Wild at Heart
Baby Boomers fuel the rise of motorcycle clubs
GREATER METROPLEX – Next time you see a posse of motorcycle riders passing you on Interstate 35, take a closer look. One of them might be your boss.
Despite a lingering stereotype that refuses to die, bikers are no longer rowdy tough guys looking for trouble. These days, your riding buddy is more likely to be your mortgage broker, a small-business owner or an engineer than the neighborhood bartender or grate monkey.
Several local clubs cater to baby boomers who long to take a walk on the wild side and feel the wind in their hair – what’s left of it, anyway.” I’ve ridden with doctors, pilots, policemen and managers of all kinds from their 30s to their 70s,” says Duane Fisher, a retired Federal Aviation Administration air traffic controller who has ridden motorcycles since he was 18.
“It’s not important whether you’re a blue- or a white-collar worker. When you get home you’ve forgotten about your job, seen a lot of country and had some good conversation,” he says.
…“Some of these people rode back in the ‘60s or ‘70s, got married, raised a family and have now come back to riding again,” says B.J. Melin, director of customer service with Apex Services and president of the local MTA chapter. “That element of bikers who used to deal in drugs and alcohol is long gone,” he says.
…Women bikers can join their own club, the Leatherchics, through the DFW chapter of Women on Wheels. The Leatherchics attract a cross-section of women, including managers, accountants, counselors – and even a nanny who takes a break from her charges to bike cross-country. “The biggest misconception people have about women who ride motorcycles is that we are all ‘motorcycle mommas,’” says chapter director Laura Himebaugh. “What we do have in common is the love of freedom that motorcycles offer – and that little bit of extra courage it sometimes takes to start riding.”
…These gentler motorcycle clubs will likely continue to attract members as boomers with disposable income seek out exciting hobbies, some say. “Twenty years ago everyone thought that motorcyclists were just ‘scooter trash.’ But that’s all changed now because almost everyone has a friendly neighbor who works nine to five and pulls their bike out to ride on the weekends,” Melin says.