Motorcycle Rental : a Review of Sheppy's Rentals
RSR A review of this excellent motorcycle and scooter rental service
Sheppy sent a message, inviting me to test his 2003 100th Anniversary Softail Harley Davidson rental motorcycle. As an active Rocker since the mid-60s (the beard hides the scars), it was an experience that I looked forward to.
My biking interests has always centred on superbikes. Over the years, my stable has included various exotica, including a Honda production racer, with various Beemers thrown in for long-distance touring and trail and trial machinery for off-road fun. I confess that I've always considered Harleys a yuppie toy, not a tool for serious bikers.
My first impressions of Sheppy’s Harley were not exactly favourable. It was like being transported back to my early days on Triumphs and Nortons in the '60s and '70s. I can only describe the feel of the machine as primitive. Mind you, I admit that the sound of the Harley is priceless.
By the time I'd hacked the 1,450cc beast to Scarborough, I was starting to feel more comfortable. It might not be the sort of machine you steer with the twitch of a buttock - more a push with a JCB - but it had an indefinable something. Then, once past Scarborough the Claude Noel Highway opened up, the traffic quietened down and I was able to wind the throttle back. I vaguely remember flying past the football stadium, but the tears streaming down my face blocked my periphery vision. With an open-face helmet, 70mph on the Harley felt like 160mph on a Fireblade.
Confidence building, I hacked it back through the traffic and crowds of central Scarborough and then along the badly deteriorating old coast road, through Lambeau and Tobago Plantations. I wasn't quite ready for a feet-up 180° in the narrow lanes, but I was starting to get the beast’s balance and to generally feel more confident in its abilities.
“OK, I’ll just take it a mile up the road” I had said to Sheppy. Returning over an hour later, I was amazed at his apparent lack of concern. He even resisted any temptation to walk around the machine and check for evidence that I had lain it down (I bet he checked it after I left though).
Three days later I was back on the pretext that I wanted to take some photos of the bike in a beach setting. Well, the proof is on this page, so I wasn’t being untruthful.
Joking aside, the Harley is a great bike for cruising around Tobago. Yes, it’s big and cumbersome, but oh, that sound! And that torque! Slap the beast in top and enjoy the scenery. Yes, I wouldn’t want to take it up Charlotteville's Flagstaff Hill or have to stop and turn it round on any slope, but it handled the rough roads without problem. At US$100 per day during the high season, it’s far from cheap, but bikers will absolutely love the experience.
There are limits, however. I absolutely refuse to be seen wearing a Harley Dog Bandana. Trying on Sheppy’s Harley skull cap was quite bad enough! And the sandals? Well, it didn't seem appropriate to wear proper boots when you're riding an armchair. Only joking, the sandals were actually a serious oversight on my part.
See you next year, Sheppy...
Update 2005: Sadly the Harley rental service did not work out and is no longer available.
Further Information: www.tobagocarrental.com