Draper Motorcyclists’ Zest For The Open Road
David Anderson on his Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Limited
It was love at first sit for David Anderson when he test-rode a Harley-Davidson.
“I’ve never looked back and have never bought anything other than a Harley after that first ride,” says Anderson, who wears a Harley-Davidson “Tail of the Dragon” T-shirt from his ride through the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. The way a Harley corners and the bike’s ergonomics “are simply amazing,” he says.
Comfort is important too, because Anderson travels far on his Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Limited.
Downstairs in his “Harley” room, alongside photos and Harley club pins, a map covered in black lines details dozens of trips he and his wife, Marlyse, have enjoyed. Among the many are their annual trip to Laughlin River Run Motorcycle Rally in Nevada that they’ve attended for 16 consecutive years, the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park, and the ride up to Canada’s Vancouver Island.
Anderson’s longest ride to date—a solo trip around the circumference of the United States to celebrate his 50th birthday—is documented in a published photo book. Decked out in leather gear and taking back roads and visiting small towns, he spent 23 days covering 7,037 miles and riding through 18 states. His wife and longtime “riding buddy” Brent Taylor accompanied him for some sections. Anderson is now busy planning the next adventure for his 60th—a ride to Anchorage, Alaska.
It’s the freedom of riding that keeps Anderson going, as well as the chance to connect. “Our lives are so busy, but when my wife and I get on the bike it’s a time when we can decompress and talk to each other because we have no other distractions,” he says.
Then there’s the on-the-road camaraderie that seems to come with Harley ownership. “Everyone waves,” Anderson says. “At gas stations, people come over to talk with you…you immediately have friends. You talk about your bike, your destination, past rides, and you just click.”
Wherever he rides, Anderson says he’s a defensive driver, never having had an accident or near miss in the 140,000 miles he’s ridden on his Harley. His rule-of-thumb is to “ride like cars don’t see you,” because sometimes they don’t.
While he plays it safe on the road, he has been known to get into mischief in parking garages. If he hears a car alarm chirp, he sees it as an invitation to open the throttle, setting off a car alarm frenzy. He claims he does this as a community service to ensure everyone’s car alarms are in working order.
When life gets a little crazy, the way Anderson sees things is “you can spend an hour on a psychiatrist’s sofa or an hour on your Harley,” he says. “The result is going to be the same.”
Michael Andrews on his BMW K1200LT
After 45 years helping to build the internet, notably the Unix operating system, Michael Andrews retired and did two things: he became a school bus driver and he bought a BMW K1200 Luxury Touring motorcycle.
“I love to drive,” says Andrews, and the ultimate expression of this passion is taking out his beloved motorcycle—his “body rocket” as he calls it—for a spin when the weather is good.
Andrews has been a fan of the BMW’s smooth ride and German engineering since 1972 with his first bike, a R100. He’s only owned three BMWs, because, he says “they are designed to go forever.”
Why travel cocooned in a car, he figures, when the K1200 LT has all the qualities needed for a road trip? With cruise control, a six-CD player, ABS brakes, and a computer-controlled engine that automatically adjusts for the altitude, he has all the comforts of a car, with the added bonus of feeling the wind in his face and a closer connection to the land surrounding him.
Andrews came to appreciate two-wheeled transportation while commuting to Silicon Valley on his second BMW, a K1200 GT. Thanks to California’s lane splitting—driving a bike in between lanes on the freeway—he cut his commute time down by hours. That would leave him refreshed and ready for weekend rides to Gilroy to smell the garlic or to take one of his kids into San Francisco’s Chinatown for dinner.
“A motorcycle isn’t just a good tool to get to work on,” he says, “but also to enjoy the views on the way.”
Here in Utah, his favorite time to ride—or what he calls “go on vacation”—is pre-dawn Sunday, when no cars are on the freeway. The high-intensity PIAA lights he installed illuminate the road, and he’ll zoom westward, making it to Wendover in time for an early breakfast. “The dotted lines on the road are kind of a blur,” he says.
Mostly, he enjoys riding alone, on his own schedule and at his own speed. An exception to this is when his son, Jeremy, a professional bicyclist, tours Utah’s mountains, and Andrews acts as his support vehicle. While Andrews packs away food and water, his son races down the canyon.
“I’ll have to go up to 100 or 110 just to catch up with him so I can get behind him with my flashers on,” he says and then quips, “It’s just great to be a motorcycle-riding dad.”
Dale McMillan on his Honda Nighthawk
Dale McMillan’s love affair with motorbikes started as a kid with a Utah original—the Tote Gote. He and his brothers tore up their Murray lawn with these 6 HP and 8 HP utility dirt bikes, which were produced in Provo from 1958-70.
His love for motorcycles never wavered, and as a young man seeking more horsepower, he found a maroon 1985 Honda Nighthawk and bought it on the spot for $500. Except for a rusted gas tank, it worked and he’s been riding it ever since. While his dream is to someday tour on a Honda Gold Wing, the 650 cc Nighthawk will do just fine now.
“It is more of a pleasure bike,” he says and adds that the Nighthawk is quiet and easy to ride. “We don’t take it far away from home.” Last summer, he rode it to work where he noticed a motorcycle parking sign there that stated, “Harley Parking Only.”
Not to be intimidated, he attached a note that said, “And Some Hondas.”
Next to his Nighthawk is another bike—a 1975 Honda MT-250 Elsinore that is 100 percent original, including the tires. It sat in some guy’s garage and was “basically brand new” when he bought it.
Whether it be on the Nighthawk or the Elsinore dirt bike, McMillan enjoys taking his wife, Chris, on rides around Draper’s subdivisions after work and for evening rides every Sunday. Both find the rides relaxing and a fun way to wave at the neighbors.
“A lot of people take a walk,” he says. “We’d rather take a motorcycle ride.”