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

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

Motorcycles have never been a parental favorite. Cox, Woods and Travis Bailey, president of Beach Abstract, all said they wanted motorcycles when they were growing up, but their parents forbade it.

Much as BB guns were taboo because "you'll put your eye out," motorcycles equaled danger on wheels to parents who had visions of Junior wrapped around a tree.

"My parents were adamantly against it," Cox said.

Woods had a motor scooter in his youth, which he used for delivering newspapers, but he had never ridden a motorcycle.

So some of this motorcycle fancy later in life may be leftover rebellion against parental authority. Others attribute it to the simple thrill of cruising down the highways and byways of Arkansas and the United States with the wind blowing in their face.

"It's one of the best stress-relievers I know of," Bailey said. "I just like the freedom of riding."

Bailey got his first bike while he was in the Army in the early 1970s. "I had always wanted one and never could have one before, so I was just going to get one," Bailey said.

He got his Harley, probably the most famous motorcycle, last year. He said he was urged to get into motorcycles by his brother, who had always ridden a Harley.

Others had friends who pushed them to realize a childhood dream. Woods said Jim Gaston, owner of Gaston's White River Resort near Mountain Home, suggested it to him.

Pitts said Jim Lawrence, owner of Powerhouse Gym in Little Rock, let him ride his Harley a couple of years ago. He fell in love with the loud engine and the romanticized rebel-biker image.

Jim Johnson, who bought his first motorcycle at 50, found a different inspiration. Originally, he bought some trail bikes so he and his sons could have some bonding time together.

Eventually he sold those bikes, but in 1986 he saw the movie "Top Gun." The images of Tom Cruise racing along on his Honda Ninja were too much to resist.



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