Readers and their Rides

Doug Plowman on the Pony Express Trail

Written by  January 15, 2004

Doug Plowman is a real motorcycle enthusiast. Last year alone, he logged over 11,000 miles, including a 2,000-mile trip to Sturgis, South Dakota. Doug works as a Property Maintenance Inspector for the City of St. Joseph, and when he's not riding, he enjoys shooting, hunting and fishing. Doug says he likes to ride because of the freedom he can only get while riding his bike.

Doug lives in St Joseph, Missouri, and since I didn't have time to hop on my bike and ride there to meet him, I cheated and picked up the phone to ask him a few questions.

CC: Doug, how long have you been riding?

Doug: About 25 years or so.

CC: What was your first bike?

Doug: My first bike was a Kawasaki KZ 650.

CC: How many bikes have you owned since your Kawasaki?

Doug: I've owned six bikes since that one.

CC: How many bikes do you currently own?

Doug: My Harley-Davidson XLC 1200 Sportster is the only bike I own right now.

CC: What do you like most about your bike?

Doug: It’s a Harley! If I have to explain, you wouldn’t understand.

CC: Fair enough! So what is your dream bike? I'm guessing it's probably a Harley?

Doug: I'd like to get a new Road King this spring.

CC: That would be nice. Why a Road King?

Doug: It would be better on the highway, and much more comfortable for a passenger.

CC: I can relate. I ride a '99 Fat Boy and my girlfriend would prefer that I had an Electra Glide. So what is your most memorable riding experience?

Doug: It would have to be my first trip to Sturgis in 2003. My friend Cecil and I rode up from St. Joseph, and it was a great trip. We stayed at the Hog Heaven campground, which was very clean and quiet. We logged over 2,000 miles.

CC: Did you haul your camping gear up there on your bike?

Doug: No. A friend of ours trailered his bike up and hauled our camping gear for us.

CC: That's the kind of friend to have! So what was your least memorable riding experience?

Doug: Back in 1993, I was in the Air Force and stationed in Panama City, Florida. A drunk driver ran a stop sign and I ended up dumping my KZ 650. I was lucky because I wasn't hurt and the only damage to my bike was a broken mirror and brake lever.

CC: You were lucky! How long did you serve in the Air Force?

Doug: 11 Years.

CC: Wow. That's great! Do you belong to any motorcycle clubs or organizations?

Doug: I belong to the Freedom of Road Riders (F.O.R.R.) Local #3 and this past year I was a Road Captain for the Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.) Pony Express Chapter.

CC: What motorcycle rallies & events have you attended?

Doug: Other than Sturgis, just some weekly runs here in town, and a few chapter runs.

CC: What rallies and runs do you have planned for the future?

Doug: I'd like to do the Bun Burner, where you ride 1,000 miles in under 24 hours, and I'd also like to qualify for the Iron Butt Motorcycle Association.

CC: Wow! Another good reason to get that Road King! Do you have a favorite bike night location?

Doug: I don't know of any real bike nights here in St. Joseph. St. Joe Harley-Davidson sponsors a dinner ride on Monday nights and Evil Twin Cycles has a run every Wednesday night, weather permitting. We always end up some place different, so I guess I don’t really have a favorite. Tucks is a good biker hangout and so is Big Shots. The Brown Bear, Bottoms Up and McKenzie's are also biker friendly and many of the owners are fellow riders. I don't really like to drink and ride, so I have a rule that I never have more drinks than I have tires.

CC: Sounds like a good philosophy to live by! Do you have any tattoos, and if so, which is your favorite?

Doug: I have nine on my arms and back. My Harley arm band is probably my favorite.

CC: Do you prefer riding in a group or by yourself?

Doug: I enjoy riding in a small group with two or three people. It's much safer and less people you have to keep an eye on.

CC: Who are some of your closest riding buddies?

Doug: My buddy, Cecil Searcy rides a 2003 Honda VTX 1300 and another riding buddy, Steve Berkebile rides a Yamaha Road Star 1600 Midnight Star.

CC: Just for fun, which of your riding buddies is the best rider?

Doug: Sorry, but I can’t answer that one for reasons of self preservation.

CC: OK, fine. So which of your riding buddies is the worst rider?

Doug: Same as above.

Well, since Doug chickened out on answering my last two questions I figured it was time to wrap up this interview. He did tell me before we hung up that one of his riding buddies is a fourth degree black belt in Tae-kwon-do, so I probably wouldn't have answered those last two questions either!

Interview by Mike Schweder and photo submitted by Doug Plowman.