Another of my random observations of Americana is the speed they ride their hogs here.
In the UK, I seem to ride mine pretty quick for a Harley rider. I freely admit they don’t have the speed or handling of the sports bikes – that’s not what they’re designed for, they’re cruisers. But for me that’s a good thing – I’d probably kill myself on a sports bike. A Harley makes me ride slower. On a hog, I don’t feel comfortable pushing it around bendy roads, but given an open stretch of road I will let the throttle out. I’ve been known to overtake my fair share of tourers and even sports bikes on motorways.
Now your average Harley rider in the UK seems to ride much slower still. It’s not uncommon in the UK to see Harleys poodling along at 65mph in the inside lane on a motorway. I remember overtaking a couple of Harleys on a long straight coming back from Glencoe. They could only have been doing around 40mph and were holding up all the rest of the traffic.
I’m not trying to disparage the UK’s Harley riding fraternity – I’m one of them. I certainly believe people should ride for fun and with what they feel comfortable with. I sometimes wonder whether it is because a lot of Harley riders wear open-face helmets – I know I ride slower with an open-face helmet, I just don’t like the bugs in my face. And there are certainly plenty of exceptions to prove the rule. I’ve followed a couple of Outlaws down the M6 happily doing over 90mph.
After my first few days here, I began to think maybe the opposite was true here. The hogs are ridden harder here. I’ve often seen the sports bikes and tourers poodling along in the inside lane, and the Harleys flying by in the outside lane. I was doing around 90mph on the I-94 between Detroit and Chicago, and a big ol’ hog shot past me – he must easily have been doing more than 100mph. And guess what he was wearing – t-shirt and shorts!