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MARY: An old love.

I had my righteous ’64 Sting Ray. I was happy with her. That was “Unnamed Vette” as you know. But—I wanted a Harley. The wanting of that Harley was burning a hole in my mind, and I couldn’t take the pain anymore. Yet, I could not afford both. I was a broke college student. So, I sold my Vette that I loved so much, taking a gamble that the love I would have for the 1968 Harley-Davidson Sportster XLCH, would more than compensate for the loss of my Chevy Sting Ray.

I had my 1971 Shovelhead “Mabel,” whom I loved so much. Yet, I wanted a generation 3 Chevy Corvette Stingray (spelled as one word, as opposed to the ’64 Vettes that were spelled with two words—“Sting Ray”). I’d been without a Vette since I sold “Unnamed Vette” in 1968 so I could get my first Harley. This time around though, 31 years later, I had some extra bread so that I could keep my beloved Mabel and still have that Vette I wanted so much. The wanting of the “new” Vette in my life, burned a hole in my mind. But I hadda do it! The hidden question whispering in the back of my mind was, would dual ownership of the machines I loved, Mabel and a Vette affect my love for one or both of those machines? I was willing to risk that, because I couldn’t take the pain of not having a Stingray anymore.

I sometimes wondered if I’m an anomaly among bikers. To my recollection, I may have been the most open biker to have written so honestly about my love for my motorcycles. That’s “love” as if my bikes had a soul and feelings, which they did. I know that by being so open about the emotional side of being a biker, I was trying to get other bikers to open up a little about their love for their Harleys. I know that that love was there, if not self-acknowledged very much by bikers. Except for this guy, a Hells Angel from the 1960s, trying to define “love”:

“Love is the feeling ya get when ya think of your motorcycle.”

I know, a true “Hallmark Moment,” but hey! At least the guy was being honest! I imagine that that quote of the Hells Angel which appeared in Hunter S. Thompson’s book, may have invited some snickering in some corners of the biker subculture. Not that those snickers would ever have been aired in public, or it would have demanded some ball peen hammer work by an expert.

More questions arose in 2018, when I decided it was time to hang up my drag bars on glide risers. Keep in mind that I’d had those same drag bars since the early ’70s, when I bought them from Brooklyn Harley-Davidson. Those drag bars first graced my ’68 XLCH “Sally The Bitch” on 5 inch glide risers, before they migrated to Mabel’s 8 inch glide risers in 1985. After I self-pried those drag bars from my warm, live hands—the questions that arose were these: “Would there be a hole in my heart from losing my Harley, and how would my overall loyalty react? Would I love “Mary” my Vette more, be “redistributed” so to speak?”

“Nature abhors a vacuum.”

Gotta tell ya, there was one helluva hole in my heart—a “vacuum” if you will—after I gave up riding and my beloved Shovelhead. I’m here to tell ya that there has been a redefining of my feelings of loyalty–along with my feelings of love for my Vette “Mary.” More on this later.

But first, some of ya may remember that I took a lot of incoming at Iron Horse, when I flatly stated that I saw my Harleys as “recreational” in nature. Lots of bikers took out their torches and pitchforks in their irate letters to IH’s “Back Talk” letters to the ed section. Hey, I was merely pointing out that in my specific case, living here in NYC, that I didn’t need a motorcycle for transportation. There are many bikers who do need their bikes for basic transport, but I wasn’t one of ’em.

So what did that mean? It simply meant that I “needed” my Harleys emotionally, to have and to love–therefore rendering ’em “recreational” in nature. So sue me if ya don’t dig my choice of language, okay? But it is accurate.

Here’s sumpin’ else: I didn’t “need” my ’64 Vette in the 1960s, and I don’t “need” my Vette Mary now. I only need to have her and love her, and to love driving her. That’s a fact. Nobody within the confines of NYC needs a car. People own cars and motorcycles here, because they love ’em.

Now to the meat of the matter. After I got over the shock of losing my beloved Harley, and the loss of riding in my life–which was a monumental shock—I’ve adjusted to this reality. With that reality, has been a shift in my overall feelings toward Mary, my Stingray.

Nature abhors a vacuum.

That vacuum, that hole in my heart, has been compensated for, filled in by an increased love for Mary. I will go as far as saying that the exuberant feeling I have about my Stingray, is like a resurgence to the level of enthusiasm I had about my first Vette—when I got “Unnamed Vette” in 1966. Now, that is saying a lot. So yes, my loyalty has shifted.


One thought on ““SPLIT LOYALTY?””

  1. My poot sookybear, you have had so many memories made along the way, with your cars,and bikes. It must be very difficult, to stop riding.
    You are however, much safer, not doing so. Besides, you now have your corvette
    So you can still get about X ❤ 🐻 12

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