Life Gets In The Way

*For part 1, click HERE

Like most, the three of us each found our girl, fell in love and got married. Nate and I were part of Greg’s wedding and Greg was the best man in mine. This is about the time we all started families and the focus changed as we were (unwillingly perhaps) pulled into careers and other “more important” things, so we inevitably lost touch. While Nate remained in Georgia, Greg and I both spent time living on and off in Florida both as single and married men yet ultimately returning to our red clay roots, Greg in 1985 and me in 1994.

During our “adulting” time we each continued riding mountain bikes, shooting photos, surfing, sailboarding, skiing, rock climbing, boating and camping – work was necessary to drive our real passions. Nate was still racing, but for me and Greg the smell of premix was replaced by Gatorade, sunblock and trips to our children’s little league games and school functions. Deep down the feeling of the wind and two wheeled power was still drawing us back to our early love of riding.

Fast forward to 2011, Greg had his Kawasaki Vulcan so he and Nate were now fully entrenched in street riding together and having a blast. They began taking in bike rallies around the South although Nate had been doing Daytona Bike Week with other buddies for years.

The three of us had raised families and the nests were starting to empty. AKA the “Oreo” years, as a few of us had lost our parents while the rest were still helping parents during their twilight years. Greg and his wife were now godparents to my grandson Parker. Each of us experienced career changes along the way and in the early 2000’s my wife Lisa was caring for her parents. I guess it’s easy to fall into a routine and that’s where I landed. My bride was full time care-giving, we were marrying off our kids and the nests were emptied. I was working and spent most off-time cooking and honing my digital skills. Greg still had his son at home and Nate had been through a few marriages and was helping with kids of his own.

During my slow times I would see random images and social media posts of Greg and Nathan out riding together and with others, enjoying life on their motorcycles and yet I hadn’t really reconnected with them, or anyone for that matter. I didn’t have many adult male friends and was focused on work and playing chef on the weekends. Then in 2017 Lisa got a shocking diagnosis and everything changed.

Greg’s wedding (we all had hair), and more recently. Three friends livin’ the dream.


Cancer is one of those events that forces you to take stock of your life up to that point and assessing your future and loved ones. I’m a firm believer in making the best of any challenging situation and our family and friends rallied around Lisa during this time. In August of that year Lisa, her sister and some girlfriends went to the beach. This was the perfect time for me to take the state MSF course.

My soul was craving motorized two wheels again and the camaraderie that comes with riding. I needed to get back on a bike and reconnect with my brothers.  Nothing but throttle twisting and high octane were going to get me out of this midlife funk. After surgery and 6 months of successful chemotherapy Lisa was in the clear and I wanted a Harley – I deserved a Harley.

Thanks to my early dirtbike years I aced the state test and snagged an “M” for my DL. I bought a H-D helmet and in September started shopping for a used Harley Street Glide. Ironically I landed on a Denim Silver 2014 model at a local Indian dealership.

I was ready to begin Moto Life 2.0.

All smiles following my first ride up Blood Mountain.

It didn’t take long for the three of us to sync up and within a week or so Greg, Nathan and I had organized a ride. The energy and brotherhood was back in a big way and it was like we had never missed those years apart. We had lots of catching up to do and I had a lot to learn about the ins and outs of keeping a 1000 pound bagger upright but just as in our youth, Nate and Greg were more than happy to provide tips, commentary and a ton of #ridelife stories with this old newbie.

It’s now been 6 years since the three of us rekindled our “Ride Life”. In 2017 Greg sold the Vulcan and hopped onto a 2014 Victory Cross Country. He loved the bike but following those Arlen Ness pipes easily justified ear plugs. In the fall of 2019 prior to a Blue Ridge Parkway ride, Greg totaled his Victory (no trip to the ER this time). Following his settlement he landed a 2017 Indian Chieftain Limited. In 2018 during our trip to Thunder Beach Nate traded in his ‘07 Road Glide on a 2017 Indian Roadmaster. In December 2020 I spotted a 2017 Road Glide in Sun Glow Velocity Red at Cycle World of Athens (GA) and traded in the ‘14 Street Glide.

We each had found the perfect road bike for us.

Boys, Bikes and Baggers

We’ve been to Daytona Bike Week where in 2020 I saw the 50 Year Anniversary Fat Boy at the Harley Pavilion. After a few calls I dropped a deposit.  Later that year Road Dirt contributor Ted Edwards rode her on our trip to the Iron horse Lodge where he aptly named her “Monica”.  I held on to her for about 14 months then sent her to a new home in Texas.

We’ve been to Thunder Beach, Wheels Through Time  and countless twisties including Tail of the Dragon, Cherohala Skyway, Blood Mountain and GA SR 60 from Dahlonega, Two Wheels Only to Blue Ridge. The three of us have participated in large Memorial rides and this year included our brides on the back so we six are now all riding together. Many miles, fresh memories, reunited and riding with my old high school chums.

Bikes brought us back together.


In the last few years Nate and Greg have jumped into the dual sport/ADV craze with Nate on a 2011 KLR 650, and Greg on a 2017 Suzuki DR650. They load up with Nate’s son Adam, also on a KLR and hit the North Georgia mountain fire roads. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before I join them back in the dirt. Nate is currently building out a 2006 YZ125 with Adam and has a 2002 Suzuki DRZ 400 just for fun, and to stay fast.

As I reflect on our friendship of 50+ years I find it interesting that motorcycles and the #RideLife helped us discover a bond like no other, and how motorcycles ultimately brought us back together, filling in the gaps over a 30 year span. A band of brothers reconnected without missing a beat, still sharing that same spirit of freedom that can only come from riding. I find our time together riding now is very precious as we are all approaching our mid-60s and have even more family to spend time with.  This go around is so much sweeter than our youth.  My need to experience more out of life has been fulfilled, we partake in weekend rides, rallies and thanks to social media, we are reconnecting with other old friends including Road Dirt’s Sr. Editor Rob Brooks. I’ve also personally met and ridden with some amazing new friends over the last six years. Makes it easier to find someone to ride with.

Ripping Streets – Return To The Dirt


The motorcycle industry is trying to understand how to reach the next generation to expand the sport, grow their brands and introduce younger buyers to motorcycling. The three of us are doing our part with Greg putting his son on a bike and Nathan’s son and grandsons all riding together in the dirt. My son-in-law is on a Harley and our grandson has spent time on his and my bagger and is now showing an interest in a dirt bike.

It is my belief that the sooner brands realize the relational component is key to creating lifelong riders and expanding the sport, the better off our pastime will be. If you ride and want to see others enjoy this #RideLife you should spend time talking with family and friends and encouraging them to take a safety course, get their license, test ride some bikes and go for it!

I want to thank my nearly lifelong friends and moto-brothers Greg and Nathan for contributing to this pair of stories with dates and memories. For now the three of us will continue to enjoy each other’s company, riding and sharing stories, and continuing to bring other friends along for the #RideLife.

Phil G.



Cycle World Athens

1 Comment

  1. MR Hermann

    This story reenforces that it is all about the journey.
    Well written my friend.


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