How it happened
The first thing we need to establish is that Harley riders are awesome. They seem to have an overall bad reputation amongst other motorcyclists, especially those that lurk on internet forums. I think the commenters at VisorDown, for instance, would rather piss marble-sized stones than show any love for Harley-Davidson (1). But as I said in a previous post, I would quite happily be seen on that most-iconic of machines, and I particularly like the look of the lower-cc models like the Iron 883.
It is because of that post that a particular Harley rider got in touch with me a while ago and offered me an opportunity to get a bike of my own.
"Probably not an Iron 883," he said. "But not a piece of junk, either."
His name was Marc. A Harley rider himself, he could relate to my enthusiasm for motorcycles and realised that we could help each other out. I have web and writing experience, and he has a business for which he's been putting together a website: Loan.co.uk. In exchange for some hard work, he said, he'd get me a motorcycle.
It's been an interesting experience working with the folks at Loan.co.uk, because it's somewhat changed my perception of the people and businesses involved in the world of extending personal credit. I'll be honest: my attitude beforehand would kindly have been described as sceptical. Indeed, my initial reaction to the thought of working with them was to decline. But thanks to a conversation I had had with Tina of Road Pickle a few days before I decided to follow her advice and try to think outside the box in pursuing my dream of owning a motorcycle.
I'm glad I did. I am still working with Loan.co.uk to get the site exactly as we'd like it, and the common theme in all the direction I've been given is that they want to help people out, not to trick them. Admit it: that's what you thought loan brokers do, isn't it? But over and over again it's been stressed to me the importance of encouraging people to make thought-out and intelligent decisions about their borrowing.
Obviously, Loan.co.uk benefits when people borrow through them. But that they would be willing to lose some of that business by encouraging serious consideration of finances and alternatives before borrowing is impressive to me. It makes me feel good to be a part of the project.
And I am so thankful to Marc in particular for extending to me the opportunity to work with him. As I said on my personal blog, this has been an experience that has shifted my overall perception of people. I have always been hyper-cautious and hyper-cynical. But this experience has taught me that there are, in fact, some good people in the world. Some of them even ride a Harley.
(1) They hate Harleys especially, but cruisers in general –– as well as tourers, electric bikes, Chinese bikes, traction control, anti-lock brakes, and just about any new idea. I need to stop looking at that site; it's too negative.