2012 Harley-Davidson FLD Switchback | Doin' Time

Photography by Joe Neric

Wrist: Joe Neric
MSRP (2012): $17,579
Miles: 9654
MPG: 38
Mods: Guardian Bell

The Los Olivos wine tasting trip with the wife is going to have to wait a month since I told my mom Thanksgiving was going to be at my house this year. I did think about using the Switchback for the trip to Costco and comically reporting on what I could stuff in the saddlebags, bungee cord to the bike or balance in my lap. I passed on that idiotic idea. The salad dressing might fit but the turkey would have to find another way home. Maybe I shouldn’t procrastinate on ordering that luggage rack.

On a different note, the kindness of Harley riders continues to surprise me. Our resident I.T. and Harley guy, Will Sheppard, stops me in the lunchroom, hands me a little bag, and says, “Here, you’re one of us now. You can’t buy one, it has to be given to you.” As I pull a small bell out of the velour satchel, I think that this must be some kind of joke. I am no stranger to hazing, especially from these perpetual 13-year-olds I call co-workers. “Now you know where potholes come from,” he says.

Stuffed in the bag was a story explaining how Evil Road Spirits get trapped in the bell where the constant ringing drives them insane until they lose their grip and fall to the ground. So that’s where potholes come from! The story also explains how the power of the Guardian Bell is doubled when it’s given as a gift from a friend (www.guardianbell.com, $12). Say what you will about Harley riders, but I’ve never heard sportbike guys giving a Guardian Bell to their friends. Harley scoffers could learn a thing or two.

What’s next for the Switchback? I’ll get that luggage rack ordered, and the wife and I will finally take the bike north for a much-needed vacation.

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