On The Road Again
Say the word "Biker" and the minds of most people will conjure up images of big, burly, tattooed, Viking-like dudes screaming down the highway on their too loud Harleys. But who among us would envision Ma and Pa Kettle as bikers? For that matter, upon hearing the word "Biker" whose mind's eye sees a group of African American women clad in pink leather colors bearing the name "Pink Pussycats?" While these images do not exactly dovetail with the common conception of what a biker is, make no mistake they are every bit as much a biker as the guy who rides across the country and back. The key to this concept is diversity and diversity was on display this past weekend as the International Motorcycle Show rolled into the Jacob Javits Convention Center.
With dozens of motorcycle manufacturers in attendance the motorcycle show is a great place for the newcomer to decide what kind of bike is right for her/him. Sportbikes, Jap cruisers, touring bikes, dual sport, motocross bikes, Britbikes, Harleys the list goes on and on, every type and make of motorcycle was on display at this fantastic event. Along with the motorcycle manufacturers were countless vendors hawking their parts and accessories. Tires, maps, chaps, jackets, helmets, boots and suits, every conceivable contrivance that could possibly be associated with this most popular pastime was available to the two wheeled public. One of the most unique vendors at the show was Joe Dunne of "Joe Dunne Originals" aka "Celtic Craft." A silversmith, originally from Kilkenny, Ireland, Joe is turning out some of the most beautiful sterling silver jewelry that I have ever seen. There is something very special about buying handmade jewelry from the artisan himself, especially when the guy is as down to earth as Joe. You can visit his website at www.celticcraft.net.
One of my favorite features of the bike show is as I stated earlier, the diversity of people. With a little practice you can tell what kind of people ride what kind of bikes. For example, the couple in their 60's with the matching plaid shirts
and the stuffed animal baseball hats ride a Honda Goldwing, the guy with a plain white tshirt and jeans rides a home built bobber with a Harley Davidson panhead motor, the people in black leather with no Harley insignia ride Jap cruisers (often with the brand names removed), the urban kids with their hats turned sideways ride sportbikes and the guys with a lot of gold own bikes that they don't ride at all! The point here is that the International Motorcycle Show has something for everyone. Whether you're a barstool biker or a wide-eyed kid with a need forspeed you can feed the jones at the bike show.
As usual I ran into a lot of old friends from all over the country. Back slapping, shoulder bumping and heartfelt handshakes punctuated our meetings as did promises like "see ya at Laconia" or "Americade" or some other gathering of the tribes. The circle goes round and round.
After a few laps around the floor we decided that it was time to head home so myself and my lovely bikerette Jill made our way over to the parking lot where the dwarflike attendant relieved me of $40, walked 10 yards to my car and drove it to the place where I was standing. We left Manhattan feeling good (albeit a little light in the pocket) about the approach of spring and the new riding season. The snow will melt off of the mountains and the sound of Harleys will once again echo through the valleys. For me, spring is when my world goes back to being normal. No more threats of snow storms, no more bulky winter gear on my rides and no more black ice, alleluia!
So hang in there bros, spring is around the corner!
Happy Trails, Shevy
Shevy's Biker Tip of the Week: When riding on unlit roads at night pay special attention to the taillights of the vehicle in front of you. Taillights that appear to skip or hop suddenly may indicate an uneven road surface ahead. Taillights that swerve suddenly may indicate the presence of road kill such as a deer or raccoon. In any case slow down, put on your brights and proceed with caution!