Saturday, September 15, 2012

Bike Week Key West 2012

I noticed a big orange sign in front of Boondocks, the Ramrod Key bar that welcomes people participating in the Poker Run from Miami. That was the hint that first gave me an inkling that this might be Bike Week once again. Then I started to spot elderly gentlemen promenading on the highway. Lots of them.

The Poker Run involves picking up a card at various establishments down the highway then playing them in Key West to win a hand and a prize. That's the ostensible reason for making the ride down the Keys in the deadest season of the year.

It's big business this time of year but not everyone enjoys the motorcycles, as these are mostly hardcore pirates with straight pipes which make a great deal of noise.

The routine is for the majority of the motorcycles get lined up on Lower Duval which is blocked off for them, and by Sunday they'll be leaving.

Key West is used to managing the flow and because this is the low low visitor season other traffic is light which is good for the motorcycles.

Nevertheless these big old cruisers seem to overwhelm some of their riders. This machine on William Street kept me idling in my car for quite a while while he blocked the narrow street trying to maneuver into a car-sized parking spot. My 500 pound Bonneville is like a toy compared to these monsters, and I don't envy them their bulk.

Even as the town fills up with thousands (20,000 the Chamber of Commerce hoped) of Harleys and a few other minor brands, the local fleet of hard working two wheelers claim a few dark corners for themselves.

There is quite a lot of free motorcycle parking around town, even away from Duval.

And parking is art and parcel of the main reason for gathering in Key West - standing around talking about motorcycles.

I like the "Biker..." signs that sprout everywhere. The term refers in the popular imagination to Marlon Brando, Steve McQueen and the Sons of Anarchy.

Not really this lot, wilting in the 85 degree humidity, poor dears.

Lots of gleaming chrome, no rust, no wear and tear on these Chariots of the Gods, thundering like Vulcan at his celestial forge.

The forces of Law and Order are on High Alert trying to keep speeding down and prevent bad driving practices. Very dreary for those of us who like to speed under the radar, just a little, on our way to work.

Locals ride appropriately as they know where the radar lurks.

I shall do my best to blend in as I commute this week. I shall take no pleasure in hearing at work how many "no eye protection" tickets the officers give out on the streets of Key West. I am just an'umble dispatcher and ride with a proper motorcycle endorsement, eye protection and valid tag. And I shan't be speeding either.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Anonymous said...

Straight unmufflered pipes speaks loudly about the so-called individual freedoms the US espouses.Ditto the areas which seem to encourage no helmets.

Even here in Canada, unmufflered motorcycles seem to be the norm, for both Hogs and metric machines. And then there are the crotch rockets with noisy yet apprently legal exhaust system. My goldwing was so quiet often I could ride up beside a car and the engine in the car was noisier than the exhaust on the Goldwing. Those days are long gone, for me and suspect for those who wish such
noises could be silenced of these days we'll all be deaf to noises, and a ward of the state.

Conchscooter said...

I like a quiet ride do my mufflers are factory silenced. bit I. in the minority. a major reason I am buying the Vespa is to reduce the rate at which i am piling up the miles on my beloved Bonneville. a quiet bike is a rideable bike. I wish you could still ride.