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It’s 9 a.m. on Mother’s Day, and I’m out riding bitch on a Harley with a 52-year-old Davis Polk & Wardwell partner named Bob Heckart. With Heckart goosing the throttle of his Harley-Davidson Heritage Springer up a notch or two, we race down a narrow country road near suburban Bedford, N.Y. Engulfed in this rush of noise and power, I sit glued to the rear of the motorcycle (“riding bitch,” in biker parlance), my arms around Heckart. Six other bikers, all in a straight line, charge down the road ahead of us, kicking up dust. Meanwhile, the speedometer needle on Heckart’s gleaming white bike is edging upwards of 70 miles per hour. Watching, waiting for us, around a turn in the road, is Colin Harley. At age 60, Harley — his name is only a delicious irony; he’s not related to the motorcycle manufacturer — is the leader of our eight-person pack. He looks tough even from behind, his arms resting casually on the chrome handle bars of his Harley-Davidson Softail Deuce, his legs hugging the bike spreadeagle. As soon as the sweeper — the last person in the pack — rounds the turn, Harley guns his engine. Inside my helmet, I hear a low, constant rumble, broken by the whistling sound of the wind. And as the bike strains past 70 mph, my sunglasses tilt up onto my forehead from the wind’s whipping force. With the air rushing in, it feels like my helmet is going to take flight or else decapitate me. On a motorcycle, nature is always in your face. The wind smacks your legs and flings back your jacket. Your face blanches from the constant pressure of the wind, and gnats squash against your sunglasses. Everything looks and feels different, so different from what you’re used to, sitting in the confines of a steel structure, looking out the windows of a car. It’s all new for me, but for Heckart and Harley, it’s just another weekend ride in the park. Colin Harley’s twenty-first-floor office at the elite Davis Polk’s New York office is as spacious and well-appointed as you would expect. He is, after all, the head of the firm’s equipment finance group. But this room with a view is also a room with a difference. Forget the imposing sight of the Chrysler building looming through the large windows. Forget the bound volumes of case reports covering the walls. Harley’s office is a shrine to his favorite pastime. While some lawyers collect modern art and others wine, Harley, along with his friend and fellow partner Heckart, is “deeply into” motorcycles. Here a model of a Harley Davidson bike that has a clock attached to the rear wheel. There a stuffed pig wearing a Harley T-shirt. Not to mention the Harley Village: on a bureau next to Harley’s desk is a model village of the Harley-Davidson factory, complete with tiny people on miniature motorcycles riding around town. Altogether, there are 13 model Harley bikes decorating the office, plus several framed photos of Harley on a Harley, one of these from Sturgis, S.D. It was at Sturgis, seven years ago, that the hog bug bit him. On the way back from a family vacation out west, Harley witnessed the glory of the more than 250,000 bikers convened at Sturgis Bike Week, the largest Harley motorcycle rally in the United States. Until then, Harley had never so much as sat on a motorbike. But something about the sight of all those happy bikers filled him with desire. Harley remembers thinking, “Wow, I’ve got to have one.” As soon as he got back home, he ordered a bike. Since then, Harley has collected seven Harley-Davidsons, a candy-apple red Honda VFR 800 Interceptor, a rare Super X Excelsior Henderson — and nine helmets to match his bikes. (Although Harley says a serious rider only needs two or three helmets, he likes variety.) He even has a personal designer who paints his bikes the way he wants them. One bike was painted the color of what he calls Dunkin’ Donuts coffee with cream. “I’m a little bit obsessed,” admits Harley. Like Harley, Heckart has spent his entire 26-year legal career at Davis Polk. “We were friends to begin with,” says Heckart. “And we’ve grown closer because we both like to ride.” Unlike Harley’s, Heckart’s office is fairly traditional, the only tribute to motorcycling being a $6 palm-sized yellow model of a BMW racer. It’s an exact replica of two of his bikes. But just because Heckart has little biking memorabilia doesn’t mean he’s any less passionate about biking. Heckart’s been at it for just three years, but he’s already amassed a collection of four motorcycles: the pearly white and chrome Harley Heritage Springer, a black Harley Road King, and two yellow BMWs — “because they ride smoothly and stealthily.” For Heckart, riding isn’t so much an escape from the law as an alternative to it. No paperwork, no protracted negotiations, no haggling: You just “go where the wind takes you.” This summer, the wind — and a couple of airline tickets — took Heckart and Harley to Corsica and Sardinia. Their goal: to bike the infamously curving roadways of those two remote islands. Dangerous? You bet. But that was part of the fun. Corsica it isn’t, but Connecticut is not without its pleasures. The two Davis Polk partners ride religiously, usually on Sundays. They’re not alone, either. Harley and Heckart are but two of the many bike fanatics out there, roaming the country roads of the Constitution State and nearby Westchester County, N.Y. They are, in fact, among the hundred or so members — 50 of them active — of The Riding Club of Greenwich, a biking organization founded 10 years ago. Most of the members of the club are upper-class, upper-middle-aged country club types, many in their forties and fifties, some in their sixties. Not a few are investment bankers and lawyers — people like Heckart and Harley, who is also a former president of the club. They’re part of a certifiable trend: affluent professionals who bike. After all, it’s not everyone who can afford a fleet of Harleys that cost $14,000 to $22,000 each; but then, not every lawyer is a Davis Polk partner, where profits per partner in 1999 averaged $1.6 million. Most Sundays, the two lawyers can be found with other members of the club at The Country Store restaurant in Banksville, N.Y., where they down a greasy-spoon special of bacon, egg, and cheese on a roll, then divide up into groups of seven or eight riders according to their ability: the beginners group, the more experienced middle bunch, and the speed-crazy kamikaze crowd. Harley is often road captain for the beginners pack, where Heckart usually rides. This Sunday Heckart is perched on his Harley-Davidson Springer. He’s wearing black leather boots, jeans, and a black “Sturgis Bike Week” T-shirt with an enormous print of a cowering bald eagle on the front. He’s also got on a real prized item, a fringed black leather jacket, which you can purchase only if you own the Springer. His hog is accented with the same fringe — in any spot that’s not covered with chrome. As for Harley, he’s wearing jeans and a brown leather jacket with emblems sewn on the arms and back. The one on the sleeve of his right bicep reads, “Next to sex, I love my HARLEY best.” The latter is a gift from his wife, a former associate at Shearman & Sterling and Davis Polk. She doesn’t approve of Harley’s passion for bikes, but what can she do? “She knows I’m careful,” says Harley. Of course, he adds, she also “makes sure I have plenty of life insurance.” After a couple of hours of hard riding, they pull in for a required pit stop at nearby Marcus Dairy, a traditional meeting place for area bikers at the intersection of Route 7 and Interstate 84. Today there are some 300 bikers clad in red, blue, and black leather motorcycle-wear, milling around. A few are eating lunch, but many more are there to check out each other’s motorcycles. “I had a new baby on Friday,” a male biker beams. “She’s a 438-pound beauty.” A silver Ducati 996, more precisely. Meanwhile, out on a strip of road in front of the restaurant, two cyclists tear ear-popping wheelies. “Loud pipes,” says Harley dryly. “Our club looks down on loud pipes.”

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