When Mr. and Mrs. Rider named their child in 1949, they didn't even think of motorcycles. He was named after a family friend, Harley Harris Bartlett. And now we can read an interview with Harley Rider.
You know, when I was a kid, it really bothered me. I wanted to be named Bill or John or anything but Harley, ’cause the only Harley at the time was a rodeo rider I heard of by the name of Harley May. And it was just, you know, it was an old fogy’s name. I didn’t want to be that.
And maybe kind of a Southern name.
As I got older, it became less onerous, so to speak. There’s still times when John Smith would be a lot easier to forget, and that would be good. But, yeah, I’ve come to live with it.
Well, I gotta ask you. Are you? ... A Harley rider?
I mean, I started riding motorcycles when I was 15 and really rode up to the mid-1990s, actually rode beyond that, but owned my own motorcycle up to the mid-’90s, but never owned a Harley Davidson.