Jockey Journal Forum banner
1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is funny... the last bit is the definition of the HD owner today (well, not ALL of course..)

Driving
The Really Easy Rider

By MICHELLE HIGGINS
Published: August 5, 2005
LIKE pilgrims to some holy land, but tattooed and on two wheels, thousands of motorcyclists will converge in Sturgis, S.D., next week to be part of one of the country's largest and longest-running gatherings of bikers. Many will ride for days, enduring miles of blistering sun, bouts of rain and the occasional mouthful of bugs before arriving in a cloud of dust at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

Chevalier Kevorkian will be there, too, just as he has been about a dozen times before. But his bike will roll into town another way - in the back of a tractor trailer. For roughly $675, Mr. Kevorkian, a 57-year-old screenwriter from Palm Springs, Calif., is having his Harley shipped from his hometown to Sturgis and back. Instead of taking three long days of riding just to get there, he'll arrive fresh off a flight and pick up his bike at a local hotel.

"I just don't have the schedule to do it this year," said Mr. Kevorkian, who has ridden to Sturgis from Los Angeles in the past. "At least I'll be there and be on my own bike."

In a major shift from tradition, a small but growing number of enthusiasts, who like to ride but not to rough it, are shipping instead of riding their bikes to motorcycle events. For the months of May through August, the Federal Warehouse Company in East Peoria, Ill., an affiliate of Allied Van Lines, expects to ship 3,000 bikes for individuals and groups to various places this year, up from 2,800 as recently as 2003.

Taking notice of the niche, FedEx began marketing a vehicle shipping service in January - a venture the company bought in 2000 and rebranded last year. FedEx is marketing the service for groups. For example, it will ship 12 motorcycles one-way from Los Angeles to Sturgis for $617 each. That's $895 below the charge for shipping an individual bike.

Even more motorcycle enthusiasts are driving to events on four wheels, pulling their bikes behind them in trailers. Lisa Weyer, director of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, estimates that the number of people who ride to town has fallen to below half of all attendees. "Most people trailer nowadays," she said.

Not surprisingly, some hard-core bikers aren't pleased with the trend. At Sturgis and other big gatherings like Laconia Motorcycle Week in New Hampshire some attendees wear T-shirts with a slogan that reads: "I rode my bike to trailer week."

Lee Bruns, 37, a machinist from Watertown, S.D., and his wife, Donna, stopped going to the Sturgis rally several years ago. "The overwhelming number of trailers have so overrun the event that we no longer wish to attend," he said. "The whole idea of motorcycle ownership is not, nor has ever been, about the destination. It is and always will be about the journey."

THE popularity of custom motorcycles, sparked by shows like "American Chopper" on the Discovery Channel, is contributing to the trend. Many of these bikes, built for fashion rather than function, are just not comfortable for long rides. And after paying thousands for a custom paint job, most owners aren't willing to risk the kind of damage many miles of kicking up dirt and gravel could cause.

As a result, motorcycle trailer makers say their business has taken off in recent years. Haulmark Industries in Bristol, Ind., said sales of its motorcycle trailers are up about 25 percent in the last few years. The company plans to introduce two new models at the Sturgis rally this year that are priced from $25,000 to $35,000. The enclosed trailers come equipped with air-conditioning, two fold-down beds, a bathroom, maple cabinets and stainless steel appliances. There's also room for two motorcycles.

Some shippers cater specifically to bikers headed to events. "This year, we're turning lots of people away for Sturgis because we're simply full," said Kristy Garcia, who runs Harley Haul in Pottstown, Pa., with her husband, Rob. The business, which currently uses one tractor-trailer, is doing so well they plan to add another next year.

Putting a bike on a truck doesn't mean it's safe from accidents. Last month, Tommy Simmons, a pharmacist from Darlington, S.C., watched as Federal Warehouse loaded his Harley onto a tractor-trailer headed for Sturgis. But just days before his trip, Mr. Simmons got a call telling him his bike had been badly damaged in transit. "It's just a disaster," said Mr. Simmons, who had been planning the trip for a year. "There's nothing to do if you don't have a bike."

Such accidents are "very rare" said Jackie Taylor, manager of motorcycle transportation at Federal Warehouse. About 3 percent of the 13,000 bikes it ships each year are damaged, according to Federal's Web site (www.funtransport.com), and the average claim is usually around $500. Though the company won't refund Mr. Simmons his money, it has offered to ship out a spare bike he owns for free.

The new approach to getting to Sturgis is a big change from the days when dust-encrusted biker gangs would take over the town and residents would board up their homes and leave.

The demographic of motorcycle buyers has shifted in recent years. In 2003, the average motorcycle owner earned $55,850, up about 26 percent from $44,250 in 1998, according to the most recent data from the Motorcycle Industry Council. On average, Harley-Davidson owners earn more than $80,000 a year, according to the company.

For many of these riders, motorcycles are more a hobby than a lifestyle. As a result, some motorcycle gatherings are losing their rough edge. "People used to think Bandidos and Hell's Angels," said Tom Griffith, a spokesman for the Sturgis rally. "Now, you're just as likely to see a bunch of lawyers driving, and for the first time in 51 weeks they haven't shaved."

Of course, many bikers still ride to events. Last year, Steve Quarles, 48, president of an ad agency in Nashville, Tenn., traveled roughly 1,300 miles on his Harley Road Glide to get to Sturgis. This year he plans to do it again. "It's really a point of pride and distinction for those of us who ride," said Mr. Quarles, who has a sticker on his helmet that says, "I rode mine to Sturgis 2004."

For bikers who don't ride, there can be consequences. "Everybody rags on you a bit," said Dan Dunham, owner of Kickstart, a motorcycle shipping company in Lakeland, Fla., "but at least you're there."

Some riders simply fake it. Last year, Eric Fierst, who works for a moving company in Landover, Md., that is affiliated with Allied, said that he and his buddies got some flak for trailering their motorcycles.

"This year, nobody is really going to know, because we're having our bikes delivered to the house we're renting," Mr. Fierst said. Before riding into town, he and his friends will take an extra precaution.

"We'll wipe a little bit of dirt on our faces," he said.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
219 Posts
"In 2003, the average motorcycle owner earned $55,850, up about 26 percent from $44,250 in 1998, according to the most recent data from the Motorcycle Industry Council. On average, Harley-Davidson owners ...earn more than $80,000 a year, according to the company"

No wonder I am building a cheap ass bike. I don't fall into the right tax bracket. Rich Bastards.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
219 Posts
Tony Bones said:
Neat. Do whatever you want w/ your motorcycle...it's yours.
You gotta admit that its a shame that sooo many bikes (and old cars) sit and not get ridden or get put on trailers. Not that what we say matters. It will continue to happen. To me it just a shame.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I don't have a prob. really w/the trailering thing, it's the "we'll rub dirt on our faces" comment that cracks me up..

.. I dunno, like anything, I take all this w/a grain of salt...
 

·
Tiny Member
Joined
·
1,453 Posts
I had a conversation w/ a close friend about this over the weekend.

The Hot Rods and bikes we're both building shouldn't be considered transportation. They're exercises in futility. We're so caught up in the details, the history, the finding era correct parts, etc. that these things are just stupid.

I don't ride my bike much. I walk out in the garage, stare at it, cut parts off, mock up tanks and forks, stare some more, talk to Harpoon, get yelled at for bad ideas, go back out in the garage, shuffle parts around, stare, look on eBay for something, call my old bearded chopper buddy when i can't find it on eBay, have him give it to me for a half rack of beer, go drink too much, come home and stare some more, watch terrible biker movies until my eyes bleed, back to the garage for staring and trying to figure out what I shouldn't chrome, sweep the floor a little, and then go to bed, wake up, go to work, and start the whole cycle over.

Whether we ride/drive them, put them in the back of trucks, or carry them around on our backs, it's all just dumb. It's more about the process and spending time w/ the boys. It's ritualistic, I think.

Sad, really. I love it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
936 Posts
Tony Bones said:
I had a conversation w/ a close friend about this over the weekend.

The Hot Rods and bikes we're both building shouldn't be considered transportation. They're exercises in futility. We're so caught up in the details, the history, the finding era correct parts, etc. that these things are just stupid.

I don't ride my bike much. I walk out in the garage, stare at it, cut parts off, mock up tanks and forks, stare some more, talk to Harpoon, get yelled at for bad ideas, go back out in the garage, shuffle parts around, stare, look on eBay for something, call my old bearded chopper buddy when i can't find it on eBay, have him give it to me for a half rack of beer, go drink too much, come home and stare some more, watch terrible biker movies until my eyes bleed, back to the garage for staring and trying to figure out what I shouldn't chrome, sweep the floor a little, and then go to bed, wake up, go to work, and start the whole cycle over.

Whether we ride/drive them, put them in the back of trucks, or carry them around on our backs, it's all just dumb. It's more about the process and spending time w/ the boys. It's ritualistic, I think.

Sad, really. I love it.
Recently I've come to feel those exact sentiments. But I would rather be doing something dumb, than something that is taking myself way to seriously.

And may I add for brevity.....HOORAY for boobies.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
376 Posts
ol_scratch said:
And may I add for brevity.....HOORAY for boobies.
always, HOORAY for boobies...

over the weekend though, sherry suggested that we consider buying a trailer to use until we retire (still 3-4 years away) so that we can get in some riding in places that we would otherwise not have time to do due to vacation time schedules. for instance, we've been talking about riding to the grand canyon, which i've never seen. on a scoot, this would take about 5 days each way, based on the amount of miles/hours she is willing to spend on the bike daily. if we trailered, we could get there in two (admittedly long/hard) days each way. she's willing to do 14 hour days in a car/truck, though. four travel days and 5 riding days i can do by taking one vacation week; which, by-the-way, the boss will allow. ten travel days and a few days for riding would require two consecutive weeks of vacation. i get plenty of vacation time each year, but probably will never be allowed to take two consecutive weeks off.

she agreed that once we retire and we can take as long as we want to get from here to there to here that we won't have any further use for a trailer.

however, i just shake my head when i see a bike on a trailer. i guess they must all be broken down; otherwise they'd be riding them, wouldn't they?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
773 Posts
Last year, a couple of buddies and myself were having a serious discussion about this very topic. My uncle has a big river party in Big Fork, MT every year at the end of August. I've been up there in the past, but without a cycle. They ride everywhere...around flathead lake, around Glacier, up to Banff, etc...just having a good time. So, last year i said "i ain't goin unless i take my scoot." We hemmed and hawed about draggin the bikes up on a trailer, then just riding the whole time we were there, and dragging them back. The time thing was the biggest factor...

So, while i was out on my patio one night, communing with mary jane, i realized two things... First, like the wise man said, it's about the journey, not the destination. Secondly, i didn't want to ride up to the front of the Garden Bar or the Roadhouse, walk in and have the locals asking me how my bike, with Cali plates, got to Montana and have to answer with..."a trailer!"

So we said, Fuck it. We all got the time off, 3 weeks to be exact, which will never happen again. Packed up our shit and headed out. The plan was to go up the coast, all the way to Seattle, over to Big Fork, then back down through Wyoming, Colorado, NM, AZ and back home. Well, we made it to Morro BAy the first night. I had seeping rocker boxes, so by the time we pulled in, my bike was covered in a fine haze of oil. Checked it out the next day with the help of a local guy named "Doc", (what a great fucking dude), and headed out for Big Sur. Absolutely beautiful, in and out of cloud banks all day, and epic scenery.

Got to SF and hung out at a buddies place downtown. Got a call that evening from New Mexico that my gramps was in the hospital and wasn't doing real well. We were headed to Eureka the next day, and then to Portland, where i was gonna fly out of to get back to NM. I got another call the next morning saying it was urgent, so i hopped a plane out of SF immediately. What started as an epic adventure with friends turned into a sad vacation. The next two weeks were spent at the hospital and finally the cemetary. My buddies left SF, rode up north a bit, then bailed back down the road to SD. Montana party didn't happen last year since my uncle had to bury his old man, but it's on this year, and i'm missing it! I wanted to do the ride, but couldn't get the time off. Buddies couldn't do it either. At one point we started debating the trailer thing again, because it was a time-saving effort, but in the end i realized that those epic adventures don't happen when you drag your bike around on a trailer. You gotta do it on two wheels for the full effect.

Maybe next year...
Make it a memorial ride.
 

·
TI_Tuesday
Joined
·
1,247 Posts
Sturgis is far as hell from most places...with that it comes down to time and how much you can afford to take off...time is expensive these days! if you are riding a old bike or rigid just add more time in for problems along the way. trailering is gay but who gives a fuck what the other guy thinks? i wouldnt have been able to afford to go if i didnt trailer (yep i said it) it took 30+ hours each way driving almost straight through. i got there and spent 4 days riding some of the best roads i have seen in my life...rode my ass off (over 1000 miles), partied, met some cool people etc. if one thing seperates Sturgis as an event from the rest like gaytona its the great rides available when you are there. i would do it again in a minute but for now i'm back to this hellhole and the g-r-i-n-d

-easy driver
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
726 Posts
BrianPettit said:
You gotta admit that its a shame that sooo many bikes (and old cars) sit and not get ridden or get put on trailers. Not that what we say matters. It will continue to happen. To me it just a shame.
I would focus on your bike instead of worring about what the guy down the street is up to with his.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
36 Posts
Lunatic spells it out.
Lee Bruns, 37, a machinist from Watertown, S.D., and his wife, Donna, stopped going to the Sturgis rally several years ago. "The whole idea of motorcycle ownership is not, nor has ever been, about the destination. It is and always will be about the journey."

I sez,
Too bad the trailer dudes miss out on the real adventure of the trip. Sure it is a pain in the ass and time consuming riding across the country, but therein lies the fun and zen of the road.
Ray in CT
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
219 Posts
Polock Joe said:
I would focus on your bike instead of worring about what the guy down the street is up to with his.
SOOO I should stick my head in the sand and not have a look around Joe? Free country last I checked. Freedom to do what the hell YOU want. Freedom to do what the hell I want. So if you or anyone else do something goofy, funky, dumb or otherwise I should just look the other way?

I could post more pics of bikes I hate than the bikes I like. Most of the hated bikes are trailer queens. I have no problems with the biggest billet OCC bike, the shiny painted crotch rocket, or even the stock Honda Dream...AS LONG AS YOU RIDE THE SHIT OUT OF IT.

The second you come over and help me with my bike you can tell me what I should be doing.

XOXO
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
328 Posts
A few years ago I was west bound on I-10 my daily ride to work (22 miles each way). It was raining about 6:30am and these two dick heads towing two geezer glides wave at me like "hey we got harleys too". Not only were they towing baggers with wind shields they had florida tags and I can only assume they were on the way to the memorial day blowout in mississippi. which I call the trailerout. tim
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,108 Posts
tom said:
Sturgis is far as hell from most places...with that it comes down to time and how much you can afford to take off...time is expensive these days! if you are riding a old bike or rigid just add more time in for problems along the way. trailering is gay but who gives a fuck what the other guy thinks? i wouldnt have been able to afford to go if i didnt trailer (yep i said it) it took 30+ hours each way driving almost straight through. i got there and spent 4 days riding some of the best roads i have seen in my life...rode my ass off (over 1000 miles), partied, met some cool people etc. if one thing seperates Sturgis as an event from the rest like gaytona its the great rides available when you are there. i would do it again in a minute but for now i'm back to this hellhole and the g-r-i-n-d

-easy driver
Tom is a good example of a real rider. He has ridden for years, he rides his rigid,kickonly shovel like it is a MX bike. He didnt have time off to ride the fucker here, nor did he have anything to prove. I dont blame him for the motorhome route.
The other fact is, our weather out here is volatile! My aunt and uncle tent camped at teh rally for 40+ years. This year was a killer. We had 2-4" of rain Wednesday night. This, in a desert type climate. I like camping, but I also like comfort. As much as I dig cooking, it is easier with a camper!

And like tom said, the rides out here are worth the trip, REGARDLESS of how you get here!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
773 Posts
Polock Joe said:
You sweet on me boy?
Oh stop it you two!!!

You're making me moist.

Who the fuck cares???...too much thinking goes into how you should look or how you should ride.

Pettit...get yer bike running.
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top