waffling about the widowmaker

This, for those of you who haven’t made her acquaintance, is the latest love of my life, whom I’ve had the pleasure of knowing almost three years now:



She’s a 2009 Harley Davidson Sportster 883 Low, which I’ve morbidly nicknamed “The Black Widowmaker.”  The problem is that I originally bought her for my wife Joni’s 40th birthday.  Joni took the HD training course to learn how to ride.  On the third day of the class, she crashed one of their bikes (not the Widowmaker) and came out of it like this:



That’s a broken wrist, a severely sprained wrist, and–oh yes–a torn ligamathingie in her left pinky that hasn’t healed properly, so now she can’t fully straighten that finger.  Understandably, she hasn’t ridden since. 


Thinking that I could convince Joni to get back on a bike, even if it was just as a passenger, I learned to ride and got pretty good at it.  This was not something I was eager to do: I almost quit halfway through the training course, because it seemed to be a waste of time and money.  What pushed me through was the idea that it would be fun for the two of us to ride together: I could do all the driving (she hates to drive, even cars), and she could enjoy the scenery.  That was my hope, anyway. 


Somewhere along the line, I fell in love with motorcycles.  Well, “love” might not be strong enough a word: the fact is that I’ve become a full-blown Harleyholic.  I ride in hot weather in a leather jacket, gloves, jeans, and boots.  I ride in the winter; layers are key.  I haven’t ridden in the snow yet, but that’s only because Maryland winters are pretty wussy for snow.  I don’t usually ride in the rain, because when you do, you get wet everywhere.  EVERYWHERE.  Like, even places on your body that your doctor doesn’t see.


I’ve been trying for a couple years now to coax Joni onto the Widowmaker, but she won’t do it.  So I have this bike that I bought for her, that she doesn’t want, that I didn’t initially want, but now can’t bear to get rid of it.


There are a 1,000,008 reasons to sell the bike, and only one to keep it.  Some of the reasons to sell are:


  • It was a present for Joni, and she doesn’t like it, so I ought to get rid of it and get her a present she’d prefer (like a trip to Disney World);
  • I’m making loan payments and insurance on it, so selling it would put an end to that cash outflow;
  • We could use the money I made off selling it (it’s in good condition and has low mileage);
  • I could get myself crippled, maimed, or killed riding it, which would throw a severe wrench into my life-long dream of winning Dancing With the Stars.


The only reason to keep it is:


  • I like it.


…which isn’t much, but it’s very strong.  So I’m waffling on what to do.  When I’m not riding it, I think logically and realize that the smart thing to do would be to sell.  And then I get back on and I’m hooked again.


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4 Responses to waffling about the widowmaker

  1. Vikki Brownley says:

    Loved the story Kenton! Well, Ron sold his bike in June, for many of the same reasons you listed. And actually, he really doesn’t miss it. We’ve decided that we’re going to buy an older Z3 at some point and drive around the country in much more comfort than a motorcycle could afford us, with the top down. 🙂 Maybe that’s something you should consider also? For when it rains, the top comes up LOL!

  2. mike harkema says:

    thinking same way about my heritage softail classic also…

  3. Lizzy says:

    I think that you should keep it, honestly. Yes, it was originally for Joni….and you can still get her something else for this year’s birthday…like a trip to Disney. At our age (ack!!) it is hard enough to find something that makes you feel young…feel good…etc., that doesn’t also kick your ass the next day. I understand you have a kid in college (she’s so smart…takes after her Aunt Lizzy)….but what is money compared to the joy you get from riding? You can get maimed/killed, etc. in a car just as easily…

  4. Mike B says:

    You know how I feel, the only thing better then a motorcycle is more motorcycles! I miss every bike I no longer own. I have seen sunrises, and sunsets. I have ridden along both coast. I have been in the heat, rain and snow. It has been a release for me for most of my life. In the times between owning a bike I have missed it. I have eaten pavement, been hit by vans &cars.

    I will ride until I no longer have enjoy riding.