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The funny thing is people might think this is my favorite thing because I get out on the motorcycle and sing, but I sing in my car, shower and walking down the street. Singing is a byproduct of my freedom, but the bike is how I express my joy. I am my true self when I’m on my motorcycle.
In 1990, I went to a local Honda shop to pick up a helmet and saw a little Honda Rebel that looked like a pretend Harley. Once I sat on it, I felt at home and have been riding ever since.
I’ve only ever liked Heritage Softails. When I saw the big boominess with the studs, it was a no brainer to get one.
It suits my personality — it is big, out there and enjoyable.
My first Harley Davidson Heritage Softail I got in 2003. I picked it up and brought it home on my birthday on Dec. 23. I rode it home while it was snowing.
The reason this is so significant to me is I’ve ridden my bike in all but four states of the US, including Alaska.
I’ve ridden with the president of Michigan State University on my bike. I’ve also taken international students from all around the world on my bike.
The caveat is people have to sing with me. I’ve had the president of the university tell me she didn’t sing, but it was my bike and my rules.
Once you start singing, it is fun and anyone who notices you only notices you for two seconds. When you learn to let go, there is such freedom in that.
I just recently retired last October.
Primarily, I would ride from work and back and I always took the long way around so I was almost always late for work. I worked at MSU so I would go drive down Michigan Avenue and around to REO Town and through the backstreets of East Lansing.
What I also always tried to do is ride to south Lansing to the places where there are a lot of black girls to show them they could have this too. I make a point to let young black kids see there is nothing special about me. It is an expensive bike, but I saved up and bought it.
I have a gospel background so almost all the time when you hear me singing it is a shuffle of gospel songs. I do have songs I always like to start the season with.
The first is “O, What a Beautiful Mornin’” from the musical “Oklahoma!” No matter what, whether it’s my very first ride or when I take someone for a ride, it is my first song to sing. (This interview was edited and condensed by Dennis Burck. If you have a recommendation for “Favorite Things,” please email email@example.com.)