‘On the saddle of a Harley’ | TheUnion.com

‘On the saddle of a Harley’

The relationship between men and women has been at the heart of novels, movies and music for ages. Few have been more focused on the subject than Nevada City resident Nik Colyer, who, by his own admission, has “an unending curiosity about the relational dance between men and women.”

The author, with 11 novels behind him, is most known for his “Channeling Biker Bob” series, now up to four volumes. “Channeling Biker Bob 1” is optioned for a movie, and Colyer is in the process of re-writing the screenplay for the film.

Why is a guy obsessed with relationship issues writing about a motorcycle dude, anyway?

The books are about the differences between men and women, Colyer says, “But I just landed the entire thing on the saddle of a Harley.”

He describes “Channeling Biker Bob 1” as mixing misplaced manhood, marriage on the rocks and motorcycles “over easy.”

Colyer has a soft spot for men with relationship issues, because they are not apt to reach out and discuss things as women often do.

He hosts an annual men’s retreat at Camp Augusta in Nevada County where participants agree to join men’s groups to continue to open up emotionally.

“Bringing men out of isolation is my mission in life,” Colyer said.

Reaching out for a partner

After his divorce, Colyer decided to place a personal ad to meet a woman. This was back in the ’90s, and Colyer’s ad said, “Looking for a woman in touch with her wounded child.”

A woman who answered his ad, now his wife, Barbara, thought it was “some kind of ’90s come-on,” Colyer says. But the pair fell in love.

After living together for a few years, they married, and 59-year-old Colyer has now been married 10 years. He credits Barbara for a lot of what he’s learned about the differences between men and women.

“Part of what I’m doing is the direct result of my wife,” Colyer says.

The real work began after Nik and Barbara had been married five years.

“You know there’s the romance, the honeymoon period, but eventually the power struggle begins,” Colyer says. “Things weren’t working, but we were committed to each other. That’s about all we had going for us.”

As for Barbara, she acknowledges some struggles, but calls her marriage “one of the most intimate things around.”

“Our relationship is authentic, alive and the most fun I’ve ever had,” Barbara Colyer says.

The 800-pound canary

That’s what Colyer calls “Communication,” the one thing that can make or break a relationship.

“You need to understand that men and women have very different ways of communicating. Men are very linear. Women are very circular,” Colyer said.

“What I have learned from my wife is that if I’m really going to hear what she’s trying to say, I don’t listen to the words. I listen to the emotional content.”

Use a ‘Talking Stick’ for critical conversations

This comes from the Native American tradition and is sometimes called a Truth Stick.

It works like this: one person has the stick and the other person has to listen, without commenting, until the stick is handed to them. There is no discussion allowed.

“This is a critical tool of the masculine and feminine,” Colyer says. “The masculine wants the feminine to ‘get to the point’ while the feminine cuts off the masculine because he’s too slow.”

It’s not the stick, per se, that works; it’s the agreement the couple reaches to use it.

“A Talking Stick slows the action down,” Colyer said. “When things spin out of control, a Talking Stick can save the relationship. One word can harm a relationship.”

It takes some getting used to, however.

“It took us about 100 tries over eight months to finally get it right.”


Nik Colyer’s books can be ordered from his Web site, http://www.channelingbiker.bob.com. They are available at local bookstores and on amazon.com.

Meet the author

Nik Colyer, author of “Channeling Biker Bob,” will have a booth at the three Nevada City Summer Nights, set for July 11, 18 and 25, on

Broad Street.

The event is held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and is free.

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