Ride FreeWillie G. Davidson
Willie G. Davidson likes to say that he was born with gasoline in his veins and a crayon in each hand. A designer at heart, Davidson combined his passions for art and motorcycles to extend a multi-generational unbroken thread from Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Company’s birth in a wooden shed in the early twentieth century to today. The grandson of one of the company’s founders and the son of one of its longtime presidents, Davidson created a series of iconic designs that defined Harley-Davidson “factory custom” bikes and cemented its standing as the premier motorcycle company in the world. Davidson was instrumental in saving the company from bankruptcy and then helping it explode into a global phenomenon. For more than five decades, Davidson was more than a namesake of the founders; he was the heart and soul of Harley-Davidson and a personal connection to millions of riders around the world who knew him simply as “Willie G.” Throughout his life, Davidson has embodied a close-to-the-customer relationship by attending motorcycle rallies, rides, and races with his late wife, Nancy, the “First Lady of Motorcycling,” and son and daughter Bill and Karen Davidson who recently joined their famous parents by being inducted into the Sturgis Motorcycle Hall of Fame and play key roles in the Motor Company today.
In Ride Free, Davidson recounts design, his memories of family, relationships, and events that defined his extraordinary life and legacy of power, passion, and purpose. Davidson gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at the planning, design, and conception of legendary bikes that inspired millions of riders over the past half-century; stories of his unforgettable rides around the world; the people he encountered while navigating thousands of miles on the roads; and the legacy that he and his family have created which will carry on the most famous name in motorcycles.