Shovelhead Angst

I hate Shovelheads. It’s nothing personal. I’m sure there are some really nice Shovelheads out there. I have friends who ride Shovelheads.

I started my life as a full time biker chick in the early eighties. I was married twice back then, both times to guys who rode rigid frame Panheads with suicide clutches and jockey shifts. In fact, I learned the fine art of riding one of those babies on a dirt logging road (our driveway) when I was about five or six months pregnant, just in case. It was the only transportation we had. I love Panheads.

Most of the people I knew back then rode Panheads. There were a few that owned the “late models”, and we built some at the shop, but none ever stuck around. We had a particularly tough customer that had commissioned a Shovelhead. Well, he wasn’t so tough; it was his girlfriend. He was paying for a running motorcycle. She wanted a show bike. I was pretty torqued by the fact that this witch was getting away with making all these demands, and when I saw her at a swap meet, I started a fight with her. I got my ass kicked badly. I suppose that getting beaten to a pulp over a Shovelhead hasn’t improved my feelings for that model.

Time passes. I go to bike shows and see Shovelheads in the antique categories. It’s like hearing a song you remember as a new release, and the DJ calls it an oldie. I don’t know why we can’t forget about the AMF years.

Last year I was dating a guy who rides a Shovelhead. The bike’s been ridden hard and put up wet. I really liked Joe. He loves his motorcycle. It was like a stepchild I’m not that crazy about. I understood, appreciated, and respected his unconditional love, but I wasn’t feeling it. Joe’s Shovelhead was far from dependable, so when he disappeared into thin air one day when I was expecting him to show up, I rode his way, looking in ditches and turn offs and anywhere else he may have broken down or wrecked. I thought he would have expected that, since he was always so righteous about stopping for any bike on the side of the road. However, he’d made it somewhere with a bunch of excuses as to why he couldn’t call or text or e-mail or whatever and wasn’t in any hurry to let me know he was OK. When I found out he wasn’t dead on the side of the road, I was angry. He felt I should have been more sympathetic. That was the end of that.

I hate Shovelheads.