebags, windscreens, mirrors and such.  When they were about finished John paid up, pushed through the door and stepped out onto the porch.

“You boys ready to ride?”

For an instant they seemed crest fallen, but then they nodded and mounted up.

After John finished his story he looked at me and smiled.

“They didn’t get any coffee all day, but nobody said a word.  There wasn’t a whiner amongst them.  ”