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

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

"It's a great way to see the country because you'll realize all your senses," he said. "You ride through the Delta during harvest time and smell all the rice and cotton being harvested, or riding through south Arkansas and smelling all the pine sap.

"After sitting in these offices all day long," Woods said, "it's just a great feeling to be outside."

Cox remembered one memorable, and frigid, trip from Little Rock to Memphis. He bought his first bike after graduating from Hendrix College in 1976, and shortly thereafter he had to make a nighttime drive to Memphis where his band was playing.

Cox, who still plays guitar for The GroanUps, said he left Little Rock about 2 a.m., wearing as many layers as possible against the 40-degree weather. He had to stop in Rose City, Lonoke, Carlisle, Forrest City and every place he could to warm up, rolling into Memphis about 5:30 a.m.

"I have never been as cold in my life," Cox said.

Though juggling family, work and the band doesn't leave much time for long rides now, Cox said he has taken some pleasant trips across the state. Going to Harrison up scenic Highway 65 is a nice ride, he said, with a return trip down Highway 7 through Russellville, then back over Pinnacle Mountain to Little Rock.

Bailey, who hasn't had his latest motorcycle long enough for any extensive trips, said he enjoyed taking part in the recent Toys For Tots charity event for cycling enthusiasts that brought out about 400 motorcycles.

These motorcycling businessmen readily admit the hobby can be a dangerous one. Bailey said he had a couple of minor accidents in his early cycling days, but they report nothing serious.

They gave credit to their caution when riding. As Pitts said, "You have to assume that all other motorists don't see you."

When Woods was getting into cycling, he took a safety course and a defensive driving class. For the most part, they said, they always wear helmets.

Pitts said that on short trips he will sometimes not wear his helmet, but most of the time he does.

Despite the risk to life and limb, there are no regrets.

"It was somewhat of a life-changing experience," Woods said. "It taught me to enjoy life to the fullest."

Bailey said he plans to continue riding until he can no longer swing his leg over his bike.



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