Dressed in a black leather jacket and a vibrant red bandana, Bob Mansell certainly embodies the image of a dedicated Harley-Davidson enthusiast. However, at the age of 81, his recent solo motorcycle journey from Edmonton to London, Ont., has turned heads and sparked admiration.
Reflecting on his summer plans, the long-haired octogenarian remarked, "I was contemplating what to do, and I thought, 'I'm going to take a ride on my trike.'" A former millwright, Bob undertook the impressive four-day journey to visit family, covering the distance from Edmonton to London.
While Bob considered it a routine adventure, others in the western regions expressed concern, offering well-wishes and cautionary words. His five children, including 54-year-old son Dave Mansell from Alberta, were particularly vigilant. Dave even accompanied his father for two hours on the highway to ensure a safe start, and the family tracked Bob's progress using a GPS tracker on his bike.
Bob's decision to switch from his Fat Boy Harley-Davidson to a trike last year was prompted by his children's insistence, as they deemed the former too heavy at nearly 800 pounds. Wayne Mansell, another son, explained, "My son was not happy about me taking my granddaughters on my big bike, and so I like to spend time with them. I'm their only grandparent, and I just had to make changes."
Having been riding Harleys for an impressive 70 years, Bob acknowledges the mystique surrounding these iconic motorcycles. He started at the age of 12 on a Honda CB550 Four, with his son Wayne reminiscing about the initial riding lessons.
Despite initial shock, Wayne Mansell now takes pride in his father's adventurous spirit, stating, "I hope I continue riding and enjoying life freely for as long as I can twist a throttle."