Friday, May 2, 2008

The Changing Face of the Motorcycle Community

tokyo motorcycle showWas reading KT DID's post about the Laughlin River Run, that just came and went last week, and about how the crowd was a lot smaller this year than in previous years.

I've said before that I've gotten tired of rallies and runs, and just don't go to them anymore. And I didn't go to Laughlin. But I don't suspect that people are bored of rallies as I am.

In talking to other riders who went there, and some vendors that went there, police presence was really high, and they were harrassing the folks as often as they could. And there was also the heat. I understand it got pretty hot there.

But then again, Laughlin is always hot, and ever since 2002, the cops are always bothering the rally-goers. That didn't stop people last year, or the year before.

You might say it was the high price of gasoline. Maybe. But when you're riding your motorcycle, it really isn't that much more in cost. A car definitely.

I started noticing last year that crowds were thinning down at the smaller events, like poker runs, benefit rides, and bike shows. I was wondering if we had already seen the highpoint of the biker craze, and that now we're on a downward trend.

The news reports suggest that more people than ever are buying motorcycles and scooters. But that's for economic reasons; they're buying the smaller displacement bikes because they're cheaper and get higher gas mileage.

But then, maybe that's what going on.

We're seeing a different breed of biker emerging, the commuter.

The popularity of motorcycles that we saw in the early 2000s was perhaps a fad. And fads are meant to fade away. The smaller percentage of us who found something that connected with our souls have held on to discover our true niches, be it in a riding club, a motorcycle club or just hanging out at the biker bars. The rest of them may have decided to hang up their $300.00 Harley jackets in exchange for some other fashion statement.

In December of 2006, some friends and I took a ride to Long Beach, CA, to visit the International Motorcycle Show, that showcases the newest models in factory motorcycles. Not choppers, not customs, but all the "regular" bikes.

Maybe that's the kind of show that will replace the chopper shows. Instead of bikini-clad hoochies straddling $50,000 choppers, we'll be seeing more conservatively appointed models standing next to cheaper, smaller, commuter bikes.

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About Steve

San Diego, CA-based motorcycle rider who likes long road trips, old rustic bars, craft beer, and tough women. Can often be found where there's free Wi-Fi, writing about the mysteries of life. (Read more...)