1994 Harley FLSTN, my first H-D

1994 Harley FLSTN, my first H-D

I guess I’ve come a long way since 1994. That’s the year I bought my first Harley, a Heritage Softail Special, designated the FLSTN by Harley-Davidson (The “N” stood for “nostalgia” because of the model’s retro styling). After that, I had an ’02 Dyna Wide Glide, and my current ride is an ’06 Heritage Softail Classic.

I started riding in 1973, when I was 16. Shortly thereafter, to my parent’s chagrin, I purchased my first motorcycle–a used ’73 Honda XL250. That was my first and only on/off-road bike; from there it was strictly street bikes: a used ’71 Suzuki T250R–a really cool and elegant-looking emerald green metallic two-stroke. After that it was a new ’75 Suzuki GT-550, another really cool two-stroke that I purchased by saving up from the supermarket cashier’s job I worked during high school and the first semester of college. It cost about $1300 new, as I recall. After that, I didn’t have another bike until I bought a used Suzuki VX-800 around 1991. I also had a used 1973 Suzuki GT-380 around that time, until finally in 1994, I went Harley and never looked back. There’s a certain magic, a certain mystique, to a Harley. The deep V-twin rumble. The classic styling. The tradition of a marque that had its debut in 1903. I’m not doing a commercial for Harley here; whatever you ride, it’s all good. I just happen to really like Harley-Davidsons.

Those of us who ride know the feeling of freedom, relaxation, and clarity of mind–the feeling of living “in the moment”–that comes with a great ride. It’s better than therapy–and in the long run, maybe cheaper; certainly it’s a lot more fun.

My first magazine article was about a motorcycle trip in 2003 from Orlando to Mexico for American Iron. The journey was truly a life-changing experience, one which I will write more about in a future post. Since then, I have written numerous articles for American Iron as well as for RoadBike and American Rider. I plan to continue riding, and writing, into the forseeable future. It’s just too much fun not to. Ride and write, I mean. The riding part is self-explanatory, of course; and the writing is satisfying–putting sensation and emotion into words and pictures. The clarity of mind I find cruising on the open road is what helps write the articles for me. As I ride, my “inner dialogue races along with the motorcycle’s engine: scrambled words tumble around disjointedly before dropping into place like shiny steel balls falling into the prize pockets of a Pachinko machine.” (I’m quoting myself here, the quote is from “Land’s End: Riding the Overseas Highway” in the March/April 2010 issue of RoadBike). I stop, I jot down notes, and more often than not, the article is written by the end of the trip.  It’s why I often ride alone on these journeys–all the stopping to write notes and take pictures tends to make the riding day a long one.

I wouldn’t want it any other way.

About Glen Abbott
Glen Abbott is a Florida-based travel writer & photographer specializing in motorcycle touring and travel. He is a columnist for Harley-Davidson's HOG and American Iron's Motorcycle Bagger, and his travel features appear regularly in those and other publications.

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