My Motorcycle Gang, The Prairie Dogs, Dickinson, North Dakota Part I

I grew up in the 1970s just south of Daytona Beach. Things were different in the 1970s. People drank as much alcohol as they wanted, as often as they wanted, and regarded law enforcement as not having any business interfering with their drinking. Many men had been over in Vietnam, had been immersed in military order, discipline, and killing people daily. A civilian police officer was not someone they were frightened of, or someone they wanted to listen to very much. For many veterans who just got back, complying with law enforcement was something they did voluntarily, because they could have just as easily killed a single police officer or two if they were attempting to arrest them.

There were bikers around Daytona Beach throughout the year, and thousands of bikers before, during, and after bike week. Most of the bikers were poor, many of them were recently returned from Vietnam. Many bikers liked to stay at the campground, because it was the cheapest place to stay. The bikers didn’t try to go to upscale restaurants, they preferred to go to hole-in-the-wall biker bars.

My recollection is, that the bikers back in the 1970s did not go looking for trouble. They especially did not bother children, moms, or parents with children. I think that they went out of their way not to frighten kids, moms, and parents. However, if a restaurant owner or a waitress ever insulted a biker, their restaurant would likely be burned down after it closed that night. There was a restaurant in Daytona, I believe it was called The Raw Bar, that got burned down two years in a row because a waitress was shitty to a biker.

Back then, most of the Bike Week bikers had Harley Davidsons, second most popular was probably Triumph, there were probably some BMWs and BSAs. Throughout the year, bikers just rode what they could afford, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha. Bikers wore what they normally wore, jeans, boots, T-shirt, maybe a denim jacket, not a lot of leather. My father had a small Suzuki, a Triumph chopper, an AMF Harley Sportster, and a Honda XL 185. I had a small Suzuki enduro, and a Kawasaki KX.

It wasn’t until the 1980s that there came to be the “Costume Party Bikers”. I think that one of the first signs that Harley Davidsons were becoming glamorous was when Rocky Balboa had one in the movie Rocky II. I didn’t like it when the accountants, dentists, and attorneys started dressing all in leather like they were going to some Sadists & Masochist sex party, trying to pretend to be bikers. Since the early 1900s, bikers were just bikers, they rode what they had, and they wore what they had. The yuppies were turning Bike Week into a Halloween costume party. I felt like it was non-Muslims going to Mecca, and I don’t know why the bikers put up with it. The only reason that I can think of, is that the bikers thought they could get these fantasizing yuppy women away from their husbands for a while.

Continuing to this day, I think that most bikers are pretend bikers. Good weather bikers, their $15,000 motorcycle sitting in the garage 355 days each year. Their $15,000 1100cc motorcycle sitting in their garage for 355 days each year, and they feel the strong desire to trade it in for a 1300cc motorcycle. Hey, you can go buy a new 300cc Kawasaki Ninja that will go 113 mph, for $5,700. Ohh, but it vibrates at 8,000 rpm. Yes, it should vibrate at 8,000 rpm, good, get used to it.

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