Real Rider: Thom McIlhattan

Meet the latest Real Rider – Thom McIlhattan. Harley-Davidson motor Oil is in Thom’s blood even though he’s been known to throw a leg over other manufacturer’s bikes as well. In fact, his first motorcycle was a Horex 500 Single that he acquired in Munich, Germany as a freshman in high school where his father was stationed in the military. We questioned Thom about his riding background and his passion for two-wheeled transportation.
When did you first start riding?
I actually started out tooling around on mopeds at about age 14 before graduating to the Horex – my first real motorcycle.
What’s your everyday rider now?
I generally ride my 2010 Harley-Davidson FLTRX Road Glide on a daily basis. I love it because of the fixed fairing and the stability that it provides. I upgraded to a six-speed gearbox. The powerful, rubber mounted motor is smooth and makes long trips a pleasure. I also own over 30 other Harley-Davidsons ranging from bicycles to a Destroyer Drag Bike. In addition, there are some non-Harleys as part of the McIlhattan  Collection. My wife rides a Harley Police Road “Queen” (King). The gem of the collection is a 1909 Harley-Davidson 5A Single-cylinder (magneto model) – one of only 54 built.
1909 Harley-Davidson 5A Single-Cylinder Thom McIlhattan
Where’s your favorite place to ride?
I have a couple of favorite ride routes – 0ne along the Russian River and back down the Pacific Coast. Another favorite is up Napa Valley’s Silverado Trail and into Angwin.
What would be your Dream ride?
My wife Honore and I have actually experienced a couple of “Dream Rides”. We’ve done three Cross-country rides, done the Sturgis Rally several times and most recently a two-week bike excursion (on BMWs) as part of an Edelweiss tour through the Swiss Alps.
Why do you like riding and what does it do for you?
I’ve always loved riding motorcycles, and even raced back in the early ‘60s for a San Francisco based Yamaha dealership in the 250 class. My philosophy has always been “If you find something that you love to do, then Do it”.  Early on, I sold H-D Stuff (even have an “HDF Stuff license plate) and then the opportunity came up to purchase a Harley-Davidson dealership in 1990 – Harley-Davidson of Vallejo, CA., which my wife and I ran for 17 years before selling it and retiring. Now I simply enjoy the wind in my face and all the spiritual goodness (smells and sounds) to be experienced on the road. Bikers are good people and you meet lots of them when cruising – it’s part of a brotherhood/sisterhood thing.
Want to see yourself in a Real Riders feature? Answer the questions above and send some killer photos to us of your bike(s) to info@rideapart.com
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