Harley-Davidson news Oct. 17, 2017: lower-than-expected quarterly sales.
O.K. I admit it -- I have a soft spot for Harley-Davidson (HOG) .
Maybe it's Harley's innovation, social impact and iconic history. Maybe it's just the look of the bikes. Who doesn't love sleek lines, chrome and leather combos and bad-boy (er, girl) image of a Harley?
Maybe it's the ride. My 2013 883 Sportster is ideal for my non-NYC life in 'upstate New York'. I feel empowered every time I set out on an adventure. It has great control for those Bear Mountain turns and it's comfortable riding Hudson Valley's backroads. I feel giddy at the sound it makes. When shifting gears, well, it's meaty! At least, that's the term my pal Mitchell Nicholson of EssentialMoto.com and I settled on when describing Harley's experience while hanging out at the recent @AIMExpo .
I have so many memories of my parents when they, too, rode Harley-Davidson bikes back in the 70's. I was 6-or-so years old. I thought my parents were total badasses. I especially thought my mom was a badass. You'll agree when you check out this Instagram of her wearing go-go boots. In case you're wondering-- yes, she wore these boots riding my dad's Harley 175.
Today, mom reminded me about riding in Cape Coral, Florida. She took the dirt roads because it didn't hurt as bad if she fell. That statement alone makes me laugh and reveals just how fierce mom was then and, well, still is today.
Can you picture it? Mom, go-go boots, taking off on that Harley-Davidson. If that isn't inspiration for a little girl in the 70's, I don't know what is. Girls didn't ride bikes back then, but my mom did.
Next Generation of Riders
So, what about my kids? Are they interested in motorcycle riding? Well, my son has been riding dirt bikes his whole life. And recently, I signed him up for a rider safety course with MSF that led to him getting his motorcycle license. If you ask him, he's more interested in those adrenaline pumping Kawasaki Ninja H2R or Ducati motorcycles than a Harley. Still, he has no complaints when he takes my Harley for a Sunday ride. He's even admitted that the 2018 Fat Bob might be nice. Or maybe an Indian. As for my girls, they're not really interested in riding. They say my motorcycle is too heavy and too difficult to handle. Even still, Harley-Davidson (HOG) CEO Matt Levatich and Polaris (PII) CEO Scott Wine are committed to focusing on cultivating the next generation of riders, promising to drive up new riders in the U.S. by 2 million over the next decade.
Can they do it? Maybe. But, they could learn a lesson or two from my story. First, girls need to grow up on motorcycles like my son did. Second, they need a few badass role models to inspire them, much the way I did back in the 70's.