Army Bob: The time has come to part with a Harley

by Robert M. Traxler

With a heavy heart I say goodbye to my Harley; pushing three quarters of a century in life, it is just time to look to the safety of continuing to ride a motorcycle.

Two plus decades in the United States Army taught me the importance of safety. In my basic parachute class, we had 500 students, every one jumping five times, totaling 2,200 jumps with only jumper not being able to run off the Drop Zone.

Safety was pounded in our heads on all levels, in all climates. Arctic survival school taught us to always to be aware of frostbite and hypothermia; the jungle school stressed hot weather causality prevention, and weapons safety stressed every year.

It is just time to give up the keys in the name of safety, both mine and others. I do love the riding time, going down the local roads and seeing the sights. This is a great part of our nation, and most folks who have lived here their whole lives probably do not appreciate just how beautiful it is.

So, I purchased an electric bike with off road capability to “get a ride in.” It’s not as fast and with a shorter range, 30 miles on a battery charge vs 160 on a tank of gas; recharge time is three to four hours, vs five minutes to tank up the Harley.

I stick mostly to gravel roads, and still wear a helmet and high visibility clothing, and use a headlight and
taillight. However, dumping a 70-pound electric bike at twenty to thirty miles per hour is a bit better than dumping a 400-plus pound Harley at 55 miles per hour. The speeds are less, so the reaction time is a bit less critical and safer for a man with three quarters of a century behind him, or do I need to say that in a gender natural manner? A non-birthing person of going on 75.

Army Bob Traxler

The age factor is coming to light with our President; even the two bastions of progressive and politically correct thought and speech, the Washington Post and New York Times, are both questioning President Joe Biden’s ability to run the nation. The sad part is that he is probably a better choice (even cognitively challenged) that Vice President Harris, if the disaster at the border is any example of her leadership and ability.

If you are a regular reader of this column, you know that I feel President Biden and President Donald Trump are both too old to lead our nation. Neither President should run again, though if I had to pick the better of the two, President Trump would get my vote, but let’s hope we don’t need to choose between the two.  

Well, it is the end of an era, decades of riding a motorcycle. The electric bike is better than not riding, but nothing beats a Harley Davidson and an open road and picking bugs out of your teeth. So, if you see an old fart on an electric bike on the back roads of Dorr Township, wave.


  • Damn I thought for a minute this was going to be a good story, and surprised you invested in electric, then you ruined it by throwing up the politics.
    Just my opinion.

    • Amen Gar. I think maybe all the years he rode his Harley his helmet was too tight? Anyone who thinks four more years of Trump would be good for the USA most have some kind of deficiency.

        • Lynn,
          Being a librarian and all, I am sure you have heard the term “The pot calling the kettle black”.
          Just saying.

  • Thanks for the comment. The point is age affects us all and we must know our limits in the name of safety and ability.

  • Mr. Traxler,
    I, too, thought you were going to give us a good yarn about life with and without your Harley. I enjoyed it right up to where you muddied things by tossing in your love of Trump, despite his failings, and your disdain for the new Vice President.
    You’re a great writer, Bob, and even when I disagree with you your skill is evident. That is, until you leave your topic and wander into something completely unnecessary to the story.
    Just tell a good story and leave it at that.

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