Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Biker in the Blood

I recently asked my mother (87 years young) if she had ever ridden in a motorcycle side car. She said, "Yes,first time in about 1939". Her twin brother Fred Fitzgerald was an avid biker in the 30's & 40's. She is pictured with her twin on their birthday in July 1949. Her brother unfortunately passed away exactly one year after the photo was taken. He was a kind, loving person and I've felt protected by him throughout my life even though he passed 5 years before my birth. He has been an angel on my shoulder and has watched
over me. I have always felt a connection with him and visit his grave site on occasion and let him know that his sisters' family is well. My older brother introduced me to motorcycling at a young age (12 or 13). I commenced to crash his nice Hodaka 90
into his new Olds 442 in our driveway on my first ride. The loving brother that he is, rather than slap me up, he took me out into the hills the next day and made me get back on and ride all day long. I was scared to death after my first experience but he insisted that I keep with it. I quickly overcame my fears and have been riding ever since. The years of riding since that time have brought me more joy than one can express.

Uncle Fred is pictured here (on the left) with some of his riding buddies in the 40's near Worden Montana. They rode their bikes up into the Beartooth Mountains on bear hunting trips, camping in an old ww2 surplus pup tent. They tied their rifles on the bikes. Packed a big cast iron frying pan and cooked over an open fire. Don't know how they would have hauled out a bear carcass but you can bet they would have figured out a way. No chase cars for these guys! ..........Back when men were men...........

Here's Mom a few weeks ago at 87 on a little sidecar outing around Yuma AZ. We spent an hour or so tooling around the area. I think it made her feel a little younger. There was definitely a little sparkle in her eyes when we returned home. She told me she once rode on Fred's bike to a graduation in Bozeman and back to Worden. Said she road in his sidecar with her little boy (my older brother) when he was just an infant. I think those rides must have somehow engrained the biker into my brother who, bless his heart, passed that onto me.
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Gila Mtns.

Gila Mtns.