I was first introduced to the Sturgis rally back in 1967. Though my dad was not a motorcycle rider he had friends who were. He introduced me to a Jack Pine Gypsy, one of the founders of the Black Hills Motorcycle Classic. I met George, a pipefitter and hill climber on a family vacation in the Black Hills. George had stories of motorcycles, hill climbs and rallies.
I made a couple attempts to get to Sturgis in the 70’s but was not successful. That's probably a good thing because I don't think my Suzuki would have been very well accepted. Then in the 80's I tried again on my Triumph, but didn't make it. Finally in the mid 90’s I made it as a regular event first on my Superglide shovelhead and then my Road King twin cam– it just took 30 years.Now, my son has carried on the tradition. I’m proud of him. To get to the Sturgis rally this year, he rode all day through rain and cold while his traveling companions trailered their bikes. Kelsey proved that he is not a merely a motorcycle owner, the possessor of garage candy. He’s a rider, a biker.
I’m actually a bit surprised that Kelsey is the first of my children to carry on the motorcycle tradition. I can’t take credit for any influence there, though I’m sure there must be some. He fell in to a group of blue-collar, fun loving friends who ride; guys he grew up with. His girlfriend, Allison also has motorcycle riders in her family; I’m not prepared to say they are bikers, but they are certainly motorcycle owners. (That’s her on the back of his Fat Boy riding in to Sturgis after we made a run to Deadwood and back.)Kelsey is an adventurous soul, a kind-hearted, hard-working, risk-taking, hockey playing biker. Tall and lanky, 6'4" as you can see how he towers over my 5'11". He is a smart, sensitive and sensible macho gentle man. Even if he were not my son, I’d be proud to have him riding next to me.
In addition, he rides one heckuva cool bike – one that I just had to practice my camera and photoshop techniques as the picture up top of this blog shows.
His entrance in to the biker lifestyle is another link in the bonding between father and son – a link that sadly was weakened for many years. I feel blessed to have the children I have and the bonds we share, each different, but in this case, it is the bond of a lifestyle.