BROOKFIELD, Conn. — After practicing law for 40 years, Robert V. Gaulin is thrilled to work alongside his son, Eric, in a business involving their shared passion for motorcycles.
Robert Gaulin, of Greenwich, and Eric Gaulin, of Brookfield, recently opened Brookfield Indian Motorcycle on 20 Federal Road.
The rest of the Gaulin family -- which includes wife Patti Gaulin and daughter Chelsea — are also involved in the business.
Brookfield Indian Motorcycle, located in a 12,000-square-foot space, sells both Indian and Victory brand motorcycles. It's an independently owned dealership with nearly 200 locations in the United States and more abroad.
Aside from motorcycles, the business sells motorcycle parts and merchandise. It also repairs motorcycles and offers pickup and delivery services.
The older Gaulin said that although his law firm — Gaulin Group — is in full gear, he's greatly enjoying his second career. But he is now busier than ever.
"Staying fully engaged and relevant is what I call ‘retirement,’” he said.
As for the younger Gaulin, as long as he can remember, he has always loved motorcycles.
“I like the freedom of them, and the people you meet on the road. There is a big motorcycle community,” said Gaulin, who has an anthropology degree in motorcycle culture from Elon University in North Carolina.
“It’s all about getting out in the wind,” Eric Gaulin said.
Robert Gaulin said a person rarely makes a purchase on a first visit to a motorcycle shop. “You usually look and look and have a million questions,” he said.
When making such a substantial purchase, the most important questions potential buyers should ask are: How much do you want to spend? And what are you going to use the motorcycle for?
“The bike should not only fit you physically but it should fit your intended use,” he said. "There are bikes geared for cross country use, for use on local roads, for riding by oneself and for riding with someone else.”
Indian Motorcycle is forming a rider’s group. “It will be open to anyone who owns any type of bike,” Robert Gaulin said. “We will use this place as a base for socializing and camaraderie.”
One part of the business that Robert Gaulin said makes it unique is that it offers test rides every day that the store is open — six days a week. “You can just come in, choose a bike and we send you on your way," he said. "We give you a few good routes.”
Robert Gaulin said motorcycle enthusiasts cross all groups. “That’s the beauty of it. It’s a sport everybody can enjoy.
"Riding has nothing to do with where you’re from, whether you’re a white-collar or blue-collar worker or what your income is,” said Robert Gaulin, who rides a motorcycle on his way to and from work every day.
Although 75 percent to 80 percent of motorcycle owners are men, women are quickly growing in number, he said. “There are more bikes being made for women — these tend to have a lower seat, a lower center of gravity and lots of trunk space,” he said.