Duff McKagan’s column appears every Thursday on Reverb.I am the father of

Duff McKagan’s column appears every Thursday on Reverb.I am the father of two girls. Our dog Buckley and I are outnumbered at our house, but at least I can say “No!” when my girls try to put pink ribbons in my hair. Buckley, of course, does not have that option. I have entered an age grouping that has had the name ‘crisis’ after it much too often for my liking. There is no way you will see me driving around some new yellow Corvette just to relive my 20somethings. No way, man! I am edgy and ‘street’ and have an image to uphold. So I chose a more macho new hobby to combat escalating estrogen at my home and deflating testosterone, also um, at my home…I’m a Harley rider. I’m a BADASS!Two summers ago, I acquired a brand-new Harley Davidson Road King. With an 1840 cc engine, it IS the biggest motorcycle that one can buy stock from a manufacturer. Why would I get a bike that is so big? To make up for my long legs of course. (There is another thing big machinery helps to accommodate, but it slips my mind at the moment-maybe it’s time for Ginkgo Biloba).There was a tiny hurdle between me and my Harley, however. In the State of Washington, a new rider must complete a 16-hour course to get a motorcycle ‘endorsement’ on one’s drivers license. So much for me learning to ride this monster at the U-Dub parking lot and letting the wind direct my next move. So much for me rumbling up to my neighborhood Starbucks and ordering my vanilla latte. All of those babes on the street would get a few week reprieve from going to the chiropractor to fix their necks from craning. No worries, ladies, I’ll be out there soon. I had to sign up for a course first. This isn’t so easy. As we all know, summertime in Seattle bustles with outdoor activity and I found out quickly that motorcycle class is one of them. I would have to wait 4 weeks…Class is what you might imagine; some teenagers, some adults just trying to get out of a moving violation or two, a lonely, pudgy, middle-aged woman habitually taking this class to meet a potential ‘hook-up’ (I’ll call her Sally), and of course, me. No part of this class screamed ‘REBEL’…but I guess I would just have to pay the Man his due here. I find myself saying things like this now that I have my ‘hog’. It was a hot weekend at the end of July and my class started to thin out fast. Everyone would go to lunch but not everyone would come back. By the second day, our ranks had shrunken to half. By lunchtime that day, they got halved again. I was feeling pretty good about myself as I was taking off my required ‘outside’ long-sleeve shirt for the ‘inside’ sit-down test. “Ooh, some eye candy!” I suddenly heard. It was the aging class taker Sally, and I had become the object of her cheap but obviously warranted affection. You see, I still indeed have ‘it’. I also passed the test.Goodbye all-of-the-time-perfume-scented-home! I’m gonna hit the open road! Put leather on my back and some aviator shades on my face and I am GONE! That is, once I’ve learned to ride this BIG of a bike! The ones at class were much, much smaller and now I have perhaps realized that a Road King is for a REALLY experienced rider. No matter, I’ll just putt around my neighborhood until I get the hang of this beast. I was practicing turns at the end of my street when my bike just sort of fell over. This ‘outlaw’ had to knock on a neighbor’s door to help him get his bike back upright. I went home with my head down.On day 2, a couple of friends came over on their bikes to take me on a small cruise. They told me to just follow their ‘line’ and do as they did. Now, I live in the city and there really is no rural-ness around me. The ‘California-izing’ of car driver’s attitudes in Seattle has put some daring into our already over-stressed roadways. I’m fine with all of this in a car, but on a bike? Shit, this is like some video game on ‘expert’ level and the consequences are real! Once we got to Lake City Way, my hands were so cramped from gripping on the clutch and brake that I had to tell my friends that my ride was over for the day (I only live about 5 minutes from Lake City Way. But, I digress!). Of course, when I got home and my wife asked me how my ride went, I embellished tales of life on the ‘road’; she said, “That’s nice, dear” and told me to take out the garbage.As the rest of the summer passed, I got a lot more comfortable on my Harley. It even got to a point that my wife and I would take late night cruises around the city. We even went to a rock show on the Road King…lookin’ all tough, parking right on the sidewalk right in front of the Hi-Dive, me and my ol’ lady. Actually, if I ever called her ‘my ol’ lady’ in her presence, I would probably not hear the end of it for a long, long time, and that would suck. I have learned to do what makes her happy and take the path of least resistance, and that is one of the reasons we have stayed together for so long. That, and I am a true stud, naturally. Speaking of things that make her happy, it seems these days that she ALWAYS wants to ride on the back of my bike. It’s CRAZY! She asked me if I could get louder pipes (exhaust) for my bike even. I told her that louder pipes would only make the bike rumble and shake more; she only nodded with exuberant approval…even clapping her hands! She really loves that bike. The only time that I’ve ever seen her visibly depressed was when I had to get some repairs done and the bike was gone for a week. She really, really loves that bike I guess! I never would have thought…So here I stand…the figure of pure bad-assyness, for the rest of you to admire and fear. I am the MAN of my house and I can do as I please. I can come and go as I want, no matter the hour (one day a week- and as long as get home by 11pm- and bring back a half-gallon of milk). My little girls look at me now with awe-struck admiration. My wife looks at me with a strange new lust that I can’t quite put my finger on, but never the less, it IS lust. I’m a biker mofos, and no Johnny Law can keep me down.If you happen to see a black Road King with a small pink sidecar for a dog…that definitely is not me. It might look like me and he may be as tall as me…but it DEFINITELY is not me!Ride FreeDuff


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