Remember what riding is all about

Oxford (02 April 2012) - Sports bike enthusiast, Carli Ann Smith from Lincolnshire, started riding motorcycles when she was 12 years old, starting with an off-road bike. Now 21, she rides an R6 and often goes on group ride-outs with her sports bike-mad Mum. Since starting work as a Harley-Davidson press officer, she has had her eyes opened to different types of bikes and decided it was time to try out one of the motorcycles she spends most days talking about.

“Before starting work as a Harley-Davidson press officer, my only interest of the brand was to one day ride Route 66 on one, because it’s such an iconic biking trip and has to be done on a Harley. But, from the outside looking in, the range of bikes seemed pretty daunting. I always thought they were bikes for people who didn’t want to race round everywhere and who regularly took a pillion…

“Thankfully, my work in the press office for H-D UK means I now know a lot about the Harley-Davidson® families, but I still wasn’t sure which would be the right model for me. However, any reservations I did have soon disappeared when I called into my local dealership in Lincoln to book my test ride.

“They took my details and booked me in at a time that suited me and explained all the relevant documentation I had to take with me: driving licence (both parts), utility bill and any other form of identification. All I had to do was turn up with my riding gear and jump on.

“I had a walk through the dealership and was told about the characteristics of each model so that I could make an informed decision for my first Harley-Davidson riding experience. It was nice not to face the assumption that as a young female rider, my only option was a Sportster. I did, in fact, choose an Iron though, as it had midway foot pegs and was one of the smallest of the Harley-Davidson® range, so I felt like I’d still be in my comfort zone. The range was huge but it was nice to know that with the right parts I could technically ride any of them!

“When I set off I had butterflies in my tummy and I was shocked at the different riding style from my old bike. Riding down the streets of Lincoln on a bright yellow Iron gave me the greatest feeling in the world. Hearing the rumbling of the V-twin engine when I stopped at traffic lights and similarly overtaking traffic, made it one of the most enjoyable rides I’ve ever had, and made me remember why I love motorcycling so much.

“It’s the ultimate feeling of freedom with nothing to worry about but yourself and the road ahead. I explored the Lincolnshire countryside for around two hours to really get a feel for the bike. When I finally turned round and headed back to the dealership, I begrudgingly handed over the keys and started thinking about the next one I could take out for a spin. I have to say I normally wouldn’t have been interested in a Harley-Davidson but until you’ve been on one I wouldn’t judge. For me now, I would happily take my R6 out on the track to go fast and get my speed kicks but for riding around the countryside and heading to the seaside I would happily go on an Iron – I’d probably ache less when I got to the other side too!

“The big difference for me was that I actually had time to enjoy the ride and what was going on around me, rather than focusing on pinning back the throttle and keeping an eye on the speedo. I’d definitely think a little wider when I come to change my bike and I will encourage my Mum to give it a go too!”

If, like Carli, you’re looking to trade-in a sports bike or simply want to try out an alternative motorcycle to your own, then a Harley-Davidson test ride is your chance to try something new with no obligation. You can book the bike you want in advance online or call into your local dealer to get some advice.

And, as if having the experience of riding a Harley-Davidson® motorcycle isn’t enough of an incentive, all riders completing a test ride booked on line from 1 April to 30 June have the chance to win a trip of a lifetime to ‘Motorcyclist’s Mecca’, Route 66.