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June Cover Page Interview with Scott Ryals

May 30, 2004
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I met Scott Ryals and his 1974 FLH Harley-Davidson a couple of years ago when I moved into my new home. I had just finished putting the first spring coat of wax on my bike when I heard the sound of an older Harley cranking up down the street. Within a couple of minutes, Scott and his pristine 1974 Shovelhead came rolling down the street. Of course, I had to flag him down and introduce myself as a fellow rider. After a short introduction, I was immediately taken by the excellent condition of his bike and the fact that he was riding it like it was a new bike, not an antique, 30 years old. Let me introduce you to Scott and his ride.

CC: What is your occupation?

Scott: I’m an Operations Manager for a heavy equipment company.

CC: What hobbies do you have, other than motorcycling?

Scott: I’m a pilot and really like to fly small planes when the opportunity arises. Also, golfing is a passion I pursue, as it gives me the opportunity to meet other players.

CC: Why do you ride?

Scott: For the instant feeling of freedom and the wind in my face. I ride with a few good friends, but I like to ride solo when I need to decompress.

CC: How long have you been riding and what was your first bike?

Scott: I’ve only been riding a short time, since 1999. This 1974 Harley-Davidson Shovelhead is the first and only bike I’ve ever owned. I guess you could say I cut my teeth on a classic, something many riders never get to experience.

CC: What do you like most about your current bike?

Scott: The great thing about this bike is that it is a classic. It is in excellent condition and no matter where I ride, it turns heads. If I park with 20 great looking bikes around me, everyone always comes to look at mine and ask questions about the bike and how great it looks for its age.

CC: What is your dream bike and why?

Scott: I would like to have a custom built bike. It would allow me to help in the design, reflecting more of my personality and attitude. Many of the builders are coming out with some really great designs and the painters are breaking new ground in color application. Personalization seems to be a driving force for most of us riders.

CC: What is your most memorable riding experience and why?

Scott: I’ve never been much of a long distance rider, but I do like to ride locally with friends or by myself. However, I do like to get together with friends on Wednesday nights and ride to a bike night somewhere in the Kansas City area. Bike nights are fun, as I get to show off my bike, look at a lot of other bikes and meet new friends.

CC: What is your least memorable riding experience and why?

Scott: Actually, I never really had a bad ride, although, I really don’t care to ride when the flying bugs are out in full force. A few bug splats are acceptable, though I prefer to get my protein from a hamburger at the local bar and grill.

CC: Which is your favorite bike night location and why?

Scott: I like riding to The Other Place in Overland Park, as it always has plenty of different bikes, good food, great atmosphere and a variety of people.

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

Scott: Well, it’s probably a 30/70 split. I like riding with others around 30 percent of the time, and usually with two to four riders. However, I ride about 70 percent of the time by myself, as I find solo riding my best stress buster. As soon as I fire up the bike, the tension from the day begins to fade away, and once I start riding and feel the wind in my face and hear the roar of the pipes in my ears, I feel no pain.

CC: Who are some of your closest riding buddies?

Scott: I’ve been riding with two great friends since 1999, Scott and John.

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

Scott: My friend Scott has been riding since he was a kid. Over the years, he has owned and rode so many different types of bikes. He currently has several older bikes that he rebuilds and rides.

CC: Scott, thank you for your time and candor during this interview. We appreciate the use of your bike for our June cover. Your Shovelhead is truly a bike of beauty from the past; thanks for sharing it with us.

By Bart

Photos by Mike Schweder
Ride Free

Published in Cover Bike Owners