Clarksville, Tn — I’ve only been riding for 3 1/2 years and have logged over 130,000 miles, on three motorcycles.
During that time, I’ve been very fortunate to not find myself in any mechanical trouble, or breakdown while traveling. I try to prepare myself for each trip, inspecting my bike and tires before I go, but as you know if you follow my blog, I am NOT mechanically inclined.
That all changed this week, as you can read here.
Traveling on a holiday and having a breakdown, poses more challenges as there is absolutely NOBODY working. Especially mechanics, motorcycle shops etc. If you have a mechanical issue, or a flat tire, and can’t fix it yourself, rest assured, it’s going to be extremely challenging to get help.
This too I discovered this week.
Now, most of you are great mechanics and work on your own bike or car, but a flat tire is a flat tire and there’s not a whole lot you’re going to be able to do unless you get towed somewhere. Then, because of the holiday, you wait until they open the next day to solve your problem.
Fortunately I was able to limp to my destination for the night and wait until businesses opened the next day to get help. I spent the night making out a list of all the tire shops in my area. All the towing companies too. If I couldn’t get a local tire shop to come help, then I was going to have to get the bike towed to the nearest Harley dealership which was nearly an hour away.
This article is about the guys who came to my aid, and didn’t try to take advantage of me.
I’ve heard numerous stories from fellow bikers about how they were absolutely “raped” by out of town mechanics, and dealerships who knew that they had no choice if they wanted help. I was not optimistic about what lay ahead for me.
So I resigned myself that I was going to have to get to the Pensacola Harley dealership, which meant I needed to contact a towing company. After a google search, I landed on “Little Bitty’s” towing service. To be honest, I chose them for the name “Little Bitty.” It turned out to be one of my best decisions of the day.
They sent a tow truck and a couple of guys helped me load the bike, including “Little Bitty” himself. He was the nicest guy, very engaging and I heard all about how he got his nickname. I can’t tell you much more about that because it involves an ex-girlfriend.
He’s also a biker.
Little Bitty is a small business owner who learned the business from his father. He started his own business several years ago and is doing quite well in a very competitive market. He has family working with him, including his wife. When we got to our destination, he cut me a great price for all of his trouble, and he went on his way. I will always be grateful to Little Bitty.
On our way to the Pensacola Harley dealership, we passed a motorcycle shop, H&D Cycles in Lillian, Alabama. It was on highway 98 which was taking us to Pensacola. As we passed by, I asked “Bitty” about them. He said they were great people, veterans and they only worked on Harleys.
I got their number and called. Don Rogers answered the phone and I explained my predicament. He said, “I got your tire, come on and I’ll take care of you.” And take care of me he did.
When the tow truck pulled into the cycle shop, his guys descended on my bike like a Nascar pit crew. Don hopped on the bike as the truck was letting it down and one of his guys was pumping the rear tire with air so they could get it into the shop.
In a matter of minutes they had my bike up on the rack, with the tire off, and the new tire preparing to be mounted. I was in TOTAL awe of what was happening. I had had some really bad luck and these two guys were doing all they could to help me. It was SO refreshing and I needed some good luck.
I spent a few minutes visiting with Don, an Air Force veteran who’s been a Harley guy as long as he can remember. He’s definitely old school and rides with a veterans MC and sponsors numerous charity rides in his area. He’s the total biker package from way back.
As a relatively young biker myself, with so much STILL to learn, you can bet your ass I was grateful I met these guys. There are still good people in the world. People who recognize that even if you’re down on your luck and need a break, they’ll lend a helping hand and get you on your way.
I travel to the Gulf Shores area often and you can rest assured that the next time I’m down there, I’m buying a couple of guys a cold beer.