ROAD TRIPPING IN TENERIFE

I've dropped a lot of bikes. No, not dirt bikes, but my daily rider. After years of skateboarding with the understanding that “you will fall,” I seem to have the magic ability to trip and fall at any given moment, and I’ve developed the unique skill of constantly dropping bikes. My first time riding a motorcycle was when I was taking the course to get my license and I dropped the little training bike a couple of times, right from the get-go. Shrugging it off, I picked up it up and toddled on until shortly after I was cast aside to “practice on my own.” Those low-speed drops seemed similar to skateboarding or anything else where you might expect to fall.

When Harley-Davidson Canada asked if Fast Times was interested in testing out the new 2018 Sport Glide—part of the new Softail lineup—in Tenerife, Spain, I was in. Not knowing a whole lot about what a press ride entails, I started to recall the many times over the years I’ve dropped a bike. Among a few of my key bike
chucking moments was the first time going for “gold” at a campout in Milwaukee that hosted a bunch of motorcycle field games. The basic idea was to ride two-up towards a trough-like contraption set at a downward angle, drop an eight ball at the top of the trough and ride to the end where the person on the back of the bike aims to catch the rolling ball in a helmet. My bud Jordan Glenn was on the back and we came pretty close. He caught the ball for a split second only for me to lose my balance and fall into the trough, in front of hundreds of people, naturally. Then there was the time I went to Ride or Die in Ohio, a skateboard and motorcycle event where the general premise is to ride to bunch of skateparks. After a day of hitting different parks, I pulled up to the afterparty and parked
along the curb on a slight hill, lost my balance and, inevitably, went down. In my defence, I did have a week’s worth of stuff strapped to my bike working with gravity but against me. As I was picking up my bike, one of the onlookers rushed over to see if I was okay, defensively I responded that I was fine and he replied, “We all drop our bikes.” It was then and there I accepted my fate as forever a bike chucker and realized some people are more prone to gravity. 

As the plane starts its descent into Tenerife, passengers get a glimpse of the island with its winding roads circling a volcano, cascading out to the coast. Once the plane lands, I’m greeted by someone holding a sign that says “Harley” alongside the other people who’ve been invited, including Charles Pascal from Montreal. Neither of us have been on a press ride and are not sure what to expect. At thehotel, we are guided through tomorrow’s itinerary of a full day’s worth of riding with the main premise to just ride the bikes.

Going into my first test ride, I knew that casually dropping a brand-new press
bike was a no-go, but riding the 2018 Sport Glide around what seemed like a million twists and turns on the Spanish island helped to clear the dread from my mind. Situated north of the Tropic of Cancer, Tenerife is immensely beautiful with
every twist offering a diverse landscape. As we climbed up around the volcano
Mount Teide, Spain’s highest mountain peak, the Sport Glide’s torque 107 cubic
inch Milwaukee Eight motor didn’t skip a beat as the roads rose above the clouds. 

In the end, I had an amazing riding day, exploring some of the world’s best scenery, on a bike that was fucking fun and a new riding bud from Montreal. It was my first time participating in a legit press launch, and, as someone who is perhaps more strongly affected by gravity, I can safely say that no bikes went down on my watch. Maybe the curse is broken.

Words by Lyndsey Westfall