July 12, 2015
This week, Bikers from all over the country descended on Gettysburg, a historic town known as the site of the American Civil War and the place, where Abraham Lincoln delivered his immortal Gettysburg Address. The events, which began July 9 and ends the 12th, kicked off with the town’s Mayor William E. Troxell, welcoming Bikers back to Gettysburg for the annual Bike Week.
This year’s events is taking place at a time when public opinions about bikers are mixed in the wake of recent isolated incidents in Waco, Texas in which a conflict between the Bandidos and Cossacks, led to the unfortunate shooting deaths of nine bikers by the police.
The arrival of bikers to Gettysburg this week and the opportunity the town’s people had to meet face-to-face with some of the nation’s finest riders, may have done much to shed a positive light on people’s perception of bikers in general.
Perhaps, the close contact with Gettysburg residents and businesses, would make many realize why it is unwise to assume all bikers are the same until one meets and share conversations with a member of the group. The idea that you never judge a person based on other’s perception until you meet and hear what he has to say must be applied in dealing with our nation’s bikers.
Among this year’s riders are Sheena Marie Evans and Tom Evans, a couple from Reading PA, whom I hosted for the Annual Bike Week. The experience began with a text from Sheena in which she indicated the couple would like to stay at my resident for the Annual Bike Week. I was not pushed back knowing both are riders but was captivated by Sheena’s honesty and her sincere explanations of the purpose of their visit.
I bonded with Sheena and Tom the moment both walked through the door. Sheena was happy to show me her new bike and the pinkish tattoos on the Harley Davidson, which she got as a gift from Tom. Soon the conversation was about life in general and our personal experiences as we talked none stop over dinner.
Tom narrated how once, while on a ride he came across a woman stranded alone on the side of a quiet road with a flat tire. Unfamiliar with how to change a wheel, she was scared and nervous as other vehicles passed by and no one stopped to offer help. Tom pulled his bike by the side of the road, helped change the flat tire and soon she was back on the road again.
Same evening, I decided to take a stroll downtown Gettysburg to watch the events and was moved by how the bikers conducted themselves in a respectable and orderly manner. They are riders who just want to enjoy the moment and show their bikes for people to see. The roaring effects of the bikes that some consider disturbing, became an amusing part of the events as people wait to hear, which bike makes the most sound.
Businesses throughout Gettysburg especially on Baltimore street and Steinwehr Avenue, are experiencing unprecedented boom during the Bike Week, as bars, restaurants and souvenir shops see an increase in customer flow. Tourism, a major income generator for the town is also reaping from a sharp increase of visitors, with the arrival of Bikers to Gettysburg.
With no unfortunate incident recorded during the Bike Week, one can only say the bikers at this year’s events have done their part to portray the group positively. They brought revenue for businesses and amusement to a town some consider too quiet. As I watched Sheena and Tom depart for Reading, I can only say bikers are nice and not what you think.