Over the past few weeks, visitors to Kirkland’s fruit stand in Sneads and those who often drive by it on U.S. Highway 90 may have noticed the presence of an unusual sport vehicle there.
The Polaris Slingshot belongs to Clarksville residents Wayne and Trish Mayo. Mrs. Mayo works part-time for Kirkland and she motors to the stand on the Polaris from time to time.
The Mayos have had their new eye-catching ride about two months now. It’s a motorcycle, but at first glance you might think it’s a car. But closer inspection reveals it has two front wheels and one on back, kind of like a flip-flopped trike.
It sports a four-cylinder, 180-horsepower Chevy engine. Manufacturers put those in small Chevy cars, too. The bike is legal on all roadways, including interstates. The speedometer indicates it can reach a speed of 220 mph, but Wayne Mayo has only had it up to 80; he says there’s no place around here where he feels like he can really open it up.
And Trish has no desire to try that. In fact, until they acquired the Polaris, she was scared to death of motorcycles, period. But the stability she feels in the Slingshot made her so comfortable she rides that with great pleasure. It has a steering wheel, like a car, and many of its creature comforts, like drink holders, a weatherproof interior, a glove box, a storage console, a radio, five-speed standard transmission, a back-up camera and more. She and her husband can ride side-by-side in this ride, too.
Her husband, on the other hand, has always loved the regular two-wheelers; he had five of them until he bought the Polaris. He traded in his beloved Harley Davidson to acquire this one, which carries a rough price tag of $30,000. He’s 74 years old now and has some health problems, including damaged knees, that eventually made it nearly impossible for him to hold up that big Harley. He still has his Honda trike, with the more common two back, one front tire array, his two Honda Shadows (a 650 and an 1100), and his 900 Suzuki.
But he’s planning to sell them all, he’s so taken with the Slingshot. He highly recommends it to any biker faced with the kinds of crisis his health dilemmas presented him — the possibility that he might never ride again. It feels “100 percent safer” than regular bikes, he adds.
And to have his wife fully at ease with the biking way of life, he said, is also a big bonus.
He’d learned about the Polaris at some of the many bike rallies they attend, and they’ve cruised to a few on the Slingshot already. They’re not spokespersons for the brand, just big fans, they say, that have found all they need to keep enjoying the open road.
The ride offers additional options — they could put a hard top or a soft top cover on it if they choose, down the road. But right now, they’re just enjoying the wind in their hair.