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Cannonball Characters: #120 Dave Minerva

By Felicia Morgan

#120 Dave Minerva
1916 Harley-Davidson

Dave had heard about the Cannonball for some time and was interested in the run, but when he found out the start would be less than 40 miles from his house, he decided there was no way he could skip riding in the 2016 Century Race. His family gathered at the starting line to wish him well and the sendoff included the youngest member of the clan, five-month-old granddaughter Sophia, though she seemed less than thrilled with the whole affair. The Minerva clan waved goodbye and Dave set off in the heat of the muggy New Jersey morning alongside the rest of the pack of anxious time travelers. The autumn temperatures reached the triple digits as the group navigated their way through five states. And that was just day one. By the time they reached the Pacific Ocean, Dave was awed by the closeness of the riders, who had become a sort of family. “Everyone was so supportive, and encouraging. People just bonded.” When asked what he felt was the most challenging part of the entire 16-day run, it didn’t take long for an answer. “It was the weather, and the conditions. You know that guy who needed oxygen going over Wolf Creek Pass in Colorado? That was me. And the day when it rained so bad that everyone trailered their bikes? I had to ride it out. That was the hardest part, really, just the weather.” When asked if he would be riding the same bike again for the 2018 run, he said he’s trying to get the 1916 H-D back in shape. “I have a bum leg from a motorcycle accident about 30 years ago, so I have to have a transmission, I can’t do the single speeds, and that bike did pretty well so I’m working on getting it ready now.” When asked what he does for a living, Dave chuckles and gives a flippant, “I sell old motorcycle junk.” Sounds like a conveniently appropriate vocation for a guy who rides around on a 101-year-old motorcycle.

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