Janice Small-LeClair of Minot puts on her gloves and helmet before going for a ride on the back of a Harley-Davidson on Saturday. Small-LeClair, 73, is showing early signs of  Alzheimer’s disease and her family reached out to see if she could take a ride to remember. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Janice Small-LeClair will remember her hourlong motorcycle ride Saturday through Lewiston, Greene, Turner and around Lake Auburn.

For as long as she can.

Small-LeClair, 73, is showing early signs of  Alzheimer’s disease and her family has pushed along activities that she might enjoy before her decline in memory progresses.

Last week it was a trip to Bailey Island and this week it was a ride on the back of a Harley-Davidson trike (a motorcycle with three wheels).

Frank Welch Jr. of Minot pulls out of LA Harley-Davidson with Janice Small-LeClair on the back Saturday. Small-LeClair, 73, is showing early signs of Alzheimer’s disease and her family reached out to see if she could go for a ride to remember. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Small-LeClair, of Minot, had friends during her high school days at Edward Little in Auburn who had motorcycles. “I never drove one before, but I rode on the back all the time,” she said.

“It’s all she has been talking about is bikes, bikes, bikes,” said Small-LeClair’s sister, Beverly Small. “She probably figured that she would never get to do it again.”

Small-LeClair’s passion gave her daughter, Lindie LeClair, an idea.

Before reaching out to friends on Facebook, Lindie LeClair approached Lewiston-Auburn Harley Davidson about the possibility of putting her mother on the back of a trike for a ride.

“I immediately said, ‘Yeah, I’m more than happy to make it happen,'” said Frank Welch Jr., a part-time employee at L-A Harley and the director of the Mid-Maine Lewiston HOG (Harley Owners Group) Chapter, a group of dedicated riders.

Frank Welch Jr., the director of the Mid-Maine Lewiston HOG (Harley Owners Group) Chapter, helps Janice Small-LeClair, 73, with her helmet before setting out on a 30-mile ride Saturday. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Welch said that such requests are not common, but when he mentioned the idea to the rest of the HOG chapter, he quickly had a dozen other riders who wanted to come along. “That’s what HOG is,” Welch said. “Riding and having fun.”

The ride was a complete surprise to Small-LeClair. “I did not know anything about it,” she said. “My boyfriend might be jealous of a nice-looking man like that giving me a ride,” she said of Welch, who also lives in Minot.

The ride lasted about an hour and covered 30 miles through Greene, along Allen Pond, over to Turner, around Lake Auburn and back to L-A Harley in Lewiston.

“She will remember this as long as she can,” Small said of her sister.

Janice Small-LeClair, 73, sits patiently as Frank Welch Jr. unties the balloons from the back of a Harley-Davidson trike at LA Harley-Davidson in Lewiston on Saturday. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

 

 

 

 

 

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