Saturday, September 20, 2014

Key West Poker Run 2014

When one says "Bike Week" one could be forgiven for thinking this:

 But in point of fact it's this:
They started coming to town on Thursday, collecting entry forms from the Peterson Harley Davidson dealer's two outlets in Miami and as they come they stop at five separate locations to pick up cards to create a poker hand, hence the proper term "Poker Run."
Whoever arrives and plays the strongest hand tonight wins a Harley Street 500. Because this is a charity event you can buy extra  cards and play extra hands but the point of the thing is to get people riding up and down the Keys at a typically slow tourist time of the year.  Apparently they succeeded with the newspaper saying 10,000 motorcyclists are expected in town. Duval Street yesterday evening  didn't seem particularly packed compared to years past.
I don't know how you rate weather for a motorcycle ride but I'm okay with 90 degrees and humid though I would prefer crisp blue skies as I find the heavy cloudiness of recent days to be oppressive. With helmets not required in Florida, and a preference for pirate wear among most participants the Poker Run is a mostly slow speed breezy affair with loud exhausts and, upon arrival, not much riding. As you can see a well laden Harley is no match for sharp cornering, of which there is not much in the Keys or indeed in Florida:
It's not all Harley Davidsons, though what one does with a 200mph sport bike in the Florida Keys doesn't bear thinking about. He was happy to show off his Suzuki Hayabusa (Japanese for Falcon, the well known lethal bird of prey) with the extraordinary custom paint job.
 In my perverse way I enjoyed seeing Not Harleys lined up on Duval.

And one Italian Stallion, a Ducati Multistrada which I rarely get to see in the flesh. Wish I were taller... 
This is the traditional Poker Run participant, with his idea of a smile when I asked for one, alongside his decorated fuel tank. He is attaching the green ticket that entitles participants to park on Lower Duval for the weekend.
My favorite Harley Davidson, the short lived XR1200, retro styled and capable of cornering but not capable of carrying luggage. Unless you count the blonde perched cheerfully on the back.
 Bandana - check. Tattoos- check. Chicks -check. Now where's the beer?
Yamaha's cruiser by Star Motorcycles, the Bolt: a thousand cc entry level (!) retro cruiser designed to steal Harley customers.

Key West denizen enjoying the action. A few more clothes wouldn't hurt but the Southernmost City has a zany reputation to keep up.
 Impractical therefore not suitable for me. I'm sure its monstrous pricey too.
 Style? Balls? Cheek? I like this exhibitor:
 I have no idea what work of art lurks under the tarp but I like the little Pagsta chopper.

 A whole line of baggers, classic American touring machines factory equipped with saddlebags and deep plush laid back seating.
Once they were the preserve of Harleys, then Japanese manufacturers built "metric cruisers" bolting them together with millimeter sized nuts and bolts instead of American inches. And nowadays the Canadian Polaris has got strongly into the act by buying the fabled Indian marque seen below, more than $20,000 of retro beauty.
Or Polaris' futuristic offering from their Victory line, aping Harleys with sharp lines, stronger engines, less vibrations, bigger bags, lower price and miles less mystique or charisma than the Harleys...Motorcyclists are a perverse bunch I never tire of saying! 
 Ride this and break your back, immediately after you break your bank account:
Be still my fluttering heart! I used to race these two stroke 350cc Yamaha demons on my 350cc Italian four stroke V-twin. My Morini lost but that just increased my respect for these 1970s sport bikes from Japan. I wish this one had fenders and original exhausts, but I love the seat and the ace handlebars that I am now too old to ride comfortably. Bone spurs in my neck..!

 This lot were chillin' on Duval with extremely! Hard code poseur for my phone camera.
Everything was getting caught on film pixels for posterity.
Warm and muggy perhaps but not a bad place to hang out and relax, was Duval Street before work yesterday. Could have used a beer myself.