Riding with the Pratts

Road Trips, Racetracks and CBRs
Like most Americans, James and Kay Pratt have vehicles to take them where they need to go. But their real preference for getting around is their stable full of motorcycles — and a whole country to see and explore.

“There’s not a lot of down time in our house,” said James Pratt, a 45-year-old business owner and self-proclaimed “motorcycle nut.” “If we’re not working, we’re on our bikes or we’re working on our bikes or we’re getting ready to go somewhere on the bikes. We spend a lot of time on the motorcycles because we absolutely love riding. It’s certainly more than just a hobby.”

While he was growing up, his mother wouldn’t let him ride a motorcycle because she said they were dangerous, James said. But once he turned 18, he could decide for himself.

“I got one when I turned 18, and I’ve had one or more ever since,” he said. “I started riding with my son when he was real young, and the last couple of years we’ve even got my wife riding more and more.”

Owners of a dozen motorcycles, the Pratts have street bikes that they ride all over the country, as well as dirt bikes they use to enjoy the “off-road” experience, as well as some motorcycles that they can use in the country and on city streets. But the prize possessions, James said, are the Honda CBR 1000s that he and his son Adam own.

“Those are our babies,” James said proudly. “We love those bikes and ride them as much as we can. We spend an awful lot of time up at a track at Hallett, near Stillwater. On that track, these bikes can get up to 180 miles an hour, and that is one huge rush!”

Kay has her own Honda CBR motorcycle, although hers is a bit smaller. But her favorite “toy,” according to her husband, is her Chrysler Crossfire, which she takes to the Hallett track while the boys ride their bikes. James and Adam take their CBRs to the track as often as possible, but it’s the cross-country rides that created memories that will stick with James forever.

“Last summer, Adam and I were riding our CBRs out to California to a big motorcycle race, so we rode all through the back roads all the way from here to California, then up into Washington and Oregon and kind of saw a lot of the western United States,” he said. “We’d ride about four or five hundred miles a day, then camp that night, and ride another four or five hundred miles the next day. It was great, being out on the open road – just a father and son and their bikes.”

During the two-week trip, the two rode more than 5,400 miles. James said they plan to take the trip again this year. He did an online blog of their trip that can be found at www.prattbikes.blogspot.com. James, also an amateur photographer, took numerous pictures on the trip, as he does during all his travels.

A former dirt bike racer, James now watches Adam ride on the same Oklahoma circuit of races that he used to run. Adam, 19, races at locations all over Oklahoma – Muskogee, Stillwater, Lake Murray and others.

Adam’s experience with speed began early. He was given a four-wheeler when he was 2 and a dirt bike when he turned 4. When he graduated from college last year, James and Kay offered to buy him a car, but he opted for his new Honda CBR 1000 – a bike just like his father’s.

The Pratts host a gathering every year in southeastern Oklahoma, near Clayton, that draws 50 or so good friends from all over the country. They spend a few days enjoying time in the rural Oklahoma countryside and riding bikes up to 10 hours a day.

“It’s like I said, we work hard all week, and we play hard on the weekends,” James said. “A lot of people, I guess, might think that’s a lot of riding, and I guess it is. But we love it, and it keeps us doing things together. We’re an active family, and we’ve even got my daughter (Emily) riding quite a bit now. As long as we can climb on a bike, we’re going to keep riding them and seeing the country.”

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