I am fortunate enough to have access to two of Alaska’s most involved motorcycle riders, my parents, who have been active in the riding community for over 30 years and currently own a motorcycle dealership in Anchorage, Alaska, while also owning and operating a motorcycle rental business. They are in constant contact with motorcycle riders from all over the world and are responsible for educating them and preparing them for the riding community of Alaska. I, also, have been involved with the motorcycling community for most of my life, and did not need my interviewee to provide very much background information on the topic, though most of the stories were ones I had not heard from my mother.
This interview was conducted with my mother on January 8th, 2013 in Fairbanks, Alaska. It was recorded clearly on my computer; therefore I did not feel the need to transcribe the conversation.
The motorcycle community of Alaska is known to be a cohesive one. When my parents met in a small town in Indiana, neither of them had ever ridden a motorcycle. Shortly after they got married, my father was transferred to Anchorage, Alaska for work. “I was not excited. To me, Alaska was a huge empty space, full of lumberjacks and bears. I had always had my entire family in town with me, but I wasn’t about to give up on your father.” my mother, Nancy Hull, remembers. Before they were set to move, they decided to take a road trip to preview their new lives. “That’s when he brought home a brand-new motorcycle. I thought it was a joke.” And they were off.
They fell in love – with Alaska and with motorcycling. As soon as they had completely relocated to Alaska, they dove headfirst into the active motorcycling community. “It was the best thing we could have...
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...hat our visitors get to have that experience, too.” my mother says of the blog posts about riding in Alaska. “I’m glad I can make that happen for people.”
When my parents have motorcycled in other places, they were a bit shocked by the different motorcycling culture. In Australia, other riders were friendly and would stop if another rider were obviously in need of assistance, but would never stop just to talk to the other group. Other travelers, like truckers, also would not stop to help a disabled rider, as they do in Alaska. In most of Europe, even fewer motorcycles riders would stop and assist other riders, and never stopped to talk. Even in the rest of the United States, the motorcycling community is less cohesive.
“I thought we would eventually move out of Alaska, but we’ve made our entire lives based around motorcycling in Alaska – who would’ve thought…”