A dream of riding on a powerful iconic motorbike came true for 89-year-old Joan Phillips on Sunday.
The daredevil grandmother roared up the hill from Arundel to Whiteways roundabout on the pillion of Pete Lee’s Harley Davidson, then down Bury Hill before heading back to ride in triumph through the town.
Joan developed a craving for speed after being taken for a drive in a Mustang ‘muscle’ car during this year’s Arundel Festival.
When her son, town councillor Mark Phillips, posted her adventure on Facebook, it was spotted by Harley owner Pete, 62, from Littlehampton, who got in touch to ask if she would like a ride on his bike.
Joan leapt at the chance and Sunday afternoon saw her holding tightly to Pete’s back as they set off from her home at Warwick Court in Arundel, with a small crowd of well-wishers to wave her on her way.
On her ride of a lifetime she was accompanied by a group of Pete’s fellow bikers from Littlehampton, Chichester and Shoreham who wanted to play a part in making it a really special event for Joan.
Pete was riding his Harley Davidson ‘Fatbob’, his pride and joy since he managed to save enough money to buy it in 2010.
Joan, wearing a leather jacket brought along for the occasion by one of the bikers, could not wait to get going as the gleaming machines lined up. “I’m a bit nervous but very excited,” she said. “Not many people my age have ever had the chance to ride on a bike like this. I’ve only been on one once before, when my son Mark was about 20 and had a little motorbike.
“When Mark asked me if I wanted to do this, I think he expected me to say no, but I wanted to go for it even though some people said I was mad.”
Several of the bikers had offered to take other people on the ride if they wanted to join Joan’s adventure and the invitation was taken up by town councillors Joe Riley and Carol Jones, as well as Carol’s 13-year-old son Oakley.
“It was really exciting,” said Joan after she was safely delivered back home.
“I hung on tight to Pete all the way and he took really good care of me, reassuring me all the time. I never thought I’d do anything like this and it was thrilling. All the bikers were lovely and they made it such a special day for me.”