What's your perspective of motorcycle riding now?
Rise: As you learn, it’s amazing how quickly the cliché’ evaporates and your perspective changes. I’m totally hooked, and tattoos weren’t even a requirement.
Frenden: I never saw myself as being capable of riding a motorcycle, but I was eager to try and prove myself wrong. Flaubert said talent is long practice. I’m inclined to agree. I take solace in that idea. I tell people that are struggling with their art training that if you like something, you do it a lot. If you do it a lot, you get good at it. I like riding, ergo I’m riding a lot. The rest will come with time.
What’s been your favorite part of the experience?
Lutzka: My favorite part is getting out on the roads every day. I skate and then I ride my bike. I’ve already ridden thousands of miles and I haven’t had my bike that long. Experiencing the road every day is my favorite part. It’s just you and the road and you’re in your own zone and you feel free.
Time warp forward to Labor Day and we find ourselves back in Milwaukee. I took the occasion to arrive a day before the rest of the crew and Gina Garde at Milwaukee Harley-Davidson milwaukeeharley.com graciously set me up with a beautiful blue, touring package, Street Glide to ride around Wisconsin before the scheduled festivities got under way. With body painted beer maids, female mud wrestling and live music at the Milwaukee N.W. HOG Clubhouse, Milwaukee H-D’s parking lot was a party in itself.
I caught up with the Taste of Freedom gang as things began to heat up and we made our way over to Harley-Davidson’s corporate headquarters on Juneau Ave. where 1500 hard working folks help keep the dream alive for all of us. It’s the site where the first “factory”, a 10’ x 15’ wooden shed, was built in 1903 in the backyard of William C. Davidson’s family home. A perfectly aligned row of glistening 2014 bikes met us upon arrival, ready to be ridden to the H-D museum where we would soon be joining the thousands of Harley enthusiasts who had made the “ride home” from near and far to celebrate the 110th Anniversary. Let the good times roll.
The following day we took in some exclusive tour time at the museum, a peek “behind the curtain” into the archives of this legendary company and beyond. Evel Knievel, Captain America, Easy Rider, classic race bikes, prototypes, the tsunami bike, it was all there and more and we took our time perusing it. To top things off, we were granted the pleasure of a private sit down with Bill and Willie G. Davidson. It’s obvious the Davidsons are passionate about riding and fueled to continue sharing both the fellowship and the freedom that comes with life on two wheels. Their enthusiasm can be summed up in Willie’s advice “Go loud. Go proud. Go like hell.”
Even after 110 years Harley is improving, expanding and pushing forward. I’m sure the founding fathers would be proud to see where Harley-Davidson is today. With the launch of the high tech driven Project Rushmore and the city inspired smaller displacement, water cooled Custom 500 & 750 H-D continues to give us more options and reasons to love the brand and the experience.
Milwaukee came with so many good times it’s hard to list them all. From the camaraderie with friends and fellow riders to conversations with the Davidsons, rides through the countryside in the Wisconsin rain and up the sunny West bank of Lake Michigan, a drivetrain factory tour, Kid Rock and even better was Astronautalis freestyling on the mic with Harley-Davidson’s very own Jeff Wick on the drums live at the Up and Under Pub on Brady Street in the wee hours of the night! Cole “floated” next to his bike while Greg ollied a Forty-Eight. We ate amazing food at Palomino and Sloppy Joe’s, were granted “Top secret” clearance at the Safe House and the list goes on...
By far and away though, the most surreal and memorable experience had to be riding in the Harley-Davidson Labor Day parade. Bar to bar with the Taste of Freedom bunch, along with thousands of other riders we began at Miller Park and proceeded to ride, high five and rev those big, beautiful, American made V-Twin engines through the spectator lined streets of downtown Milwaukee! Milwaukeeans embrace motorcycle riding like no other place in the world and we were feeling the love as we rolled. Cole Rise mentioned that science suggests the elation we were all enjoying was due at least in part to the release of serotonin associated with both smiling and even just simply viewing smiles. It’s safe to say that none of us had ever had so many people smiling at us for riding a motorcycle before. It was really something special, a natural high. Smile and pass it on.