Rodney ‘Gaddo’ Gadsen celebrates 10 years as a Harley-Davidson owner this year, but his fascination with Australia’s top-selling road bike brand goes much deeper.
“My obsession with Harley started when I first threw my leg over my very first motorbike, a tiny kid’s minibike, recalls Gaddo, “I would travel into Melbourne with my mum and dad and nag them to go to the bike shops so I could see the Harleys. Every birthday they gave me a picture book on Harleys.”
Yet despite a lifelong fascination with the brand, it wasn’t until 2009 that Gaddo became an owner. Such is the urgency of our youth to make our way in the world.
“My first Harley was a secondhand ‘98 Evo Electra Glide I bought in 2009. I’m ashamed to say most of my riding in the 45 years before then was done on Japanese bikes,” Gaddo confesses, “and it was actually my wife who suggested we drop by Harley-Heaven Dandenong, y’know, just for a look.”
In that 45 years, Gaddo had plenty of opportunities to ride a whole range of bikes, but since switching to Harley-Davidson 10 years ago, he’s been faithful to the Motor Company.
“As I said, my first Harley was the 98 EVO Electra Glide, then the 2014 103 Electra Glide and now I’m on my current ride, a fantastic 2018 115 Anniversary 107 Milwaukee Eight Ultra Limited (No. 132 of 3700). Such a great ride and plenty of ‘go’ and such a stable bike to ride.”
Just being an owner wasn’t enough for Gaddo and he spent four years as director of the Dandenong HOG Chapter, based at Harley-Heaven Dandenong.
“In that time I’ve met some fantastic people and forged some lasting friendships, “says Gaddo, “and one, in particular, is with the current director, Doova, who took over from me. He’s such a ‘genuine’ bloke.
“Our club is one of the most active chapters with around 230 members and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed mixing in with all of them, and they all have their own story about how they came to be at the club.
“To be able to ride with other Harley owners in a relaxed social environment is such a great thing, and to have led a great chapter was certainly a highlight for me. Harley-Davidson certainly brings people together.”
Gaddo reckons working closely with the dealership is fundamental to any chapter’s success and his and the chapter’s relationship with Harley-Heaven Dandenong has proven particularly strong.
“It’s almost like like an extended family for me. When you buy such an iconic brand of bike you want the person selling the accessories and doing your service to have the same passion that you and Harley-Heaven have all that.
“The dealership’s’ support of the chapter is another key strength. Whether it’s running our simple barbecue every Saturday or discounts on merchandise and accessories, they are always there.
“I have to mention Darryl Storrie, the dealer principal, and Steve Miles before him have been another critical factor. Both these guys know how important the members’ connection to the brand is and treat us with respect.”
If you’re a Harley owner in the Dandenong district of Victoria and you’re not a HOG member, then why not? Drop into Harley-Heaven Dandenong for all the info on membership.