Friday, November 1, 2013

View From the Road

      View From the Road
            by Ed Crumley

What the hey? Do-rags. Patch-heavy leather vests. Earrings. Keys and bike fobs hanging from belt chains. Many with tattoos for gosh sakes. Beards, and goatees? What happened to these lovely people?
Some serious morphing from school principals, cops, lawyers, printing company owners, surgeons, ministers, commercial artists, cigar store owners, brick masons, and on and on into (gasp) bikers doesn't just happen by accident.

No! Bill Harley and his pals, Art and Walter Davidson must've had twinkles in their eyes when they attached the first pint-sized gasoline engine to a bicycle 110 years ago. But as excited as they may have been in their early marketing success, they couldn't possibly have envisioned the vast network of Harley-Davidson dealers and dealer-sponsored H.O.G. chapters that exist nationally and around the world today.

On any balmy weekend or evening of the year, normal citizens transform themselves into brothers and sisters of the road. And a large number of them are well past the midcentury mark of their lives, some even into their eighties.

Why do they do take up this dangerous hobby, many ask. As the patch says: "if you have to ask, you wouldn't understand." Some have been riding most of their lives. Others made it number one on their bucket lists when they retired. Still, others like me rode small bikes or scooters to work in our young years when we had only one family car and dreamed of the day when we could hit the road again on more noble steeds.

Every time we straddle our machines alone or in a group, we get a surge of positive endorphins. It's always fun when our costumed crowd walks into an eating establishment and invokes one of three looks from the patrons: fear, disgust, or envy. I try to fake a thin smile that says I'm nice but watch yourself. When stopped at traffic lights or in gas stations, we often receive a thumbs-up or positive comments from cagers (car drivers) in the lane next to us.

But this is not merely a self-indulgent pastime. Much charitable good is performed regularly by bikers nationwide. The Patriot Guard Riders escort and protect military funerals on a regular basis while seasonal toy runs for children occur in every state. Bikers tend to be very patriotic and charitable as individuals and don't suffer the unpatriotic and uncharitable lightly.  

In our genre of motorcycle riders, safety and practice leading to skills is a given. Helmets, obedience to traffic laws, and ongoing training is standard. We hold no affection for "sport" bike riders snaking their way through freeway traffic at supersonic speeds clearing car fenders by inches. Nor do we have any patience with folks texting or engrossed in phone calls while we share the road with them.

When we pass a fellow biker and throw down the deuce, a two-fingered greeting, we have one thought for them that we tell each other when we part ways: "Be safe!"

Ed founded Ed Crumley/Architectural Arts in Dallas in 1969 and began a forty-five year career producing architectural illustrations and architectural models for architects, real estate developers, and corporations locally, across Texas and around the nation. Later he wrote, illustrated, and self-published a basic correspondence course on architectural illustration.

He has also used his writing talents observing modern culture as a freelance movie critic for Preview, a publication of Movie Morality Ministries for which he has detailed the plots in the latest motion pictures. He has also written human interest pieces for the Christian Pulse.
  Ed’s love of the outdoors has taken him and friends on many backpacking trips into wilderness areas of the Rocky Mountains.  These trips, his long involvement in the arts, his long interest in talk radio as a listener and caller, his study of Scripture, and his concern for people’s inability to find truth in the fog of today’s shallow popular culture, inspired him to began writing fiction as a way of providing readers discernment through entertaining and engrossing stories. 

After attending American Christian Writer’s conferences for several years where he attended many workshops on various phases of writing, Ed completed his first novel, a suspense/thriller, The Host, a novel of life and death on the high desert and has begun a sequel which features the same core characters, adds new ones, and deals with new issues.
The Host is available from, Barnes &, and Trafford Publishing.

Read an excerpt from The Host at:

Ed Crumley may be contacted at:


Caroline said...

Love this, Ed. My husband and I both love bikes, and in fact, I have a book releasing this month called Hog Insane, (not about pigs!) the first in a series of mysteries.

Your book sounds great, I'll have to ck it out.

Thanks for the post!

Ed Crumley said...

Thanks! Am making a note of your book, so I can order it when it comes out. BTW, I'm headed out for a H.O.G. Saturday ride to East Texas this morning.

Claude Nougat said...

Nice, love your piece! I hadn't realized you were all so gung-ho on safety and that's a really good thing! And a surprise for me: I always associated bikers with rebellion, I thought of them as dare-devils and I guess I was wrong...

Thanks for sharing this precious information!

Ed Crumley said...

Thanks, Claude. The bad-boy biker image began back in the fifties with Marlon Brando in the movie "The Wild One", the advent of restless WWII vets joining the Hells Angels, and a widely publicized photo of a guy drinking beer at a biker rally in Hollister, California.

There are rogues out there, but most of them ride the "sport bikes" and do crazy stuff on the freeways. The folks I described in my piece are H.O.G. (Harley Owner's Group) folks who are older, family oriented, people who are constantly engaged in positive group activities for many entities needing a charitable hand.

Annette Bergman said...

Ed, your piece reminded me of a deceased brother-in-law who lived on the Blue Ridge Parkway and he would walk down to a popular spot that overlooked Mount Airy, N.C. There were usually always some one there. He said of all the people he met there the Bike Riders were the best of all.
Thanks for sharing.
Annette Bergman

Sherry Carter said...

One of my closest friends and her husband love to jump on their Harley and join a group, going out for a day or for several days.

I was shocked when I found out they were riders - I confess, I had an image of what riders are like and they weren't it!

Sometimes I envy the freedom they enjoy when they're out on the road.

Great post!

Ed Crumley said...

Thanks for all of your comments!