Wednesday, December 9, 2009

ABATE -- a biker’s network

These days, there’s plenty of talk about “networking.” Websites and social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn are all doing it. But they have nothing over the biker network created by ABATE.

I took a trip the other day down to southwestern North Dakota showed me an advantage of the network formed by ABATE. ABATE is an organization promoting and enhancing motorcycle rider safety and motorcycle rider’s rights. The “B” in ABATE stands for “brotherhood” -- at least as some acronyms spell it out. The brotherhood was fully functioning in Dickinson.

I had every intention of staying home that weekend of the Bottoms Up rally. I had too much work to do. But Red prevailed upon me to take a late season rider to Dickinson and beyond.

We got a late start, and the ride got even later, into the darkness. So, we stopped in Dickinson, at one of those Ma and Pa motels I’m so fond of.

After checking in to the motel, we came back out to unload our bikes, and head downtown. I saw that pool of oil under her FXSTN (Softail Deluxe) but thought nothing of it. We rode to the watering hole owned by a huge ABATE supporter, Bernie Marsh, the Esquire Club. Get that? He’s a part of the ABATE network?

Red backed her bike in to the curb between two other bikes, but it was too tight a fit. So, she pulled out, whipped a u-turn and parked on the other side of the street. It was easy to see the move. It was marked by a trail of oil from her first spot, to her u-turn to the second spot.

I lay on my back next to her bike, trying to trace the potential source of this oil leak. I ruled out the filter, the drain plug and the transmission. There was no sign of oil on the block. It was all from the primary.

Inside the Esquire, I flagged Bernie. He was tending bar and was busier than a bat in a swarm of mosquitoes. I asked him if there were any bike mechanics he knew of in town. He disappeared and came back with the card for a new business in town, Patriot Custom Cycles.

The next morning we headed out to the Patriot shop and me the owner Wes Annable. Wes is another ABATE member and supporter. He’s retired military, had been in Minot, but moved to Dickinson for the weather (yeah I know, I wrinkled my brow on that one, too) and for his family. Dickinson is blessed to have him. He Wes started up this shop in Dickinson, and bikers will do well to trust him with their rides. He sure did us good! His diagnosis of the leak was the same as mine, and in minutes he had the Deluxe up on the hoist. After he got in to it, he saw it was worse than we had thought originally. A short conference and he was ready to dive in to the work.

While Wes was at work, we headed back to the other side of Dickinson on my bike, stopping again at our friendly neighborhood Prairie Rose café – the same one I wrote about in an earlier blog. I’d gone down there earlier in the morning, just in time to shoot the early morning light on the hunters and ranchers stopping in this landmark café.

Later that morning, after a good cuppa jo, we headed back to Patriot Custom. Wes had the bike done, and it was in better condition than we expected.

First, Bernie’s good counsel to hook up with Wes, and then the work Wes did. It’s one of those intangibles that come with belonging to a group such as ABATE -- networking. It’s worth it.


  1. Awesome. I live here now. & my nephew works for Bernie & is engaged to his daughter. I like it.

  2. I thought you'd get a kick outta this, and Kristi oughta appreciate a little PR for your town!

  3. Yes, ABATE is very worthwhile and truly a brotherhood. Great blog. Lookin' forward to reading more!