Tag Archives: Icons

Americana: Harley-Davidson

Photo courtesy of Flickr, posted by Shantanu Jog

Photo courtesy of Flickr, posted by Shantanu Jog

Occasionally, these posts are hard for me to write. Like this one. Because not only am I not a motorcycle guy, a motorcycle is about the last thing that interests me. And yet…

Harley-Davidson is without doubt more than worthy of a place on any list of Great American Things. William Harley and his childhood friend Arthur Davidson couldn’t have imagined the phenomenon to which they were midwives when they introduced their first motorcycle in 1903. Now, over a century later, marketing folks in all fields are jealous of the intense brand loyalty of the Harley Davidson community.

It wasn’t always this way. The outlaw biker movies of the 50s through the 70s and the Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang associated Harley-Davidson with some of society’s least desirable elements. But even that has changed. Now Harley riders tend to have good incomes, be in their mid-40s, and often ride their Hogs to benefit charitable causes.

Some people love the legend. Some enjoy the freedom. Others are power junkies. But they all see themselves captured in the Steppenwolf song from the classic motorcycle movie Easy Rider.

Like a true nature’s child /We were born, born to be wild /We can climb so high /I never wanna die