Yes, this is another rant about people I find annoying on Western highways. I turn now to the overfed guys on Harley Davidsons, who have been multiplying faster than prairie voles over the last few years. They’ve always been around in the summer, but they haven’t always traveled in battalion strength. That’s a new thing. Stop to eat any place between here and Wichita and I guarantee you’ll be promptly joined by about 40 dozen bikers, swaggering through the door in head-to-toe Harley apparel and trying to pull all the tables together so that the tribe might remain as one during lunch. Even when the tables happen to be bolted to the floor, as they are in many fast-food outlets.
It is a tribal thing, isn’t it? Why else would people be so slavish about the logo wear? It’s really not enough to buy a big honking Harley Davidson with more accessories than a full-size Chrysler. To be identified as a true rebel, a nonconformist and all-around free spirit, you must also own nothing that doesn’t have that damned eagle prominently displayed. You must look exactly like the others. So you get the head scarves, glasses, jackets, T-shirts, belts, wallets, pants and boots. You get the tattoos, towels and tea cozies. Also the Harley underwear and ladies’ intimate apparel, but that goes without saying.
Speaking of the ladies, can you imagine a worse hell than riding on the back of a Harley on a hot day, with bug guts and road grit being permanently baked into your hair and skin? Don’t tell me some of those women haven’t longed for an air-conditioned Hyundai. I do understand why they keep getting tattoos. After an ordeal like that, with the mister’s grimy hair and Harley scarf flapping in your face for a few hundred miles, I guess a lesser pain would seem like pleasure.
Fayetteville, AR, about 80 miles from me, hosts the annual Bikes, Blues, and Barbeque every September, drawing as many as half a million participants. They clog up Dickson Street (the main drag running between the main highway and the University of Arkansas) with the Parade of Power (and noise). It is a nightmare for those not interested, who would like to be able to run their regular errands, operate their business, or just hear themselves think. It is like a motorized freak show.
They do raise money for charity, but then so do lots of other people without being such a public nuisance.
Bikers one at a time are often harmless, likable people. Bikers en mass, sporting all that tough looking garb, are intimidating. We were at a popular tourist overlook/ gift shop one day when a truly menacing acting group of bikers stopped. Different from the friendly personalities of those we usually encounter here. Everyone retreated inside the gift shop and waited for them to leave.
I’m sure it was aggravating to have to constantly compete with the giant horde for a room or a meal.
Daytona Beach Florida hosts Bike week every year in October. Paula, your words “motorized freak show” are truly apt. Years ago my husband was a Daytona Beach City policeman – motorcycle squad. He had to ride herd on those idiots. Mostly they wanted to strut around in their silly outfits, drink, and fight. Not necessarily in that order. Now Daytona Beach has added a second attraction for the Harley horde – they have Biketoberfest in the fall. It’s probably the next stop after Bikes, Blues, and Barbecue!
Oops! Sorry – Bike Week is in March. Biketoberfest is in October.
I don’t think those jeans came from the Gap… ; )
Interesting tan lines . . .