It may seem that every biker in the area is in downtown Johnstown this weekend.
But Remy Beaver of Sidman won’t be riding his bike along the busy streets.
At 81, he is still getting used to his new wheels.
He received the bike just a few months ago as a gift from his son Michael. It is his first bike.
“There are too many people down there,” he said of the Thunder in the Valley motorcycle rally. “I’m still in the process of learning, and I kind of stay away from crowds.”
The younger Beaver bought the present for his father following his mother’s death.
“For a period of time after Mom passed, he was in the
doldrums,” Michael Beaver said. “This has brought a spark back.”
The Beavers were married for more than 58 years, and her passing in November left Remy Beaver a bit lost.
“She was a great lady. A great, great lady,” he said. “After an extended illness, God took her to heaven.”
Although Michael Beaver was unsure how his father would like his new wheels, the purchase has been an overwhelming success.
“I had reservations because I didn’t really know what the sense of passion would be,” he said. “I had no idea that he would be as thrilled with it as he is.
“He has probably reversed the aging process by about a decade.”
The new biker couldn’t agree more.
“I have been enjoying that cycle like you wouldn’t believe,” the elder Beaver said. “It is really, really great.”
Michael Beaver said he got his father a three-wheeled bike for safety reasons.
“I’m a little bit of a higher age,” his father said.
Remy Beaver said he got a permit and took a test to drive the bike.
But, he said, he had “no difficulty” learning to operate his new toy.
“I took my time and drove up and down the driveway until I got the feel of it,” he said. “Then I went out on the road, got the license, and I was off and gone.”
Although he still hesitates to go on the heavily traveled Route 219, he makes frequent runs on country roads.
“I ride it to church every day,” he said. “I just dearly love that little thing, and I run all over with it.”
Remy Beaver sports a helmet and one of two new jackets another of his sons gave him.
“I got a yellow/green one that can be seen very easily,” he said.
The senior citizen never expected to own a bike of his own.
“I used to dream about it,” he said.
But he respected the wishes of his wife, who told him, “If you love me, you will not get a motorcycle.”
Remy Beaver grew up in Tipp City, Ohio, and met his wife, whom he called “Fritzie,” at a wedding.
“I’ll never forget,” he recalled.
“After the wedding dance, I took her home and that started everything.
“She had a great personality, and she was beautiful. A lovely, lovely little girl.”
Before things could proceed any further for the couple, Remy Beaver had to do his part for his country.
“After two years in the Navy (serving aboard the USS Forrest Royal during the Korean War), we got married, and it was happily ever after,” he said.
The couple had six children – three boys and three girls.
There are 13 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Remy Beaver worked as a welder technician and the couple remained in Ohio until 1995, when their sons wanted them to move to Cambria County to live near them.
“It’s home to me now,” Remy Beaver said of the region.
“Ohio is all flat. Here we have hills, turns and vales. It’s beautiful country, but my wife never did really learn to drive here.”
Remy Beaver is having no problem getting around.
“I never realized what you can see on a bike compared to an automobile,” he said. “There really is no comparison.
“This is a greater thrill than I thought it would be.”
Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.
Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.