Motorcycle: Riders View - Join The Club
Date: Sunday, October 31 @ 15:38:40 UTC
Topic: Motorcycle, Motorcycles, Motor Cycle
Join The Club
Riding a motorcycle is essentially a solitary pursuit. You sit there gripping the handlebars, peering intently ahead through visor or goggles, ears full of noise from wind and engine, mind concentrating on the road ahead. On a bike there is rarely either the time or the opportunity for conversation.
Yet motorcycling can also be a most sociable hobby. Wherever in the world there are bikes, there are riders who congregate to compare machines, modifications and cornering lines; to swap information, spare parts and tall stories. From the regulars at the Rock Store cafe near Los Angeles, famous weekend haunt of Harley-riding Hollywood stars including Stallone and Schwarzenegger, and at Box Hill in Surrey, England, to Japan's Tougekozo (the "peak to peak kids"), who race their sportsbikes on mountain roads, there's a group of bikers meeting somewhere every day, and that's just the informal gatherings. There are also hundreds of official motorcycling clubs and organizations. Some are political pressure groups, notably the Brussels-based Federation of European Motorcyclists, which incorporates individual groups in over a dozen countries. Motorcycling has long been a tempting target for legislators - and riders are increasingly well organized to fight back.
Bike sport is generally run through clubs, some of which have a thriving social section. Specialist road-riding groups include Christian Bikers, Gay Bikers and Women on Wheels. Many clubs are simply locally-based organizations with a wide variety of members. One-make clubs exist for manufacturers ranging from Messerschmitt to MV Agusta. The bigger marques have national clubs in numerous countries, plus an international umbrella organization.
There are also groups for many individual models as diverse as the BSA Bantam, Honda CBX1000 and DKW rotary. Few branches of motorcycling are too obscure to have their own organization — ask the stalwarts of the Post Office Vehicle Club, or the Raleigh Safety Seven and Early Reliant Owners' Club. Honda's Gold Wing alone supports two vast organizations in America, each with branches all over the United States, plus groups in many other countries.
The one-make club with the highest profile is the Harley Owners' Group, which has more than 250,000 members worldwide in almost 800 branches, over 500 of them in America alone. Annual gatherings at Daytona in Florida and Sturgis in South Dakota attract vast crowds, the majority on Harleys, though many of the more upwardly-mobile bikes arrive on the back of pick-up trucks these days. In many respects Harley-Davidson's claim of selling not just a motorcycle, but the lifestyle to match as well, is not an exaggeration.
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