NEW ALBANY — At times, people who meet the tattooed biker named Gorilla might be quick to judge who he is based only on his appearance. Yet if they sat down and spoke with him for a spell, they would see a different side of the former Clarksville resident.
Like all good storytellers, the man takes his time when discussing his riding adventures, whether he’s talking about the beauty of a v-twin engine or the “lost” wrenches engraved on his forearm to honor those who no longer ride or repair on earthly streets. Through all his years, one thing has remained constant in his life — an undaunted love of motorcycles.
“All it takes is usually one good ride on a real bike and you’re either not affected at all or you’re bit and it never goes away,” Gorilla said. “It’s just like racing. It scares you so bad you never want to do it again or it scares you just enough to really make you love it and want to do it more and more. That’s the way it does me. It scares me just enough that it make me want to do it again and again.”
For Gorilla, the biker bug nipped him early. At the age of 9, a parts’ salesman who worked with his dad at the local Ford dealer introduced him to motorcycles. From then on out, he rode whatever he could get his hands on. Summers during his youth consisted of pushing pedals on a 10-speed for 32 miles just so he could ride the rural hills on his country cousins’ dirt bikes.
After turning 17, the thrill-seeker discovered riding Kawasaki 900 and 1,000 cc KZs gave much more of an adrenaline rush than the dirt bikes. Racing brought with it an unintended consequence of a nickname. His friends started to call him Gorilla, mostly for his 300-plus pound size that reminded them of another broad-shouldered beast.