Archive for Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Prepare for downtown Harley invasion

John Jaycox and Tim Revelle, both of St. Louis, chat recently at Riverfront Harley Davidson in North Lawrence. They both plan to take part in this week’s Kansas Harley Owners Group 2009 rally.

John Jaycox and Tim Revelle, both of St. Louis, chat recently at Riverfront Harley Davidson in North Lawrence. They both plan to take part in this week’s Kansas Harley Owners Group 2009 rally.

June 3, 2009

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See the bikes

The Kansas Harley Owners Group 2009 rally will culminate with a parade at 4 p.m. Saturday.

The parade will start from the parking lot of the I-70 Business Center in North Lawrence, go over the Kansas River Bridge and travel down Massachusetts Street to South Park.

The parade is expected to feature 500 to 700 Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

“It will be something to see,” said Elliot Funk, a sales manager at Lawrence’s Riverfront Harley-Davidson. “There’s no such thing as a stock Harley. Nobody buys them off the showroom floor and leaves them that way. You set them up as a personal reflection of yourself.”

Lawrence, get ready for a little horsepower harmony.

You know, it’s that low, throaty rumble that will make an unsuspecting pedestrian jump. It’s the pop, pop, pop from a chrome pipe that shines like a mirror. It’s the background noise of “Easy Rider,” Steppenwolf and small roadside bars the country over.

Yeah, it is the unmistakable sound of a Harley-Davidson, and this week Lawrence will be treated to a full-blown symphony.

From Thursday through Saturday, Lawrence will play host to 500 to 700 Harley-Davidson riders as part of the Kansas Harley Owners Group 2009 rally.

“We’re coming,” said Mark Marcellus, the coordinator for this year’s rally.

But don’t worry. These aren’t the old days.

“We laugh a lot about the used-to-be reputations,” said Marcellus, who puts about 10,000 miles a year on his Harley from his Liberal home. “A long time ago, you got a bike to go visit the bars. These days, we have a lot of meetings that end up at ice cream shops. We realized we like ice cream.”

Marbles, not mayhem

These days, Harley-Davidson couldn’t be more mainstream. Lawrence’s Harley dealership in North Lawrence sells cycles, but it also sells a variety of merchandise — everything from jeans to jackets, pool balls to pewter — to people who don’t have a bike but want a piece of the culture.

“I can’t say that it has become a yuppie thing,” said Herman Morris, who has been on top of bikes for the past 44 years. “But it’s damn close.”

Somewhere along the way, Harleys ceased to be a license to be a bad — well, let’s say apple — but instead became more of a Zen thing.

“I think for most folks it is about the solitude,” Morris said. “When you are on a bike, it is time to think and reflect about what is going on or the lack of what’s going on.”

That’s not to say that a Harley still isn’t a good calling card. Most Harley riders say they can’t fill up their tank without having someone come by to say hello.

“People just accept you when you’re on a bike,” said Lawrence Harley rider Pat Drake. “Even people you’ve never seen before. You ride into a group as a stranger, and you ride out as part of the crowd.”

And in the new world of Harley-Davidson — well, it’s new if you haven’t been paying attention — the rides can be to almost anywhere. At this weekend’s Lawrence rally, one of the more popular riding destinations is expected to be to Bonner Springs to visit the Moon Marble Co. to see how marbles are made.

Now that’s a whole new definition of an Easy Rider.

‘Motorcycle Alley’

Several Lawrence businesses are loving the new motorcycle movement. North Lawrence, in particular, is becoming a hub of activity with three major biker attractions along North Second and Third streets: Riverfront Harley-Davidson, Combs Custom Cycle, and Slow Ride, a biker bar and grill.

“It’s Motorcycle Alley” Lori Combs of Combs Custom Cycle said of North Lawrence’s main drag. “That’s what we call it now.”

Thus far, the economic downturn hasn’t killed the momentum the businesses began to build on over the last few years.

“In economic times like these, it is important to a lot of people to be able to go home and go to their motorcycles, have a release,” Combs said. “They’ll do anything to keep them.”

This week, Lawrence motels and merchants are expected to be the beneficiary of such loyalty.

“You can’t find a hotel this weekend in town,” said Anne Buhler Dillon, conventions marketing manager for the Lawrence Conventions and Visitors Bureau. “It is as full as it can get.”

Dillon said the rally is expected to generate the equivalent of 900 room nights for local hotels. At an average rate of about $90 per night, that’s a direct infusion of more than $80,000 into the local economy.

And Dillon said that doesn’t count the gas, the shopping or the drinks that the Harley riders will consume while in town.

Or all that ice cream.

Comments

KLATTU 5 years, 12 months ago

“I think for most folks it is about the solitude,”

Nope, for most folks it's about how loud your bikes are. Often painfully loud.

jumpin_catfish 5 years, 11 months ago

I'd prefer a Honda. Wanbee bad boys and girls.

trinity 5 years, 11 months ago

loud pipes save lives. honest. i love my Harley, but actually don't take part in all the HOG stuff. i'm sure those that do have a blast, though! ride safe, all of you! and drivers, PLEASE please be alert and aware of all the bikes that will be around this week&weekend!

trinity 5 years, 11 months ago

lol, "wanbee(sic)bad boys and girls"...most common misconception around. i, like so many other Harley riders, don't give a hoot about image; we just happen to love the motorcycles. i've spent way too long on this earth BEING bad; and that was totally without a motorcycle. now, i just like to ride, m'kay? :)

Jeremy Lichtenauer 5 years, 11 months ago

Saturday at 4:00 there is a Harley parade from the mall in north Lawrence (the closed strip mall) to the Gazebo park!

BigPrune 5 years, 11 months ago

Why do the ladies like riding on the back of a Harley?

katjok 5 years, 11 months ago

The ladies do not care if their behind is hanging off the back, they are enjoying the ride! No need to be a negative nancy!

Mary Darst 5 years, 11 months ago

Nothing better than the soft sound of a Harley!!!!1 I think some of you are a little jealous?

trinity 5 years, 11 months ago

i don't think anyone said that noise makes a good bike; what i'm saying is, that the rumble of the pipes makes otherwise negligent, cell-phone talking or texting car drivers look up for a change. and in the fwiw department-not all lady riders/bikers pack on the back-some of us have our own scoots.

jaywalker 5 years, 11 months ago

What's the difference between a Harley and a vacuum cleaner?
The dirtbag sits in a different place.

Just kiddin' Harley riders! They're beautiful machines.

repaste 5 years, 11 months ago

Like the bikes, don't understand why the noise ordinance does not apply to them. Some are way to loud, wake you up at 3 am 1 mile away . . .

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 5 years, 11 months ago

Welcome bikers! These people and the Ironman crowd will provide a much nicer boost to the economy than the Wakarusa Fest people. You see, bikers and athletes have money...hippies don't.

LadyJ 5 years, 11 months ago

I totally agree with Kam. The law enforcement expense is probably lower too.

gccs14r 5 years, 11 months ago

The loud is safer argument doesn't wash. All the sound is behind you, but most of the danger is in front of you. Besides, annoying exhaust noise is one of the reasons motorcycles are being banned from more and more places. Keep being loud and soon enough the only place you'll be able to ride is in your garage.

I'll be staying out of downtown. I want to keep my hearing.

begin60 5 years, 11 months ago

That's some discordant harmony you are talking about--it makes my brain hurt. Maybe it's good for the local economy, but it's hardly high culture.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 11 months ago

I have loved Harley's since the days when they did not have electrical starters and we used to ride down the California coast. The sound of a Harley is one of the most evocative in the world, next to an 18 wheeler starting up, and a train whistle at night. They are totally gorgeous rides and I always stop to gawk whenever I see one. I will be downtown on Saturday taking pictures. When I had a house there were two raccoons and one possum that would visit the back yard at night. The raccoons were Harley and Davidson and the possum was Willie G. I could tell you what Willie G. said about women and Harley's but I will let you guess for yourselves.

Statutory_Ape 5 years, 11 months ago

Loud pipes do not save lives. Loud pipes alienate the non-riding public and draw the attention of the police.

Good riding skills and training save lives. Appropriate safety apparel saves lives. Loud pipes... not so much.

gccs14r 5 years, 11 months ago

Yeah, but proper riding gear covers up the Lee Press-On Mullet (tm) and the water-soluble tats. :D

parlet 5 years, 11 months ago

Trinity: "loud pipes save lives. honest." What a load. Loud pipes attract attention--that's the only reason those leather-bound trolls ride those bikes.

mom_of_three 5 years, 11 months ago

I know several people who ride Harleys, and none of them could be considered a troll.

1moreopinion 5 years, 11 months ago

gccs14r (Anonymous) says…

Besides, annoying exhaust noise is one of the reasons motorcycles are being banned from more and more places. Keep being loud and soon enough the only place you'll be able to ride is in your garage.

1moreopinion says... I am curious as to where these bans are taking place. gccs14r can you provide more detail and statistics, cause I missed the info?

Also, I don't ride a Harley, but I do ride a 2007 Honda Shadow Aero, and it is chroamed out and beautiful. I can say that when I meet a Harley on the street, many of the riders will not even waste their time to wave a hello to me, but I am sure they would if I was riding a Harley. That doesn't bother me because I am proud of my bike whether they like it or not. There is stereotyping and profiling all over this world, but I will not do that. Instead, I will only tell it as I see it. No matter though, I respect ALL riders, because I know most of them are proud of their bike, regardless of the brand. Go bikers! Be safe.

KansasVoter 5 years, 11 months ago

trinity (Anonymous) says… "loud pipes save lives. honest."

No, staying off of motorcycles saves lives. Honest.

parlet 5 years, 11 months ago

  • What's the difference between a Harley and a vacuum cleaner?
  • The dirtbag sits in a different place.

And vacuum cleaners are useful.

gccs14r 5 years, 11 months ago

Just look up motorcycle bans. You should get a couple of million hits.

kmat 5 years, 11 months ago

From what I see all the time visiting that Harley dealership, these are wanna be bad asses that are really spoiled yuppies.

My uncle was actually in the Hell's Angels in CA in the 70's. Those were bad ass bikers!

I used to ride a crotch rocket. Harley riders treat anyone on anything other than a Harley as 2nd class.

The Harley dealership in town has some "real" motorcycles - Ducati's.

trinity 5 years, 11 months ago

lol, you people make me laugh. pull the sticks outta your butts and learn to live&enjoy life whether it be on a Harley, a skateboard, in a boat or car, or whatever. everybody's an authority, right? i can say that my pipes did save my butt in at least one instance where somebody (who i found was text messaging on a phone when i pulled up next to her) began to change lanes without looking&nearly clipped me-i had a feeling, so i blasted the throttle&she then decided maybe she ought to check her mirrors before changing lanes. anyway-it just sounds like there's too many of you peeps that don't do a whole lot other than post on the ljw comment section. crikies. how can you be so doggone right about so many subjects???

gccs14r 5 years, 11 months ago

So you admit to riding in someone's blind spot? That's not the smartest place to ride.

gccs14r 5 years, 11 months ago

For every air-cooled pushrod V-twin in town with stock pipes, there seems to be ten with open pipes. They don't bother to re-jet, either, or they go up five steps on the main and crank out the idle screw without bothering to hook up a WBO2 sensor to see if they're even close on the fuel curve, so it's even slower than it was stock and runs worse. And it's annoying. Especially downtown.

It's possible to have a nice exhaust tone without breaking windows and setting off car alarms. Motorcycling should be about riding, not about being the center of (bad) attention. Open pipes are the equivalent of a child's tantrum in a restaurant.

Yes, I'm familiar with "Hell's Orthodontists." That means they can afford a functioning exhaust and a professional engine tuning.

Reid Hollander 5 years, 11 months ago

I've ridden just about every brand and type of bike out there, from crotch rockets (Hayabusa) to a frame up custom chopper. I got a BMW 2 years ago (R1200 GS Adv.) and will never go back. The thought of what I have paid for a Harley name tag on bikes makes me sick to my stomach.

gccs14r 5 years, 11 months ago

"Hot cams, high compression heads and pistons, big-a&&ed S&S and straight through pipes are the way to go."

For half of what you'd spend on that S&S boat anchor you could put a turbo on a Hyabusa--not that you'd need to, since a bone-stock Hyabusa would flat spank that S&S, even with a spark plug missing. It's not 1920 any more.

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