Heard on the Hill

Gary Peters’ Michigan Motorcycle Ride Includes Tariffs Talk

Michigan Democrat just finished his third annual #RideMI

Sen. Gary Peters has ridden his Harley around Michigan to meet constituents every August for the last three years. (Courtesy Sen. Gary Peters/Twitter)

For Michigan Sen. Gary Peters, an annual summer tradition has become a highlight of his year: driving his Harley-Davidson Dyna Super Glide around the state to meet with constituents. 

“If you have to go from Point A to Point B, why not do it on a motorcycle?” the Democrat said by phone Friday as he was heading out for the fifth and final day of his #RideMI bike trip. He ended it in Cadillac in Northern Michigan and spent all day Saturday riding back to where his journey began — his home in Bloomfield Township, outside Detroit.

“Michigan is a very large state, a lot of turf,” he said.

While an hour and 20 minute drive by car can seem like a drag, Peters said, it’s different on a motorcycle.

“I’ll say, ‘That’s all? An hour and 20 minutes?’ It’s a whole different perspective,” he quipped.

This is Peters’ third year doing the ride, and the folks he met this time most wanted to talk about tariffs. The Trump administration’s imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports this year was met with retaliatory tariffs from the European Union, China and other countries. 

Peters said he visited farms and agricultural companies where he encountered firsthand fears about “the impact that [tariffs have] had for our farmers and what it means for their operations.” 

One manufacturer told him he gets his steel from Italy and is now worried if his business can stay afloat.

“He’s been unable to pass those additional costs to his customers,” Peters recalled.

For parts of the way, the senator had a few fellow bikers join him.

“We call them guest riders. I’ve had motorcycle safety groups, veterans, folks at local labor unions, employees of a company that will join me before we get to their company,” he said.

He went to visit Hagerty Insurance in Traverse City and some of the employees rode along with him.

At Hagerty, which offers insurance to owners of classic cars and motorcycles, Peters was able to take a restored a 1957 Harley-Davidson Sportster for a spin.

“It’s pretty clear the technology changed in 60 years,” he said. His Harley is a 2013 model.

And between the guest riders and the meetings with local businesses, Peters has  no plans to stop. 

“We do this every summer, and we’ll continue to do that. It’s my passion, riding motorcycles,” he said.

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