Motortopia: Where your passion parks

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My first car

'63 Chevy BelAir, 4 door, 235 'Stovebolt' 6, Powerglide, w/power steering.

Slow as molassis to start, but would do an honest 110 mph...

Bikes Profile

About me and my passion for bikes

Recently on an early morning radio show, one of the co-hosts made a comment, "...bad-boy...rides a Harley...".

I felt a need to respond...

From: James C Kearney Jr
[mailto:**********]
Sent: Friday, November 02, 2007 10:46 AM
To: (host name deleted, JCK)
Subject: Continuing stereo-type

Great show, however...

While listening to the comments this morning about the missing teacher and 13 year old, "J" or "S" made mention of "bad boy, rides a Harley...".

Less than 2% of motorcyclists belong to that 'group'. So, why continue the stereo-type when there are so many that lead very productive lives?

I have quite a resume' of leadership positions and am still in the public eye on occasion, lately mostly on motorcycles. BTW, I ride a Harley.

Here is some of my bio (from **********):
Married (Theresa) since 1977, and have one daughter and three sons. Melinda is married to Paul (from Australia) and Thomas and Travis are their sons. Jeremy is an Army medic, James III was KIA 11/1/04 in Afghanistan, and Brandon is currently an auto/truck mechanic.
Activities/groups include: Scout leader (local, district, and council levels), past commander at local American Legion Post, charter member of the Western Iowa Chapter of the Legion Riders, member of the Patriot Guard Riders, member (4th degree) and District Deputy in Knights of Columbus, endowment life member of NRA, charter life member of AMA, member of local community club, member of county political party central commitee, and sing and play trumpet at church.
Hobbies include: motorcycle and automotive mechanics, electronics/computers, racing (all types), camping, shooting sports (all types),martial arts (four styles), and politics (frustrating but can be fun). (So, do you think I might be a little bit busy....?)

Yet I am given a 'black-eye' because of a 'casual remark'.

Thought you ought to know what one of your best listeners was thinking.



The response:

Hey, Jim. I appreciate what your saying. I'll pass it along to "S", although I know he was just using a quick reference that everyone would understand.

Yes, I do think the Huskers can one or even more. I never lose faith!

Thanks for listening,

GS

"S" responded:

Jim,

I made the comment this morning, and it was meant to further the stereotype of the Harley rider as one who is "edgy." Can you honestly tell me that you didn't choose to ride a motorcycle (a Harley, no less) because of the mystique associated with it? C'mon, Jim!

I meant the comment as a badge of honor. Saying that girls are attracted to guys on Harleys is hardly a put-down! Don't worry, I didn't intend to place you in the middle of an Altamont riot.

Thanks so much for listening -- have a nice weekend (great riding weather!),

"S"

My response:

Mr. V,

What "mystique" are you talking about? Let me ask you...

Do you remember the 'wind in your hair' you felt when you rode fast on your bicycle? That feeling of freedom? Remember building confidence?

With a motorcycle it's the same thing, but in spades!

My first ride as a passenger was when I was four days old (yes, DAYS, and you can verify that with my mother if you don't believe me), because my folks car wouldn't start and they wanted to get to church. In January, no less. My first solo ride was at 14. I was raised around motorcycles as my dad was the best Harley mechanic in eastern Iowa at the time. And, he was a champion hillclimber and racer! I still have pictures and trophies... Not once did anyone come by the shop where my dad worked, or our house where a LOT of friends on bikes visited, acting all 'tough' or some such nonsense.

There is no badge of honor in being a 'tough guy', at least not THAT kind of tough. And girls have been attracted to motorcycle riders the same as guys in uniform; he's different, 'dangerous'. All because of perpetuated stereotypes! You may not have meant to place me at Altamont, but you did (guilt by assoc...). By the way, my wife was interested in me before she even knew I rode.

Too bad you couldn't have joined the 75 or so riders, my wife, and myself at Saturday's memorial service in Glenwood, IA for Sgt Joseph Milledge, killed by a coward's IED in 'the Sand Box'. Over half are vets, mostly Vietnam. Most ride Harleys. Ask any of them if they are 'tough guys' when you see a tear roll down their cheek when "Taps" is sounded. None knew Joe directly, yet they showed up to support the family...

I don't know what else to say except maybe that, in my minds eye, you seem to be putting yourself into MY idea of the 'mainstream media'. May I suggest that you get a motorcycle and go on some rides with me to get a closer look at life; good therapy...

Jim Kearney, Jr
TSGT USAF/ANG (Ret) Vietnam Era
Western Iowa Chapter ALR
Gold Star Dad

Was I too 'hard' on this guy?

My first bike

'71 CB-175

Bike I still wish I had

'74 CB-750K4

Bike clubs I’m in

Not in any "clubs". I AM a member of: American Motorcyclist Association (Charter Life), American Legion Riders, Patriot Guard Riders

— Profile last updated: Aug 2, 2014

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