I don’t get the biker thing.
And yes, I’ve owned motorcycles.
Not Harley hogs or those zoom machines where you lay flat on the gas tank, I rode… Oh, I’ll just admit it; yeah, I rode rice burners.
I thoroughly enjoy straddling a two-wheel rocket, the thrill of cornering, the exhilaration of wind in my face.
But, I never felt the urge to wear a black leather vest or a bandana, get a tattoo, rev the throttle at every stoplight, drink massive amounts of beer, listen to Lita Ford or Puddle of Mudd (C’mon, admit it, you can’t name two by either artist), or putt-putt through downtown at 2 mph.
To me, motorcycle riding was about the open road, independence, being carefree and spontaneous — a solitary pursuit, or an adventure to share with a close friend or two.
I never felt like motoring to a rally or festival or fest. After all, owning a motorbike is about the journey, not the destination.
I’m not tipping over the bike of anyone who feels differently. I’m just trying to explain why I didn’t mind seeing Bikefest roar out of town.
I don’t like crowds, loud noises, bikini contests or $5 parking spots, so Bikefest doesn’t trip my kickstand.
Plus, I don’t understand the pack mentality. I associate motorcycles with individuals — James Dean, Buddy Holly, Hunter S. Thompson, Burl Ives, Elvis Presley, Nicholas Cage, Bob Dylan, Ann Margaret, Keanu Reeves, Liam Neeson, Steve McQueen, Brian Setzer, Angelina Jolie, Bon Scott, Pink.
And, I associate motorcycles with riding, not parking along Main Street and trying to dress like 1,000 riders I wouldn’t know from Evel Knievel.
But, that’s just me.
I can’t, and won’t, knock an event that raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for dozens of worthwhile organizations. Bikefest is very, very good for Leesburg and Lake County. And it seems to bring everyone together, bikers and nonbikers.
Bikefest is not my crankcase of Castrol, but everyone else seems to love it.
I’m probably the only guy in Lake County who wishes we’d bring back the Watermelon Festival.
That event seemed more representative of Lake County’s rural, conservative nature. It certainly was more family-oriented. Then again, there are a million things for families to do here, so what’s the harm of having one very adult event each year.
Maybe I’m just pining for the old days. Or maybe I need to get another bike… and a wardrobe change.
Or maybe I should just slice into a watermelon. They are a lot quieter than tailpipes.