We met with Tamer Karadağlı at GİS Academy that offers safe and advanced riding training. During our chat with him before the interview, we learned that he was tired of being asked questions such as ‘What type of father are you?’ or ‘Are you a macho man?’ We made a joke by saying, “Oh, God! We were planning to ask the same questions,” knowing that we have actually agreed on an interview about ‘riding a motorcycle’. However, one thing led to another and we ended up talking about almost everything.

You did actually wanted to become a truck driver, I wonder what did you find interesting in that occupation?
I had watched a movie called ‘Convoy’ that had been released in 1978. Kris Kristofferson had played as the truck driver in the movie. I had loved the movie and decided to become a truck driver. That’s the story.

Did your passion for motorcycles begin with a movie, also?
By the way, I ride a Harley, not a motorcycle. I had watched a movie named ‘Easy Rider’ starring Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Jack Nicholson. It was released in 1969. It was a road movie. Harleys were crossing the USA from one side to the other. I loved the idea in that movie. I did not even know then that those were Harleys. After learning that they were Harleys, my passion for Harley Davidson became stronger.

What is the difference between riding a motorcycle and a Harley?
Riding a Harley is a life style; it is a different kind of joy and spirit. The company, which was founded in 1903, holds one of the biggest brand values of the world. Their accessory line is consisted of merchandise from t-shirts to shoes, and from bandanas to pants. Only a few world-renown brands are qualified for this. There are people who have its logo or the eagle that symbolizes the company tattooed on their skin. In addition, riding a Harley is just as riding a horse; you place your feet forward a little. The evolution that it has been through, its classic appearance, the sounds it makes, everything about it makes me feel more excited than other brands.

Do you ride alone or with a group?
I ride with a group of fifty, and sometimes with a small group. I prefer to ride with people that I know, and enjoy being together. Some of them own holding companies or factories; however, when we all put on our leather jackets the question of ‘who does what’ is meaningless. Our egos don’t come into play. We travel in and out of the country. I feel that I am energized when I am riding. It makes me relaxed extremely.

When all of the Harley riders get together, do you tell stories to each other as hunters do?
Our conversations are always the same. We tell the same story over and over again. We talk without being bored or getting tired such as ‘My Harley’s exhaust is this; your mirror is that…’ We must seem boring to an outside observer. We might look as if we are five-year-old boys. I believe that we all should keep ourselves busy also with activities other than our jobs. Being involved in our jobs more than it is necessary would make life boring for us and in time, there will be no way out of it. There should be another field that you feel passionate about it.

Let’s say you are on your Harley on the road, what kind of thoughts pass through your mind while riding?
The sense of freedom and comfort that comes from riding is so different… You should keep your attention on the road and instead of thinking about bugs, beautiful trees, and fragrant flowers; you should foresee any kind of danger and be alert. The ride is highly enjoyable but you should be very careful if you don’t want it turning into a nightmare in a second.

Actually, riding a motorcycle should be a big help in traffic, isn’t that right?
Certainly, it is the best solution for İstanbul’s hectic traffic. It would be a relief to see more people preferring to commute with motorcycles but the traffic rules are supposed to be arranged accordingly first. The people of the developed countries go to work riding comfortably in their business suits. The traffic culture is supposed to be developed before the motorcycle culture. Car drivers think that they have the right of way, but riding a motorcycle is not a joke.

Does anyone try to jam you in the traffic?
Not really, but a few people have said, “I didn’t see you, brother.” Our senses are open to recognize cars, but not motorcycles. For example, Harleys’ exhaust pipes produce louder noise. Usually, traffic officers stop the bikes with the loud pipes and give tickets to their riders. However, the loud noise alarms people. Whoever hears the noise knows that a motorcycle is in close distance. In the USA, bikers use ‘Loud pipes save lives!’ stickers. Sometimes, the noise that you describe as loud could save your life.

Are you riding more careful after having a child?
This also applies to driving a car. I used to ride insensibly as if I was a courier. I used to say, “What can happen?” However, you realize the importance of being careful with increasing age and being more involved in riding. Because the healthier I am, the longer time I can spend with my daughter.

How is your relationship with your daughter and how does it feel to be a father?
I raise Zeyno and she raises me. Having a child changes your life view. It is the most beautiful feeling in the world. I became a father when I was almost forty. If I had known that, it was this pleasant to be a father I could have had a few more children by now. Having a daughter is also special. My daughter has not only changed my life view but she also changed my view of women. I have learned to show more respect and understanding to women. Because, each woman is her father’s Zeyno.

Are you a tough guy?
“Being a tough guy is an interesting situation. A tough guy is not a macho man. It is a man who feels the pressure of being a man and fights with this feeling although he is educated. In each episode of the show, Haluk fights with Meltem, he rejects everything, yells and screams but at the end of each episode Meltem wins. Haluk character is actually in fight with modernism. The Turkish men loves the character because they see a part of themselves in Haluk.”

What if someday you are forgotten?
“I might pass by reporters and they may not recognize me in the future. It might happen. We love to be recognized, applauded, and appreciated as those come with our jobs. Some people like Tamer Karadağlı, and some do not. There used to be news such as ‘got married’, ‘getting a divorce’, and ‘having a daughter’ on magazine programs ten years ago. This is a relay race, now others are on the agenda. It is not that important what is written about you as long as you are with the people that you love.”