Road Hogs: Arkansas Businessmen Find Big Motorcycles Are the Ultimate Stress-relievers

by Jon Parham  on Monday, Feb. 28, 2000 12:00 am  

As soon as Frank Cox became a teen-ager, he promised himself two things he'd do when he grew up.

First, he would stop eating those vegetables his parents always made him eat. Second, he would buy a motorcycle.

Well, he actually learned to like some of those vegetables.

But he did follow through on the second promise.

These days, if the weather is nice, you might see the president of Cranford Johnson Robinson Woods advertising and public relations firm cruising to work on his new Honda Valkyrie. It's the latest in a line of four motorcycles he has owned.

"It's such an escape," he said.

Not bad for a guy who was once grounded for sitting on a friend's parked motorcycle. The key wasn't even in the ignition, for Pete's sake.

Bryan Pitts, chief executive officer of Beach Abstract and Guaranty in Little Rock, said his motorcycle fascination has been about his need for speed - as well as a little rebellion. While most of these bike-riding professionals have larger touring motorcycles, he has a racing motorcycle, a Yamaha R1 that can go as fast as 180 miles per hour (although he said he's never driven it that fast).

There are quite a few motorcycle enthusiasts in the Arkansas business community - including trucking magnate J.B. Hunt, long known for his interest in motorcycles, and Acxiom Corp. CEO Charles Morgan, who revved up his interest in racing with motorcycles. TCBY's Frank Hickingbotham owns the Harley Davidson dealership in Little Rock.

"It's amazing how many guys 40 and older are into motorcycles," said Jim Johnson, a co-founder of CJRW who in his mid-60s still loves to cruise down the highway on his Harley Davidson.

Shelby Woods, CJRW's board chairman, is the third member of what could be called the agency's "motorcycle gang." He just returned from a weekend at the Daytona International Speedway, and he took his bike because it was more convenient for weaving through the traffic than a car.

"It's great being outside and being able to see the country where you don't have to look through a windshield," Woods said.

Get Your Motor Running



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