Riding motorcycles means more to David Mackie than the destination. Riding is his way to connect with the outdoors, to bond with friends, and a way to spend time thinking about his dad. Riding makes him feel alive. Even if it’s raining, he’d pass up a ride in a car for a ride on his motorcycle.

Mackie, Consumer Credit Analyst III at Harley-Davidson Financial Services in Carson City, NV, grew up in Northern California and experienced the outdoors with his dad in nearby places like Yosemite National Park and Lake Tahoe. Though he didn’t grow up around motorcycles, he had a thirst for adventure and the spirit of a rider before he ever sat on a bike.

After working at HDFS for a year, Mackie began to kindle a passion for Harley-Davidson® motorcycles. Without knowing how to ride, he walked into a dealership, bought a new 2003 Dyna® Low Rider® motorcycle, and asked a friend to ride it home for him. After countless laps around his block, he took a riding course and then set off on trips to experience the mountains of his childhood from the seat of a motorcycle.

“Riding makes me feel like I’m flying,” Mackie said. “You see more on a bike, you smell the landscape, feel the change in temperatures, hear more, all the senses kick in.”

On average, Mackie puts 10,000 miles on his bike each year, and he sees riding as therapeutic. “It’s just me, my bike and the world,” he said. “That’s the way to unwind.”

He traces his appreciation for adventure to his dad, who died when Mackie was 22. His dad instilled his love for the outdoors, and that desire to experience wild landscapes urges Mackie to get on his motorcycle and chase his next adventure.

“My dad was my best friend, we did everything together. He never rode a motorcycle, but I just know that if he were still alive, he’d be riding right there beside me,” Mackie said. “I’ve seen so much of this beautiful country on two wheels, and every time I roll back on the throttle and look up at the long stretch of open road, I know my dad is with me…And, I try not to ride faster than he can fly.”