When a procession of Harley Davidson motorcycles roars by Saturday afternoon, make sure to wave at the smiling blond-haired man in the sidecar.
Passenger Cody Harmon has been waiting for this moment all his life.
The 21-year-old rode on his grandfather’s Honda Goldwing trike motorcycle 10 years ago, but his dream since he was a little boy has been to hop on a Harley Davidson.
“He’s been talking about it since the first time he saw a motorcycle,” said Cody’s older sister, Lisa. “His dad has one and he’s always talked about riding his.”
But Cody has cerebral palsy, which affects his brain and physical functions including muscle control and posture. If he wants to communicate, Cody writes on a board.
While this impacts his ability to ride a motorcycle, it’s done nothing to diminish his desire to do so, said Jen Beckett, a community integration worker with Interior Community Services.
Beckett has worked with Cody for a year and a half, doing her best to engage him with people and the community. She said it soon became clear to her that Cody loves motorcycles.
“Every time he sees one, he points,” she said, and made a revving gesture with her hands. “And he acts like he’s riding one.”
She and Cody make frequent stops to the Kamloops Harley Davidson store in Aberdeen to look at the bikes and gear. Beckett said Harleys are almost an obsession with him.
Cody’s mom, Elizabeth, said he even wants a tattoo of a Harley Davidson.
“He talks about the bikes all time and how he wants to go on a ride,” she said.
So Beckett decided to do something about it. She talked to staff at the Harley store, who put her in touch with a local rider. He introduced Beckett to Scott Dorrett of the Kamloops Harley Owners Group, who have been instrumental in community events including the annual poker run and charity bike raffle.
It didn’t take much to convince Dorrett to make Cody’s dream come true, she said.
At 1 p.m. today, Dorrett and nine other riders will meet at his family’s Pine Street home. Cody will be loaded into a sidecar and the group will take a spin around Kamloops and up to Inks Lake.
The procession will then head back to the Harley shop where staff will give Cody a free shirt before he’s dropped off at home, he said. The whole trip will take about an hour.
“It’s gonna be great,” said Dorrett, adding he’s excited to meet Cody. “It’s something Cody has always wanted to do and I’m glad we can make it happen.”
Beckett gets to join in the fun too, she said. A spot’s been saved for her on the back of a bike.
“It will be nice to share this with him,” said Beckett.
The ride has been on Cody’s calendar for a week. Elizabeth said it’s all he’s talked about. Although she’s deaf, Elizabeth can read lips. With Cody, they use the board to communicate.
“He’s so excited,” she said. “He can’t wait.”
As for the tattoo, Beckett is arranging that as well. Lisa said Cody likes to roll up his shirtsleeve and point at his arm.
“He knows exactly where he wants it,” said Lisa.