When Steve Bestolarides isn't pondering the future of San Joaquin County as a member of the Board of Supervisors, he is obsessed with motorcycles — Harley-Davidsons in particular.
“I’m a biker. That’s me in Montana,” he said, pointing to a 2003 painting of him zooming along on his cycle.
Bestolarides has attended the 95th, 100th and 105th anniversaries of Harley-Davidson in Milwaukee, Wis., which drew about 300,000 people from throughout the world. He rode his motorcycle from his north Stockton home to get there, and especially enjoys two-lane back roads and riding through small towns throughout the country.
While attending the celebrations, Bestolarides rode one of his motorcycles in a parade that started at Miller Park, home of baseball’s Milwaukee Brewers, to the local fairgrounds.
In 2013, Bestolarides plans yet another trip to Milwaukee, but he plans to bike cross-country to Boston before heading back to Milwaukee for the Harley event.
Bestolarides, 55, began riding rather late in life, starting his hobby in 1994 because his father, Harry Bestolarides, strongly opposed the idea of riding motorcycles.
“I waited for my dad to pass away before I started riding,” he said.
You can see Bestolarides’ fascination with Harley-Davidson simply by visiting his office on the sixth floor of the county administration building in Stockton. In addition to the painting, you can see a full-sized gas pump with the Harley logo on it and a full collectors’ case of limited-edition memorabilia. Some items are made of silver, so gloves are required to touch them.
He has souvenir watches from the 95th and 100th anniversaries of Harley-Davidson, miniature motorcycles, jewelry and even three Barbie dolls in Harley garb.
“I can’t play with them,” lamented Jessica Knisely, Bestolarides’ legislative assistant.
The memorabilia are so valuable that Bestolarides has a key to keep them locked up in the case.
“Jessica is the curator of the museum,” Bestolarides quipped. “But it’s a hands-off museum.”
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.