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Pony Tales Jan 2014

Pony Tales header

By Lulu

Someone asked me while visiting my family (who I am certain feel I have lost my mind) “What is the allure of motorcycles that keeps you involved with a culture that you were not brought up in, were not a part of until fifty years old and that is, quite frankly, dangerous?” The question itself stopped me in my tracks for a bit, as I was at Churchill Downs in the “culture” I was brought up in, being the child of a thoroughbred horse trainer. And the person asking was completely right, I had only been on a motorcycle once at 14, when a “bad boy” from the local high school asked me if I wanted a ride, I jumped on the back and was terrified. I swore to myself I would never do that again and didn’t consider dating that cute boy from Ocala simply because he owned that motorcycle. I wonder where Phil Whitaker is now. But after my divorce, at 49, my friend Kim and I happened to be at Thunder Beach in Panama City and wandered into Coyote Ugly where two guys offered us a ride. We ended up spending the whole event on two wheels. The son of one of the men who started Thunder Beach gave me a personal tour into the world of motorcycling and I was hooked. Looking back it may have had more to do with living on the edge going into the second half of my life, although Kim jokes that it had more to do with riding a Harley on the fender, as there was no back seat on that bike! Whatever the reason once in the “culture” I fell “in love” with the people I met on every event I attended. The world of bikers opened my eyes to a wonderful subset of people that are unlike any others. Not only are they extremely generous, patriotic and fun loving, they are also free spirits that, in general, don’t judge others. Dan Hagerty a friend I met along this adventure in life, told me he loves that you can be sitting on your bike riding next to Malcolm Forbes or next to a guy born in prison…on two wheels their joy in life is the same…the ride! And he is right.

Yes the love of motorcycles took me out of my safe zone; actually put me in a danger zone, both financially and in terms of safety. As anyone in the magazine business, including Oprah, knows print media is a constant struggle. But both are in my blood and despite the danger, I find it hard to walk away from either the magazine or riding. From the smell of leather to the rumble of the pipes it is a world that I enjoy. The feeling of rain pelting your face makes you feel more alive than any other. This year I turn 60 and realized as I was explaining all this to the person who posed the question, I have spent 10 years now entrenched in this world and the time has passed quite quickly. I would not turn back a page of it, not one page…

In 2014 spend some miles exploring a new area of our wonderful state, strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know and as always don’t forget your sunscreen.

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