Bikers, bikers, everywhere ...
August 20, 2005 7:09 PM   Subscribe

Today, while driving south on I-95 though Maryland, I passed a motorcade of hundreds (thousands?) of motorcycles, heading north on 95. It was several miles long, and was jaw-droppingly impressive. Who were they?

Some details: The motorcade was preceded by roughly 40-60 motorcycle cops, with lights going. At first, I assumed it was either the presidential motorcade or a funeral procession for a police officer. But then hundreds and hundreds (or, as I said, thousands?) of bikes followed. As far as I could tell, they stayed in the left-most (fast) lane, and rode roughly in pairs (not military precision, just partnered up). I noticed the bikes passed through a toll plaza without having to stop to pay the toll. At the very end of the procession was an ambulance, a fire truck, and maybe some police cars. These vehicles were positioned as to block all but one lane of traffic, and there were miles of backed-up cars behind them. Cars would pass by in the right-most (slow) lane, then pass by the motorcycles. There might have been some gear trucks at the back also, but almost all of the riders looked like they were simply out for a day ride. No panniers, not many touring bikes. All looked like Harleys or similar models (not Kawasaki Ninjas or what-have-you).

Having grown up in DC, I'm aware of Rolling Thunder, but it isn't Memorial Day weekend. Besides, there wasn't much in the way of POW/MIA ornamentation (some flags, but nothing that screamed "remembering veterans").

I also know that the Sturgis festival happened last week, but I doubt this was related, and that was in South Dakota. There were some local variations of Sturgis, but, again, that was last week.

I looked at the Baltimore Harley Owners' Group page and calendar, but those don't seem to mention anything.

I'm not a "motorcycle guy," and I wouldn't normally be so curious about it. But there were SO MANY MOTORCYCLES, my curiosity was piqued. Any ideas or, especially, newspaper articles would be much appreciated.
posted by Alt F4 to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total)
According to this site, it's the weekend of the 3rd Annual National Fallen Biker Memorial Weekend & Run, and one of the highlights is a 100 mile police-escorted ride through 5 counties.
posted by iconomy at 7:16 PM on August 20, 2005

Best answer: Fifth annual America's 9/11 Ride
posted by ootsocsid at 7:16 PM on August 20, 2005

I'm kinda at a loss as to why people think that driving a large # of vehicles doth a statement make. I guess people do notice, though, based on your reaction, so you've kinda answered your own question. Sometimes I see large #s of antique vehicles and such in procession down the highway, presumably just for the joy of sharing a common interest among an in-group and showing it off to everyone else. If you can tie that to an issue of some kind you've got 2 raisons d'etre.
posted by scarabic at 11:52 PM on August 20, 2005

Obviously people notice. It has some sort of impact. We did start this thread didn't we?
posted by Mroz at 12:35 AM on August 21, 2005

If you can tie that to an issue of some kind you've got 2 raisons d'etre.

The same psychology is visible in amateur athletics. Almost every triathlon, 5K, 10K, 5-miler, marathon, etc., is a fundraiser for some sort of cause. But heaven knows we would race anyway; having the cause just lets us add meaning and feel good (and get a tax deduction). I can't be sure, but it would seem that perhaps these bike groups do some fundraising, too?
posted by Miko at 8:05 AM on August 21, 2005

I live near a small town called Sturgis in Mississippi and their "sister bike rally" just ended, those guys and gals are awesome on the tip leaving.
posted by nile_red at 10:10 AM on August 21, 2005

Response by poster: ootsocsid has it. From that article (second link), "Sjurseth said more riders join the group at each stop. She expected a large number of bikers to join in Washington, D.C. The number of participants could climb to as many as 1,400, she said. The motorcycles formed a 10-mile line on Friday while traveling eastbound on Interstate 70."


"America's 9/11 Ride Foundation Inc. began in November 2001. Sjurseth said her brother-in-law, Ted Sjurseth, wanted to help New York City after the terrorist attacks. He was told manpower was not needed. What the city needed was for tourists to return, she said. 'They just told him to please bring people back,' Sjurseth said."

Although Iconomy's link is for this weekend also, it looks like their main ride is today (Sunday). And I can't imagine they'd be able to rally quite as many people. Nevertheless, thanks for that link.

Thanks, all, for your help with that. It was a really impressive statement.
posted by Alt F4 at 11:42 AM on August 21, 2005

When you think about, it's really no more or less logical than a foot-powered march on Washington.
posted by Miko at 12:07 PM on August 21, 2005

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