TALLADEGA SCENIC HIGHWAY ON MT. CHEAHA ~ ALABAMA ~ photo taken by Dianna Stover
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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

IF I WERE IN CHARGE...

I posted a diary page yesterday about my feelings and thoughts on HOG sponsored events being a little too expensive for my pocket book. I figured it would draw some interesting comments, and it sure did! Be sure to take a look at them if you already haven't. A lot of other riders feel the same way I do, while at the same time, there are some who are involved with HOG and are having the time of their life! For those fellow riders, I say good for you! Obviously, you found what your looking for.

I also understand and agree that all chapters are not run the same, and I realize that the people can make the difference. I read a comment somewhere on a blog this past week (sorry to the author, I can't remember where I saw this) but, the subject was about Keith Wandell becoming Harley Davidson's new CEO. The author of the comment was referring to HD having Dealerships and Stealerships. He was hoping Mr. Wandell would come in and clean up the Stealerships and get them back to fair and honest business practices. I feel the same can be said about some local HOG chapters. I'm sure there are some that are great fun and keep things real for their members, while with others, the same mentality of the Stealerships comes out to play.

This brings me to today's post. I've been challenged to quit whining and do something. Since I'm one of those kind of people that do try to make a difference, I thought this might help. I plan to write a letter and submit it to our State HOG president, but let me share my thoughts.

I recognize that HOG membership brings many advantages for many riders. My only beef with HOG was how much it cost to attend their rally, so I'll direct my ideas toward that.

Most events and rallies I have attended have been in the $25 to $30 range for the whole weekend. This seems very reasonable to me. However, if you bring in high dollar entertainment and offer more premium activities, I can understand if the price needs to be a little higher. What I don't understand, is why a nice high dollar event can't be broken down so it would be more inviting to all. Having weekend passes are great, for those participating all weekend. If a person could only come for the day, it seems a bit costly for the amount of time spent.

It's simple... When you pay your way into an event, you get a wristband, so security and volunteers know who paid and who didn't, right? There's no reason why wristbands can't be color coded. Example: weekend band passes could be yellow. Friday could be green, Saturday; blue, and Sunday; orange, or whatever. The security staff would have no problem identifying those who paid for their way and those who didn't. This way, the event would probably have a much larger turnout each day, if riders were allowed to come and only pay for the time they want to spend. Even if you keep the weekend fee at $40.00, a day pass for $15.00 or even $20.00 would be more reasonable to spend for a day of motorcycle fun.

Imagine this... 500 riders chose not to go to the rally due to cost. Under the present rules, HOG wanted those 500 riders to pay the set rate of $40.00, which would have calculated to $20,000.00. That's a nice chunk of change! But, HOG didn't get that $20,000.00 because those 500 riders did not participate. Now let's say those same 500 riders decided to come for the day and buy a pass at $15.00. That's $7,500. Am I to believe that $7,500.00 is just chump change and not worth bothering with?

If the organization sets their price higher than the average rider feels is reasonable, it doesn't take a mental giant to realize, they're targeting only the upper echelon of income earners to participate. I feel that this tactic is very effective in controlling who comes to the event. Just don't belly ache to the rest of us, that this is not their real intention. The proof is in the pudding!

I am a National HOG member and will probably continue to be one. I like the benefits I receive with my membership, especially their two publications, H-D Enthusiast and HOG Tales that comes out every other month. I have yet to become a local HOG chapter member because frankly, I haven't seen a good enough reason yet, why I should join. I still have to live within my means, and unfortunately, becoming a local HOG member in my area, is just a little beyond my means. It would be nice to join up with a fun group of others who share my passion for riding, but I think I already have that.

I'm not trying to bash anybody here, I just wanted to speak out on how this made me feel. My hubby and I have two Harley habits to support and we love riding and going places. The rallies and other events are just a bonus. My passion is still where it belongs, and that's on the road, riding free and fast. Hell, being a rub would be great! I wouldn't have to worry about keeping a budget to pay bills. But I confess, I am a wannabe, cause I wannabe riding every chance I get!

I hope my idea will not fall on deaf ears, but only time will tell. Some day, if I were in charge...

Ride on
Lady R

14 comments:

Mr. Motorcycle said...

I hear ya, and agree.

Arizona Harley Dude said...

Lady R for my money you're preaching to the choir. But, they can blame it on the Hog Chapter all they want, but the Dealer is involved.

Breaking it into daily and weekend rates makes too much sense for most folks. Write that letter and ask several friends to sing itt also. Good Luck,

Mr. Motorcycle said...

Write the letter on internet, and e-mail it for petition signatures, or just use your blog, and comments. Maybe you will get more signatures via e-mail though.

Road Captain said...

I think you are on the right track Lady R. Your HOG Regional Manager is Arnie Beaman. The state rally committe which has to comprise of volunteers from at least two local chapters reports to Arnie. I would direct your letter to him regarding all your concerns. Work with your local HD dealer to get your letter to him, if you have any trouble I can forward your letter to him myself.
Chapter dues for a local HOG chapter is no more than $24 per year (it can not be more than that). For this small amount it is the responsibility of the local chapter to provide its members with rides and fun.
Please join your chapter and if they are not meeting your needs, jump into a leadership position and make things right.
The only other way to get change at a local chapter is to complain to the dealership. The HOG chapter answers to its sponsoring dealer (bottom line).
I would hate to think there really is a HOG chapter in Tennessee that cators to the rich.
As a HOG member you have the right to complain to the dealer, the regional manager and anyone at HOG. But please make sure you are giving your chapter a fair chance to meet your needs. Maybe if you joined you would find out it is completely different than you thought.

Baron's Life said...

LADY.R!
I am only going to say this once and only once only and hope the community backs me UP.
If you were in charge of HD..They would be a profitable organization today...!
Instead, they are figthing for a breath of fresh air just to keep alive... BROTHERS ANS SISTERS OUT THERE think about the HD PRES..and vote lADY.R!

Road Captain said...

Baby steps... first join the local HOG Chapter and make sure they are heading in the right direction.

"Joker" said...

I think you're doing just what you should do here. As much as I'd like to see you be able to join your local Chapter and have the sort of experiences I have here, I realize it's easier said than done.

I know that your husband doesn't particularly care for group riding, which must be a factor here. If you are content with your riding life as it is, but would just like to be able to attend a HOG rally for a day for $20 instead of $40, that's just fine in my book.

But, consider this.

If you do join your local Chapter, whether they seem "inviting" or not, it's only about $20 bucks for a year. You don't have to go to a single meeting if you don't want to. You can look at the events calendar, and just maybe, they'll be doing a ride you two may want to go on. If you do, you just might make some friends. If you do, it just might lead to more. If you don't...you'll never know.

Whatever you end up doing, I know you'll be riding and having fun the way you want to do it, which is really the bottom line. As much as I may enjoy my HOG experiences, I accept it's not the same everywhere, and not what every rider is looking for.

Goofy RC said...

I still feel noting but goofy. Is there something I can take for this?

KT Did said...

Hope the complaint works and gets passed around. Mr. Motorcycle might have the right idea. Then again, Road Captain says you might be great leadership...I agree. I just took off my chapter patch as I didn't renew. I am looking into a new local. I kept the National...seems the best for me.

Lady Ridesalot said...

Mr. M... I'm going to see what happens, but I'm not going to lose sleep over it, ya know?

AZDude... It's for that reason alone, I'm still reserved about "joining up and changing what's broke". The dealership that sponsors the local HOG chapter is one those stealerships I was talking about. We went 90 miles away to Dothan to buy hubby's Street Glide two years ago. Not only was the deal so much sweeter, the salesman here thought we were telling a fib on being able to get our bike at "that" price. Well, we did... and he didn't get the sale. I wanted to show that guy our bill of sale, but H took the high road an told me to leave it alone.

RC... Let me remind you I'm in Alabama, but I do appreciate your help with finding a name for me. As I said to AZ Dude, our local dealership needs a little "shaping up" themselves, so... we'll see.

Baron... your so funny! I appreciate your confidence in me, I really do, but I think I'll just stay right here and ride my Glide and try to play well with others. :)

Joker... For the most part, we both enjoy riding independently. I can't tell you how many times we've started out on a good ride with a planned destination, and ended up with three or four changes along the way. Sometimes, they end up being the best rides! I still like the spontaneous freedom to be able to do that.
You and RC have given me much more to ponder on, and I will keep my mind open. I promise! In the meantime, I'm going to keep the rubber to the road and try to have the time of my life. ;)

KT... I hear ya girl. I'll be a National HOG always, but I'm not sure how bad I care to be a local HOG. To each his own, and I'm still deciding.

Webster World said...

First off let us be truthful. The fact is there are 1%ers , RUB's , Yuppy's , Nerd's , women , Xers , well just about anyone that rides a motorcycle mopped and anything on two wheels. So what! As long as you are in the wind who cares. I go to events to enjoy whats going on. If everyone were to volunteer then there would be nothing to go to. I do volunteer at a men's shelter about once a month. As many have said not all HOG chapters are the same. I would not go to the Mi. events because of cost no day pass and the attitude. I at the time WAS a HOG member. But not after what the Mi. group became so arrogant. May be some day I'll join again but I'll have to hear better reports than what the past has been. From a man that just wants to ride and have a good time.

chessie said...

EXCELLENT
It reads with dignity and with restraint. It also has some math in it...which blew me off...I can't figure out how much my tax is in this state...sigh...

Anyway...I just think you should send it as it is to your HOG chapter, I would also send it registered...seems letters such as this tend to "not get delivered" or at least never see the light of day once who ever opens it sees it's a complaint.
You get em Lady...!

Lady Ridesalot said...

Webster... I have a fresh new attitude about all this after my recent weekend with my pals at the bikefest. My friend Darlin' summed it up nicely, "If your comfortable with who you are, and what you ride... nothing else matters".
Thanks Darlin'... I know you've always got my back! :)

Chessie... thanks for your support too. I'm going to offer up my suggestions, but I'm not ready to turn my world upside down over it. I'll keep myself in balance on the roads!

Baron's Life said...

Lady R... I'm pretty much of a lone rider..I like to have my horse to myself..Leone spaghetti cowboy Style...but you Lady R...you can control my ride any time you wish to...!
Cheers and keep on riding safely