It takes me a good few miles to get used to the Harley-Davidson Street Glide. I squeak nervily into San Francisco traffic and try not to think too hard about its 375kg weight – or what would happen if I drop it.

I have a few days with a long way to go to drive some cars, and I had wondered: what’s the status of the all-American road trip? Can you head out onto the open road, wind in your armpits, into a country in love with the automobile and just drive easy and free for mile after mile? Or, better still (sorry, but at times it is), ride?

The good people of Harley-Davidson said I could test one of their bikes, which they rent out through the Eaglerider chain of bike-hire shops. At £180 a day, I won’t pretend it’s cheap, but they don’t polish the chrome like this at the Global car rental desk.

If you’re on a work trip and your office will pay for a hire car but lets you upgrade to top up the difference, which is what I had planned to do, it could work nicely.

Plus there’s room for laptops and clothes and work kit on a ‘bagger’ like this – bikes so named after their trademark saddle bags. There are two boxes here, which swallow a week’s kit more easily than I expected.

That’s one reason why you will find this bike under the ‘grand American touring’ section of Harley’s website. Others are the 1868cc – not a typo – V-twin engine, mated to a six-speed gearbox, sizeable top fairing, incredibly soft seat, big foot pegs and a stereo.