SCRC Loudoun VA Featured Member - June, 2006

Also Featured:
May, 2014

Name:   Frank Beck

Nickname:   Smiley

Marital Status:  Widower as of almost six years ago.

Location:  "Between" Hamilton and Waterford, VA off of Route 9.

Hometown:  in western PA (ever hear of Gallitzin?? It’s near Altoona.), but most of my "youth", through undergraduate school, was spent in Philadelphia.

Children:  Three girls (each one knock down gorgeous!)

Age:  three girls (each one knock down gorgeous!)

Occupation:  Two years retired from U.S. Geological Survey

Current motorcycle(s):  2003 Harley Sportster XLH

How did you hear about the SCRC and when did you join?
From another member (Marion Rogers, thanks!) Don’t remember exactly when I joined. About two months ago?

How long have you been riding?
A couple of years "way back", and most recently for about six years.

Have you ever taken a motorcycle safety course?
Yes, the MSF basic and advanced rider courses.

What was your first bike?
Way back it was a Harley 250 "Sprint". Had it a few years, my younger brother wrecked it while I was in college, he bought me a new one, but soon I was out of the area and in the Army and it was sold. My recent riding began on a Honda Shadow (600?) for a couple years before getting the Sportster.

How many bikes have you owned?
Three, if you count the Sprint, Honda and current Sportster.

Why do you ride?
To enjoy the "freedom", fresh air, sunshine, and camaraderie of fellow riders especially in group riding. I’ll confess that I occasionally enjoy the smell of freshly cut grass, or perfume/cologne or cigarette/cigar smoke from the convertible in front of me. You’ll never get that in a car! As I told a few people at the last social, when I ride up next to someone on four wheels, and I don’t care WHAT kind of four wheels it is, I firmly believe that they are not enjoying the same thrill, excitement, and freedom as I am enjoying from being on two wheels. It is all in the "feeling". "If you have to explain it, they will never understand"?!

Have you ridden with an organized group before?
I’m still a member of Lady Rider and ride with them occasionally. But, I find the SCRC meeting and ride locations much more convenient. Plus, with more members, SCRC offers a great "social" aspect to the experience.

What modifications have you done to your bike?
I bought the bike used over two years ago. The previous owner made all the modifications (pipes, bars, lights,) I had the forward controls added.

What accessories do you want to add to your bike?
Right now I don’t know of anything I would add. I like it the way it is.

What is your dream bike?
Possibly a larger Harley. Something between the Sportster and Ultra Classic. How’s that for being nonspecific! But, as I say, pretty happy with what I have now.

What kind of riding do you like to do — straight-aways or twisties?
A bit of both. If forced to choose, would go with mild twisties.

If you have a nickname, how did you get it? Tell the truth!
"Smiley" is pretty much self given. I’ve used it for user ID’s, passwords, etc, I generally consider myself pretty easy going, laid back, and up beat, so,, , Smiley? Of course, it was also an attempt to get you all to back off in your attempts to find one for me!

What is your favorite riding route?
I lean toward short rides and therefore like the local routes best. I often go around the Bluemont, Hillsboro, Round Hill, Mt. Weather, areas. They are right in my "back yard". And, they are the ones I ride the most. But, some of the Blue Ridge Parkway and vicinity roads are fantastic.

Do you ride your bike to work?
Back when I used to work for a living, yes. Not everyday, but weather permitting, I rode.

What is the fastest you’ve ridden?
Compared to others in the club, I am a slow poke! Probably around 85 would be the tops (with my daughter behind me?!!)

What is your favorite time of year to ride?
I generally like the Fall. The changing colors and longer stretches of really nice weather are hard to beat.

Have you ever been down? If so, how were you hurt and what did you learn from the incident?
Yes, October 2001, an approaching pickup truck turned left in front of me. I probably overreacted on the brakes and went down on my left side with my leg under the bike. As I slid down my lane on my stomach two vehicles passed going in the opposite direction! So, it could have been a lot worse. I mangled my left ankle. Also some very bad scrapes on my elbows and especially the left knee and ankle. Even the orthopedic surgeon was impressed and commented many times on how bad it was! As he put it, I was "going north and my foot was going south", OUCH! It happened directly in front of the Lovettsville fire and rescue squad building on Rt. 287. They were having a picnic so they merely opened their doors, scooped me up off the highway (after cutting off my jacket and pant legs) and put me in the rescue vehicle and we were off to the hospital. Never touched the pickup and he swore to the trooper that he "never saw me" (with my red helmet and red bike?).

Have you ever done an "Iron Butt" ride?

If not, what is the furthest you’ve ridden?
About 300 miles in a day. Which, these days, is way more than enough!

What was the worst weather in which you’ve ridden?
Just heavy rains, and not for very long. I try to avoid the nasty stuff and have done a pretty good job of it so far.

Do you know how to work on your bike?
Yes, the simple stuff. I do a lot of work on cars but I suppose I feel that with four wheels touching the road I have a bigger margin of error. With the bike, I’ll leave the complicated stuff to a professional. I like to use "Mountain Hog" off of Route 9 out past me.

What is your favorite road song?
Born to be Wild! Not that I listen to that or any other music as I ride. It just seems to go perfectly with biking.

What was your most adventurous ride?
Probably some of the Blue Ridge and vicinity roads. When they say "5 MPH" you know you’ve arrived!!

What rallies or events do you like to attend?
I haven’t been to the really big, and usually distant, rallies or events. They just don’t seem to be my "thing" and don’t hold a strong attraction for me. I’ve enjoyed Rolling Thunder, LAW ride, poker rides, etc, . I primarily go for the smaller more "local" happenings. I guess it is the "age thing" showing itself again. (Does that mean I’m smart enough to know better??!!) Maybe SCRC will change all that?!

Is there someone who rides "two-up" with you?
My daughter in Chicago has her own Sportster (even though it is stored in my garage) so now she probably wouldn’t be caught dead behind me (but she used to!) My other two daughters enjoy the occasional ride with the "freedom and speed". A few others have been on that uncomfortable rear seat, but nobody on a regular basis. That is about it.

Off the cuff from...Smiley
I was totally blown away when asked to be member of the month. I objected, mildly, that I was very much a rookie/newbee/FNG (a popular acronym in the Army?) and hadn’t been around enough to be asked. So I’m honored. I’ve gotten a lot from the fine people I’ve meet in the club. And, it goes way beyond the riding experience. It’s the warm welcome, companionship, and good times while off the bike that I enjoy most. I hope to meet more of you and continue to grow with the experience. Thanks to one and all.