A group of Central Georgia bikers is giving the gift of the open road to anyone who has ever wanted to hop on a motorcycle.
From the skull sign, to the leather vests, visitors might get the impression the bikers at The Leatherman in Eastman are pretty tough.
However, it’s a smiling, red-headed 12-year-old boy in a neon T-shirt who is, by far, the toughest one there.
Robert Davis goes by “Little Man” to his new biker friends. Thanks to a program called Sidecar Adventures, he got the ride of a lifetime.
“He's our little miracle boy,” says his grandmother Cathy Holland.
Davis does not always get to do the things other kids his age are able to do.
He was born premature and has a heart condition, which has led to seven open heart surgeries in his young lifetime. He also has just one-third of only one lung.
“He enjoys every day,” says Holland, “Even if he is in pain.”
On this day, though, the only thing on Davis’ mind was a need for speed.
“It went super fast!” he said about the motorcycle ride adding that he was never scared. “I said keep on going!” .
“It’s a feeling of freedom out there on the open road,” says Joel Yarbrough, who owns The Leatherman.
He started Sidecar Adventures last year as a way to give that feeling to anyone.
He says the idea came from a friend whose son has Cerebral Palsy, and he wanted to make it safe for him to join in on motorcycle outings.
Yarbrough says they will give rides to those with disabilities or special needs or anybody who just wants to give it a try.
“We try to make them feel very special,” says Donna Owen. She is just one of the several volunteers who helps organize the adventures.
“So they get that experience that we get every day,” Owen explains. “This might be once in a lifetime for them.”
“Everybody is the same,” Owen said. “Some just have a little more challenges than others. For that moment they're with us, they're just like us.”
Now, Little Man is just one of the gang.
He climbed into the shiny blue sidecar, they put his helmet on, and the group took off, while he waved back with a “Bye, Nana!”
It only takes a quick spin to make a lasting impression. Davis says it gave him a sense of freedom, as well as a pretty cool story to share.
“It made me feel good, really good,” he says. “I want one of my own!”
For anyone else who is considering a ride, Yarbrough says “We’d be glad to get you in the wind and show you what it’s all about.”
Davis recently had some complications with surgery and had to go to the Children’s Hospital in Atlanta. To help with the medical expenses, the bikers at The Leatherman are holding a benefit ride.
It will be Saturday, August 19th from 9 AM until 3 PM. The ride will start at the The Leatherman, which is on Tom West Road in Eastman.
For more information on the benefit or on Sidecar Adventures, call 478-783-2871 or email email@example.com