At 65 years young, Cindy Gaeckler Rose from Dallastown, Pennsylvania is seldom bored. She has been riding since the age of 16 and enjoys all kinds of things in life. Like riding, baking, reading, crocheting, walks in the woods, working out at the gym, traveling, photography, music and spending time with her family—who also loves riding. Her husband rides, both of her grown boys ride and two of her three grandsons ride dirt bikes.
But Cindy didn’t get a Harley until her late 40’s. In fact, prior to 2000 she often wondered if she could even ride a Harley.
“I started out on a Honda Scooter that my brother won. Then I had a few more in-between cycles such as a 50cc Honda and a Yamaha dual trail bike. But I often wondered if I could ride a Harley. I just loved the sounds they made. I remember I asked a biker once, ‘What’s the smallest Harley I could ride?’ With his positive answers, it wasn’t long before both my husband and I got a Harley.”
Cindy got her 883 Hugger Sportster back in 2000, and says, “it is the perfect size for me.” Prior to the customizations her Harley was a beautiful pearl white but Cindy just wanted something a little more different.
“I’m not sure what inspired me to customize my bike. People think it was done after 911, but actually I had it done before that. People do react to my bike and tell me that I have a nice looking bike, and of course that always pleases me. It’s usually pretty clean since I wipe it down before I even start out.”
The customizations weren’t done all at once. Actually it happened over the years starting with the tank. Jeff R., a gentleman in her hometown, painted her red, white and blue tank right in his barn.
Accessorized with the American Symbol of Freedom
Over the years Cindy adorned her bike with Eagle accessories to complement the tank, making for one truly all-American bike.
Did you know?
The American Bald Eagle was adopted as the symbol of the United States in 1782 because of its long life, great strength, and because it is the only eagle found exclusively on the North American continent. The fierce beauty and proud independence of this great bird aptly symbolizes the strength and freedom of America.
“That piece really set it off. It inspired me to add more Eagle accessories when I found them. In no time I had my bike adorned with an Eagle claw kickstand and an Eagle head emblem that I had mounted on my front fender.”
About a year later she met a lady at a bike show who did windshield engraving. She had her engrave the Eagle head on her windshield.
Later she came across some Eagle wing side mirrors. She says, “They are smaller than I like, but sure. Why not?”
For the oil cap she bought an Eagle head vest pin and had her husband saw off the pin and mount the Eagle on with glue. About the cap she says, “I have to make sure it’s on right so the Eagle head is not upside down!”
After the accessories were in place Cindy had her transmission case chromed and added straight pipes to replace the factory pipes.
Later on, just for extra pizzazz, she got rid of the factory foot pegs and hand grips and replaced them with custom chromed ones.
The fenders looked a little bare so she had thin, red pinstriping done, outlining the outer edge. She even has Eagle head tire valve caps but says, “No one really notices them.”
Since Cindy didn’t care for large saddlebags, she got a luggage rack that hauls a removable carrying bag that stays on by magnetic clips.
Some of Cindy’s Favorite Things
Cindy and her husband (who rides a 2000 Deuce) love taking local day trips as often as possible, especially since they are both retired.
“We enjoy just riding locally, usually out in the open country. Lately I’ve been riding even in our cold winter months since my son bought me an Aerostich heated liner. This is one of my favorite pieces of gear.
“Our first long trip was in 2000—right after I got my cycle—to Cape May, New Jersey, which is about a four-hour ride from where I live. I’ll never forget that trip. For one, my butt was sore until I got there, and I didn’t want to ride the rest of the weekend. Not to mention on the expressway, a car with tinted windows passed us and someone threw out a soda can towards my front tire as they whizzed by.
“My words flew and gung-ho little me sped up behind them but of course they turned off the exit. Don’t know what I was trying to prove, lol. Anyway…what an experience that was.”
Although not much can be done about inconsiderate jerk drivers, Cindy did solve the sore butt issue. On her list of favorites is her AirHawk, a cushion that gives her more comfort on her solo, saddle seat. She says, “You can adjust the thickness by blowing air into the valve. I should have had that when I went to Cape May!”
Of course, Cindy LOVES to ride. She says,
“Now that I’m 65 years young, gulp, I’m wondering where I would ever put my walker if ever that time comes! Lol. No, I do not want a sidecar!
“I do wear a helmet at all times with a visor. I think that’s important but to each his/her own. Give me some jeans, some shades, a tee, boots, leather jacket and I’m good to go! Someone once said to me ‘ride like no one else sees you!’ And, I do.”
As far as words of wisdom, Cindy has this to offer to other women:
“Ladies, don’t be afraid to get your own bike. Take a course! Don’t be that back seat rider. Because until you’re riding on your own bike, you don’t know what riding is!”
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