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Photo by Genghis


I had this thought the other day, when I was riding my bike:

“Man, I love this bike.”

It seems like I’ve been in love with this motorcycle forever. Then again, I’ve had Mabel, my 1971 Harley Super Glide for 30 years now, and that is a lifetime for some. The overwhelming feeling of loving warmth that I feel for this bike, speaks to Mabel’s friendliness.

AUGUST 1989:

I was on my Harley 74 Mabel, and we were headed to west 4th Street in the West Village in NYC, to meet the Editor of Iron Horse magazine. His name was David Snow. David responded to letters I’d written about my bike to the “Back Talk” section of the rag, by inviting me to have my bike featured in Iron Horse.

IH ISSUE 100: The issue Mabel would be featured in.

We had agreed to meet at a certain time to have my bike photographed by the rag’s staff photog, Rob Sager, and to have Snow get some kind of story idea for the feature article. I however, decided to get there early, to watch a photo shoot that David and Rob were doing on another bike.

I ran into David and Rob at West 4th Street (actually, this section of West 4th street is known as Washington Square South) and Sullivan Street, where David had his Shovelhead parked in front of a grocery store. David’s wife Shawn, was there too.

As Rob was going through his photographic paces with the other feature bike, David began asking me questions about Mabel, trying to get an angle for the feature article he was going to write about her. One question he asked was, “So why did you name her Mabel?” I replied….

“Because it fits her personality. Mabel is a friendly bike, so easy to get along with. Mabel is a friendly name, free of guile.”

If that was 2016, I probably would have used the term “user-friendly” about Mabel’s personality. That’s what she is, user-friendly. I’m not saying there haven’t been moments of adversity and drama with Mabel over the 30 years I’ve had her. But those moments were few and far between. That is to be expected of old motorcycles, but overall, life with Mabel is easygoing—a fluidly enjoyable man-machine relationship. She really is as easygoing and reliable, as any new Harley is.

The primary goal that I’ve set with Mabel, is to keep her as new and reliable possible, and I believe that Mabel and I have met this goal. After all, if one is planning to be Going The Distance with a Harley for the rest of one’s life, one has to be mated with a reliable Harley—and that’s who Mabel is, an easygoing, dependable and friendly motorcyce.

Photo by Genghis

MY MOTORIZED LIFE PARTNER: Strong, sexy and dependable.

It’s not fashionable these days, to declare how much one loves one’s motorcycle. I doubt if you’ll ever see articles in today’s chopper rags, about how much a biker loves his or her bike. But this love for one’s bike, is at the very root of the biker subculture. In Hunter S. Thompson’s book on the Hells Angels, Thompson interviewed a Hells Angel, an interview in which he asked the biker to describe what love meant to that biker. That biker said….

That says it all, doesn’t it? Later.




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