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Interview, the Series archives Here's the interviews from the past...

 
 
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Old 05-14-2007, 03:30 PM
GrayRider
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Harris by hornrocker

Quote:
Originally Posted by hornrocker View Post
Questions for Harris:

1. Many know, or at least have an idea - but what is your occupation?

I am an Investigator at the Coroner's Office in Denver. I started out as a uniform cop, then bounced around until I ended up in this job. I've been with Denver for 16 years, and in this position for 10.

2. Do you have any plans as far as changing your career in the future? If so, to what?

No, this job is actually a great fit for me (it's not for everyone, but I like it). I plan to retire from this spot, (in 11 years, 5 months, 2 weeks, and 5 days).

3. Where are you located?

Denver, Colorado. I live right in the city, about 2 miles east southeast of the State Capitol.

4. If this is not where you grew up, then where did you grow up?

I grew up in Monument, CO, which is now really just a suburb, north of Colorado Springs; but at the time was pretty rural.

5. Married/children?

No/No

6. Current, and other bikes you have owned?

Current is my '07 White Gold/Blue RK Classic.

Prior:
'04 Smokey Gold RK Classic
'00 Suede Green Road King
'97 Vivid Black EG Standard
'83 Spoprtster XLX 1000

It's something of a point of pride with me now. I've never ridden any motorcycle other than a Harley-Davidson. Not even around a parking lot. Not one inch


7. You seem like a pretty serious person, but I have noticed a tendency to release a little more humor lately - is there a goofy side to "Harris" that others may not see very often?

I tend to be thought of as serious, but I actually joke around a lot. My humor tends to poke fun at people or at myself, and be sarcastic. This doesn't work well on line. I often reply to someone's post, then think better of it. Those who attend the Doofapalooza this year should see a somewhat different side of me.

8. Best moment of your life?

Hmm. Nothing specific comes to mind

9. Most embarrassing moment?

I'm going to restrict this to motorcycle related.

Three stories:

On my 1983 XLX. It had that reliability that bikes of that era were famous for. It had been in the shop for transmission work. The day I got it back was one of those really great spring days. I rode all over, and stopped at this sandwich and ice cream place, with sidewalk tables. Of course all the tables had people at them. When I went to leave, I put the key in the ignition, which on that bike was on the left side, above the horn, and below the fuel tank. When I put the key in, it shorted the switch, and it was arcing across to the frame. Needless to say that caught me off guard. When I went to get off the bike, “WHAM!”. I’d already put the kickstand up. The people eating were quite polite. They didn’t clap.

When I was in motor school, I was practicing the keyhole. The idea is you ride through a five-foot wide lane, make a circle within 18 feet, and ride back out. Everyone drops the bike on this one. I was certainly no exception. The first thing they teach you in school is how to pick the bike up. I dropped it this time on its right side. I got the bike up then, “WHAM!”. I’d forgotten to put the kickstand out first, and just threw it over onto its left side. Everyone else was laughing so hard they almost dropped their bikes.

A couple years later I went to the instructor’s school. The way it works is that the first week you ride and they test your skills, and you practice giving demonstrations and lectures. The second two weeks, an operator school is overlapped, so you teach those people, supervised by the course instructors. So during the second two weeks, you get very little riding in. However, we could take the bikes out and ride during lunch, when the operator students could not. The down side of this was most of them stayed at the training course, so there were lots of witnesses, therefore a lot of the instructors wouldn't ride, since they wanted to maintain that aura of invincibility. I never figured anyone thought I was invincible anyhow, and I like to ride too much to let the bikes just sit there. Another guy and I would spend our lunch hours playing follow the leader through the various patterns. One of the cone patterns is a “T” with the leg and each arm six feet wide. It’s used to teach making a start with an immediate 90 degree turn to either the left or right. I came into it fast, with the intention of making a balanced stop, then a left turn. This looks sharp when it’s done right, because the bike goes over about 10 degrees, before you start to move forward, and you sort of catch it with the clutch. I had been moving pretty good prior to having this great idea, and came in just perfect. The problem? I had popped it into neutral, rather than first. The Police Road King's acceleration in neutral is not sufficient to make the turn. “WHAM!” Right in front of the whole class, and it went ALL the way over, busting the clutch lever.

10. Best ride?

My friend Rito and I took a ride all through Mexico. 17 days, and I wouldn't trade a minute of it (full story is posted on the VTF). This one will probably always be "number 1" for me.

Close second were the 95th and 100th anniversaries in Milwaukee. A ride last summer with friends that came over from Spain to Yellowstone, the Black Hills and Grand Canyon. A ride From Denver to Canada, across the North Shore of Lake Superior, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. A ride through Texas, to New Orleans and then up the Natchez Trace Parkway. A bunch of rides here in Colorado (I try to remember that I can take a morning ride that others would consider the trip of a lifetime). Any ride with friends (new or old). The ride I'm leaving on in the morning.


11. Worst ride?

Worst ride? Isn't that like "worst sex". As the saying goes, the worst I've had was marvelous.

12. Anything you could share with us that maybe others don't know?

Initially I was just going to say "No" to this one. But I tend to be the guy that can figure things out. Even people that can't stand me tend to seek me out when they've gotten themselves into a fix, and need to figure out how to un-do it. There are cops that will call me before their PPA rep or their lawyer when they get called to IA.

13. Favorite: A) song B) Movie

A) Hmm. Varies Constantly. I guess my vote for "best song ever" is "At Last" by Etta James. I like a lot of 40's pop and big band stuff, the early Rock and Roll (Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard). I like OLD country music, but NONE of the stuff they play on country stations now. As a rule I only like music composed before I was (1963).

B) First one that comes to mind is The Blues Brothers. Patton is another I will watch anytime it comes on.


14. Any hobbies, other than riding?

A little shooting now and again. Keeping the house from collapsing.

15. If there was one thing you could say to someone thinking about taking up riding, what would it be?

I used to say that riding a motorcycle is the most dangerous thing that you can get a license from the government to do. However, I said that to one group and a guy said "Oh no it's not. The state gave me a marriage license". I had to concede his point.

Serious answer: I always tell people to start with the MSF or Rider's Edge Course. But then I stress to use that as a foundation for improvement. I seriously believe that you can learn something that will improve your riding skill every time you ride, if you will just look for the opportunity to do so. It is very easy to become complacent and assume that the fact you've not had an accident is because of skill, when it may just be luck.


Bonus question: Have you ever considered becoming an actual dOoF or Gazinta?

I've considered one, but not the other.

Please, take your time, and thanks for letting me interview you.


Respectfully,
Mark
My Pleasure,

Harris
 

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