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BIKER NEWS: Motorcycles not just a mode of transportation for many bikers

BN- For 73-year-old Wesley Myers, riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle helps him get his balance back in life. If something see...



BN- For 73-year-old Wesley Myers, riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle helps him get his balance back in life.

If something seems off or he just needs to clear his head, the Dothan resident, a life-long motorcycle rider, just hops on his Harley and goes for a ride.

“You can find your equilibrium, and you see what’s really important,” Myers said. “I ride because I enjoy it. Some people go to doctors and therapists to clear their mind. I get on that thing. It’s a therapy machine.”

Myers, who has been riding motorcycles for over 50 years, has owned several motorcycles, ranging from a Triumph to several Harley-Davidson models. He currently rides a 1993 Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic motorcycle.

“I rode yesterday, and I may go out this afternoon,” Myers said one day last week.

For both Myers and 66-year-old Ron Manning, also a life-long motorcycle owner and rider, it’s the open roads amid nature and the camaraderie found in riding a motorcycle that draws them year after year back to the motorcycle.

Some of it is about being outdoors and one with nature.

“You get to experience all these senses you don’t get from inside a car,” Myers said. “You can smell the pine tar from freshly cut trees, and I like the smell of freshly turned peanuts. You’re more alive and you get to really feel nature.”

Camaraderie

For Manning it’s not only about experiencing the outdoors, but the camaraderie the motorcycle brings with it. Manning owns four motorcycles, including two Harley-Davidson models - a 2004 Screaming Eagle and 1986 FXR Custom model - along with two Buell motorcycles, one from 1995 and another from 2009.



“As I’ve gotten older I enjoy the comfort more than I enjoy the looks and custom ones,” Manning said. “I ride the Screaming Eagle the most. It’s comfortable, and I just like the looks and feel of the bike. It’s just put together well.”

The first motorcycle Manning owned as a teenager was a Bridgestone. He later went on to own 15 to 18 other motorcycles throughout his life, ranging from Harley-Davidson models to a Honda, to a Yamaha to a Ducati.

“It’s just a great experience,” Manning said. “My enthusiasm is just as strong now as it was when I was a teenager.”

Manning primarily rides his motorcycle with a group of Harley owners from the Dothan area. Manning helped start the group with longtime riding friend and local businessman, Dutch Holland, the owner of the Dothan Harley-Davidson dealership. The group, which started in 1986, now has over 100 members and is sponsored by Harley-Davidson of Dothan. The group is also referred to as the H.O.G. riders (Harley Owners Group).

“There’s a certain camaraderie in motorcycle riding, especially in Harleys,” Manning said.

Manning has retired twice, once from serving over 20 years as an Army aviator, and again from the civil service field.

Manning also enjoys riding with groups of friends outside the H.O.G group. He rode a motorcycle the length of U.S. Highway 1, from Key West, Florida to Fort Kent, Maine, twice in one year. He also rides periodically with Holland.

“I met Dutch when I came here in 1979. I couldn’t ask for a better friend, or dealer,” Manning said. “It’s folks with a common interest in motorcycles.”

While Myers isn’t a member of any one motorcycle club, he takes part in the activities of several area clubs and various poker-run fundraisers. He sometimes rides with the Infidels Motorcycle Club, the Chaotic Few Motorcycle Club along with the Faith Motorcycle Club, affiliated with a local church.

Myers, who formerly served in the U.S. Army National Guard, also rides with the local Patriot Guard group when they take part in veteran’s ceremonies and burials.

“You get to meet more people and have fun,” Myers said. “They enjoy their bikes, and I enjoy my bike. It’s like a social.”

This article was first published on Saturday, October 17, 2015 11:00 am | Updated: 11:10 am, Mon Oct 19, 2015.
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