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You’d think I was driving this thing, wouldn’t you?Photo of the Author from my family photo album, courtesy of my niece, Jean Brown

My Funny Motorcycle Ride

Author’s Note: This was written when I was 64 years old. I’t’s now over 15 years since this ride, but given the opportunity, I’d still hop on that motorcycle in the blink of an eye.You might not think riding a motorcycle is funny, but it certainly can become that way when you are packing a tank of oxygen! I’ve been on oxygen therapy 24 hours a day, seven days a week since 1997. I do have some limitations, but I never let them get in the way of a good time. Here’s what happened.

In March of 2003, my niece Jean, came out to Vegas with her RV camper, her sweet pugs and her motorcycle, a beautiful HarleyUltra FLH-TCU. She stayed in a camp just down the street from our house. Pssst, the only reason I know the model is because she wrote it on the back of the photo.

After she settled in at the camp, she came to our house on her motorcycle. We went out and admired it and all the equipment. She told me she could talk to a passenger through radio speakers in the helmets while riding and play music through the same speakers when desired. She had an extra helmet, and all the equipment to make the ride safe and pleasant. Jean is a Motorcycle Safety Instructor for the State of Minnesota, so she knows her stuff.

As we’re admiring her “ride,” my niece says, “C’mon Aunt Nancy, I’ll take you for a ride.” I laughed,  thinking she was joking. I played along with the joke and said, “Right! Sure!” But to my surprise she was serious. She pointed out the extra helmet and the bags attached to the motorcycle where we could stow my oxygen tank. She asked how long a tank lasts, and I said about 4 to 5 hours depending on how much energy I’m exerting. She said to bring an extra one along and wear something warm. I didn’t think I’d need anything warm since it was summer time, but I’m glad I took her advice. Woohoo! I was about to take my first motorcycle ride EVER, at 64 years old and wearing oxygen! My niece knows me so well, she knew this was something I would jump at the chance to do.

Jean and Nancy

Jean and Nancy


We got on her Harley and off we went! Cruising down the streets of Las Vegas, people and cars seemed to be whizzing by…well, that is, they really weren’t whizzing, because in Vegas traffic that would be impossible. When we came to Boulder Highway, not too far away from home, Jean said to me through the microphone in my helmet, “Aunt Nancy, how about we take a run out to the lake?” She was referring to Lake Mead out by Hoover Dam, the largest man-made lake in the United States. I was game, so off we went. On our trip she stopped at a pullout, and took the photo shown above, making it look as if I was driving the bike. I didn’t, but I sure enjoyed riding. We laughed and sang along with the music through the helmet speakers all the way to the lake, and pulled over near the Arizona/Nevada state line to turn around. I felt almost giddy because I was having the time of my life! Jean asked me if my oxygen was okay and still going. I quickly checked and was stunned to see it was totally empty! Not only did I feel “almost giddy,” I actually was, since I was without oxygen for who knows how long. How long? I hadn’t a clue. We quickly got my other tank and hooked it up. She said to me, “Gee Aunt Nancy, maybe that’s why you were having so much fun!” We laughed together and got back on the bike for the return ride.

Years later…I’m still riding….

Only this time I’m the driver!

Here I am in my Harley “PIGLET.” Well, it’s not fast enough to be a HOG, but it works for me. But believe me, I’d take another ride on a Harley with my niece any time she wants to come out here. I guess I was just “born to be wild,” and it’s too late to change me now!

Me, on my "Harley Piglet."

Me, on my “Harley Piglet.”

Buy Harley-Davidson merchandise here through Amazon. – These items are always good gifts for a biker.


What’s the acronym for the Harley Owner’s Group? – Here’s a story you may have heard, but if not, you’ll love it!


Have you ever wondered why Harleys are called “HOGS?” The tale is told that Harley “Hog” was so named for a group of farm boys in the 1920s who rode Harleys and continually won races with them. They became known as the “Hog” boys because when they won another race they would put their mascot, a real pig, on their Harley and take a victory lap. The name stuck to the motorcycle. Then, in 1983, the Harley Motor Company created a club for Harley owners and used the long-standing nickname as its acronym for Harley Owners Group (HOG.) The company tried to trademark “hog” but lost the case when a court ruled that “hog” had become a generic term for large motorcycles and was not protectable as a trademark.

The Harley Owners Group went on to become a big part of the Harley-Davidson brand, since HOG members spend over 30% more than other Harley owners on merchandise such as clothing and Harley-Davidson sponsored events. The brand is presented as an American icon, focusing on the pride of being American-made.

Each Harley-Davidson dealership has the opportunity to sponsor a local HOG chapter. Some do not, but there are no chapters without a link to a sponsoring dealership. The official charity of the HOG organization is the Muscular Dystrophy Association, although each chapter can choose to support another charity or none at all.

I couldn’t find a video of a motorcycle ride to Lake Mead… – …but I found a ride with music l like, so that helps!

Of course, it’s all about the ride. But with that motorcycle music in my ears from the helmet speakers, it made it all the better! When you get that “free and wild feeling,” the music goes a long way to making that ride memorable. Steppanwolf’s “Born To Be Wild” is of course, the perfect rhythm, the perfect song for a motorcycle rider.




Taking a risk and getting out of your comfort zone is exhilarating!

Would you be willing to take an occasional chance of doing something out of your comfort zone?