Bikers have a bad rep. It’s hard to break the mold of an outlaw biker. The image of a leather vest wearing, droopy moustache bearing, tattooed armed, long haired, sunglass wearing angry man on a chopper with a blond bikini clad babe on the back of the bike is almost as American as apple pie. There is a mystique and sense of adventure that has attracted teenage boys ever since they got rid of their training wheels of their first bicycle. Songs like “Born to be Wild” by Steppenwolf and Bruce Springsteen’s “Born To Run”, have been anthems for bikers for years and years. The thrill of adventure, hair in the wind, no time like now, devil may care attitude has long been the motto for bikers. But I see a wind of change.
Bikers have grown up. Literally!! Those teenage wild boys are now adults, husbands, parents and in many cases grandparents. Their sense of responsibility and recklessness has changed. Now don’t get me wrong! I’m not claiming to be squeaky clean and suit bearing. I’m just saying, road trips and rallies take on a new meaning for me now. I won’t go on a bike rally, unless it’s a fund raiser, has amenities for families and kids and generally is putting out a good message for the world to see. Impossible you say! Well not true. Rallies are so well organized now; I can make arrangements for accommodation ahead of time, and be sure that there is childcare available for the days there are long rides. There are loads of different community activities that can be attended, like non-denominational religious services, AA meetings, photographic workshops and of course endless activities around biking. Bike rallies have become family friendly environments, that attract all sorts of people from all over the globe, that have a common interest of seeing the country, sharing their stories and feeling the wind in their air.
I have been attending bike rallies for well over thirty years now. In my younger days it was not a problem to strap a blanket onto my back seat and head out to wherever it was. Now it’s not that easy, with a family, business and limited schedule. I have to take care of arrangements before time and oftentimes, the rally is taking place too far away for me to ride there in the limited time I have off. In these circumstances, I have a motorcycle shipping company take care of getting my bike there for me. I fly to the closest terminal and that is where the road trip begins. The motorcycle shipping company can accommodate my trike, trailer and chopper. All the rallies now have organizers, that can help with taking care of accommodation that will satisfy your needs, whether it be camping or mid to luxury hotels.
With the advent of the Internet, life has become a lot easier. Nothing is too difficult to research or arrange. I still have as much fun now with my family and friends as, I did in the seventies. It’s just different now. We still have the outlaw and rogue biker. They are welcome at the rallies, as long as they adhere to our policies. Mostly they don’t attend, but I have faith that they will grow up too and come around, just as I did.