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Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Dear Diary... a glimpse into the pages of a journal written by a woman rider.

April 15, 2009

Dear Diary,

I have such a rant today! I really do try to play well with others, but sometimes I think I'm better off if I just don't give a sh*t. Problem is, that's really not my nature.

I was pretty excited to learn that the Alabama State HOG Rally was going to be here, in Montgomery this year. This would mean we can participate in some of the rally activities without traveling somewhere else, and we don't have to pay for a place to stay. The Faunsdale Bike Rally and Crawfish Festival over near Forkland was going on this weekend also, so we had lots of activities to chose from. Me... I wanted to do it all and I was looking forward to a busy fun weekend.

We figured we would spend some time Friday afternoon out at the Montgomery Motor Sports Park, the venue where HOG was planning to have the Bike show and hold some biker games. I always have a good time watching these, so I went to the Harley Davidson Dealership today to inquire about getting H and I a couple of day passes for Friday.

They pointed to the nice gentleman in charge of the rally wristbands and once he realized what I was there for, he told me, "Okay, that'll be $80.00 for the two of you." WTF??? "$40.00 seems kind of steep for just a day!", I responded. He went on to inform me that, that price was for the whole weekend. When I asked again, about just paying for a day, he explained that the HOG chapter at the State level dictates the rally fees and they were selling weekend passes only.

He also proceeded to tell me a nice little story of another biker, who was giving a chapter member a hard time about the admittance fees for another Hog sponsored rally, and she promptly told that biker, "Maybe this just isn't for you." I stood surprised for a moment, because he delivered this tale with the best "if the shoe fits" attitude he could muster. I love my service guys here and some of the staff and I are pals, so I didn't want to show my ass. I just smiled and said, "I guess your right, this may not be for me." I don't think H nor I can rationalize spending $80.00 for just a few hours of fun, even if it is motorcycle related.

I left there feeling just a little snubbed. It seems to be more and more obvious lately that HOG is focusing their attention on high dollar events. When I recounted my conversation with my friend, Bogus, his response was, "You should have told him, to put on their fliers next time that this is a RUB HOG Event, so we regular bikers know it's not for us!" I also asked a few others around here what they're take on it was, and I kept running into the same thing... "costs too much!"

I'm really disappointed that I will not be participating at all in the Alabama state HOG Rally this year. I was looking forward to getting some great pics and writing on my blog about all the cool happenings, but I'm afraid HOG's admission fees are just a little to steep for me. This poor girl will have to do the next best thing, and that's RIDE her motorcycle.

I may not be a HOG, but I'm still a HO!


GYMONR said...

Wow, sorry about the Rally…but take a long ride anyway…because is it not ridding really what it’s all about anyway.
Big Al

ratone said...

Well that sucked..it seems everything motorcycle related has went to the all mighty dollar..The weekend warriors are taking over and in do so they lose the true meaning of riding, the wind..I went as a guest to a local hog run and one of the members on his 4 year old 3000 mile road king let me know that old bikes were not really part of what they do..so just what is it that they do??? Just like you I left them to the cake and ice cream and went riding..

Ann said...

Ridiculous. Your friend Bogus has it right, though. Apparently they don't want real bikers at their rallies. I say fuck 'em. Let's ride. ;)

Dean "D-Day" said...

I've been a defender of HOG for a while now but when they do stuff like this, it gets harder for me to defend them. I used to defend them because, as someone who didn't grow up around motor-heads, it gave me the opportunity to meet others who like to ride. Unfortunately, the money thing has come in and the cliques have started and I've started feeling like an outsider in my group. I'm sure a lot of it depends on the state leadership and individual chapters so I hate to characterize all HOG chapters the same.

Some of this will stop in the future as the motorcycle "fad" is about over now. The numbers are down in Sturgis and other rallies are just being cancelled. Pretty soon it won't be "hip" any more and only the faithful will remain once again. Then you should see prices come back into line in order to compete for the limited dollars.

"Joker" said...

I hear you loud and clear.

I'm not so much a big proponent of HOG as I am of my own Chapter. HOG is such a huge organization that it can't possibly be the same everywhere because of what Dean said: the influences of different people at the State and local level. Last year, my Chapter boycotted our State rally because a new regional Director came in, acted like Hitler, and completely f**ked it up! Imagine having the host hotel being too small to accommodate everyone, and there not being any other hotels nearby? You know any bikers who want to get on a "shuttle bus?" It was a friggin disaster.

Blackstone not being there was noticed and sent a very loud message. The jackhole head-HOG, or whatever the hell his title is, actually attended one of our meetings to find out what our gripes were and we lit him up. It wasn't pretty! Our voices were heard though, and this year's rally seems much more well planned with the BIKERS needs in mind. I won't be going though, as it conflicts w/Sturgis.

I never really thought about free riders being interested in attending the rally to be honest with you. To my knowledge it is designed as an "all weekend" type event, but I don't think it would kill them to sell day passes too, but I'm just as much at the mercy of the assholes in charge as you are. If you and H are members of National HOG, I think you should write the MoCo a letter and state your case. They may actually listen to you.

Bottom line though, the general concept of HOG is a great one, to give owners of Harleys a way to hook up with each other so they can ride. I suppose like anything else, there'll always be trade- offs like price gouging, cliques, etc. RUBS? We have some, but we don't care because they're never around. Most of us ride hard all season, and have a great time doing it. Ann was just out here and I took her on a ride with us; she'll tell ya!

Webster World said...

All I've read sounds very true. We here in Mi. HAD one of the biggest HOG rallies in the country. And it got so over priced folks stopped going. It was cancelled and I heard will be back this year. It got to be like $150 something. NO day passes. Now they had big name bands and all the norms that go with such an event. But the cost and the attitude drove people off even drove off HOG chapters. Well as we all know our monies are welcome at other venues. I think the crawfish one sounds a lot better anyway. I love crewfish...and beer of course.

Steve said...

The real question is why anyone would pay $40.00 to hang out with RUBs.

B.B. said...

I'm sorry for your disappointment, but I know you...and you and Harley will make up for it!

Darlin' said...

Did the $40 per person include camping? probably not huh? (wink wink) anyway, true to form they've created what they want more than what it should be. Hope you made it to Faunsdale, it's a MUCH better time anyway, those HOG wanna-be's just think they know what a good time is. Fun can't be bought it's made and we gonna have the fun meter pegged this weekend. may go over Thursday w/ Big Ed, y'all have a safe ride down and we'll see ya soon!!!

FLHX_Dave said...

Hahahahah! F' that. This is why the old school dudes are getting pissed. I'm gettin' old school now and I'm getting pissed.

I refuse to be a part of HOG. I have alot of good reasons for this. This is why I take off solo most of the time. I like to ride, that's it. I know very, very few riders who actually like to ride. They are into it to be seen as a bad-ass and that's about it. Where is the spirit? Where is the love of the ride? The best events I have ever been to almost cost me nothing. It was all about just hanging out and being yourself and just hitt'in the road.

DDay has got it right. Riders will be riders, from the beginning to the end.

Sorry that you had a bad experience. I don't do HOG sponsored anything anymore. They just vex my spirit. I show up to a HOG event and all I get is hard stares, pfffttt. 81, Top Hatters, Patriots and freak'in "outlaw" M/C's give me more respect than the average HOG member. Makes you kinda wonder huh? Sometimes people just try too damned hard.

Sorry so long, just got a little angry. "Maybe this isn't for you, but this...(swack!)...was tailor made for just for you!"

FLHX_Dave said...

Oh, shut up...you know what I meant.

HOG Road Captain said...

Sorry about the steep HOG rally fee in your state Lady R but I have to defend HOG and educate your readers.
Local HOG chapters are 100% volunteer organizations. State HOG Rallys are organized by volunteers that step up to the challenge of organizing these intimidating events. They even have to take time off from work to get rally training. Unfortunately getting smart talented bikers to give up their time is not an easy thing to do. Almost impossible. Are you willing to do it? Probably not. The state rally is only as good as the volunteers that organize it.
I say if you're not part of the solution, get out of the way.
I for one am not one to bitch, complain or put down my fellow bikers using terms like RUB and Wannabe. These are terms for people with low self esteem that feel better by putting others down. I am putting my money where my mouth is! I am volunteering to be on the 2010 Delaware & Maryland State Rally committee. I would also like to point out our 2009 HOG State Rally is sensitive to the current economy and consists of an a la carte menu. You don't have to buy the t-shirt if you don't want it.
HOG is an equal opportunity organization that welcomes anyone that owns a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. It exists for the pure purpose of riding and having fun. Our mission is to provide our members with fun and adventure. As far as I'm concerned it's the best thing ever invented and one of the best things that ever happened to me.
I am aware that there are problems. Each chapter is different and is as unique as its sponsoring dealer. I can't help that. I can promise you if you visit First State Chapter you'll be welcomed with open arms.
If you don't like something, maybe you should step up and fix it. The world will be a better place if the smart people like us get out there and lead the way. Hopefully the complainers will stay home.

Baron's Life said...

you're the best girl...true, genuine and down to earth...the rest of us are tryingto say something smart and look good,,,ending up looking noting but goofy
You want the real answer...look at the answer Steve left down below...!

chessie said...

I'm a bit late leaving a word here, but all the same I would like to.

Back in 1979, before HOG was HOG, it was Harley Dresser Club. I was one of the founding members in our area of Melbourne in Florida. (I still have my alum. embossed card I was member number 6.) Back then, it really wasn't discriminatory, we admitted everyone who bought a Harley from us (I worked for the dealer,. Back then it was a fun and excellent way to ride with like minded people...or new HD owners to meet others who were more experienced and able to mentor the newbie.) Thing is, it wasn't until MoCo decided to take over our little club, rename it HOG by 1980...that it became snubby. I left quickly. I couldn't abide by the new rules of snobbery, or the heavy new admission dues....it didn't make sense to me then, it still don't today. I have attended HOG events in a journalistic nature. In other words, I was invited to attend as a guest, no admission charges...I cant afford to pay for the prices they charge to attend a weekend affair like these...not all of us have incomes ranging near 100k...You know, sometimes people are made to feel as if they don't "belong" to the HD family...and that's just not right. I'm at a loss as to why things changed way back when with the MoCo...except to say that's the time the Davidson Family regained control of the company...could it be? I don't know...

Noting But Goofy RC said...

I feel noting but goofy. Must be from hanging out with goofy RUBs at HOG all the time.

dave said...

well a lot of you seem upset because these rallies and these clubs, be they HOG, inlaw or outlaw don't help you portray the image you want. How about you/me just skip the clubs, find some friends (or not) and RIDE. ride to work, ride to the store, ride to the movies but RIDE!!! but if a real biker has to ride a Harley, be a bad-ass and generally try to make others think they are better than the general public maybe it is time for all these events to go away.
I suspect that Dan Bateman up in Oregon is more biker than 99% of us will ever be, but I don't think he fits the mold of "real biker" being discussed here.

Mr. Motorcycle said...

I think there is some good in HOG, but I don't think it has to be the HOG organization specifically to do the good things that rider groups can offer. I think in today's times, HOG is just a ploy for HD to "get in on some more money making" by tying their name and control into the organization. I don't belong to HOG, even though I own a Harley, because I just don't want to pay dues. I ride for free. (excluding all the money spent on the bike, gear, and fuel). You don't need to belong to an organization to meet other people who want to ride. Just get out there and ride, and they'll find you.

"Joker" said...

I just want to add a few more things here after reading some more responses.

First, to Steve. I've been reading your blog for a while and have gotten the impression you're a pretty good guy. Because it's easy to take texted commentary the wrong way, I'd like to think you were joking with your comment here. If you were not, then your stock as a biker just went down a few points. I am about as far from a RUB as you can get, and that goes for most of the HOG members I know. RUBS don't ride thousands of miles a year and have the closeness some of us do. If you don't care for HOG, that's fine, but I take offense to anyone who labels an entire group of people in that way. If you were joking, then fine.

Second: To all. If you own a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, and if you do not have a separate road service plan that covers your bike, then quite frankly you are a fool not to take advantage of national HOG membership. The $45 bucks a year you pay includes a free tow, and if you ever have to use it, not only did you just get your membership fee for that year back, you just got the next year or maybe two or three free as well. That coverage has saved my ass and the asses of a few of my friends a few times. You don't have to wear the patch, you don't have to join a local Chapter, you don't even have to tell anyone if HOG membership would embarrass you so much.

All I can say is when you're sitting at the side of the road one day far from home in the middle of nowhere, I hope you remember my words. When you get the $150+ tow charge, I hope you feel like a jackass.

If your response to this is "I don't need HOG's free tow, I'm never far enough away from home that I can't call my buddy with his truck," then guess who the RUB is??

HOG Director and RC said...

It is important that everyone find the right path for themselves wether it be ABATE, BACA, HOG an MC or the way of the lone wolf... but putting other bikers down should not be the biker way. It should be about respect.
I am the Director of a great HOG Chapter. I just took two days of intensive officer training with 750 other HOG officers. Many of the perceptions here are misguided... however I will agree that many HOG Chapters are not working the way they should. Finding good leadership, having the right people take the lead, is key to this volunteer organization. Unfortunately good authentic genuine intelligent leaders don't grow on trees.
Please stop the negativity, welcome diversity, show the world that bikers are the best form of human beings they ever met. Just ride and have fun! That's what it's all about!

chessie said...

To Joker, Hog Road Cap.,and Hog Director...
You've given me food for thought. Yeah, I've forgotten how these HOG chapters are run by volunteers...and as it is in any organization, how well something runs, how well your treated, how the benefits you are to receive are actually a benefit to you when you need them...all rests on the efforts or the lack of effort from your local chapter.

I often forget HOG is more than the yearly parties I am asked to attend. I do have to ask you though...if one joins HOG with a HD that is older than 15 years...will they be accepted everywhere they go for some of the befits stated they will receive?

MY local HD shop declares they won't work on bikes older than 15 yrs. Many shops have that policy. Now my local shop will work on mine, they know me...they like me, and they like my bike...BUT...will HOG guarantee that every HD shop in the country will treat me as well?

OK I know they can't...I'm not an unreasonable person, but now perhaps there needs to be some kind of an understanding why those of us who ride older bikes see HOG and the dealer as something that needs to be watched closely?....

Again, I see the HOG in a better, clearer light today because of your posts, and I have to admit it must be an almost thankless job to volunteer to run for posts within the hierarchy of the org.

My hat is off the to the guys and gals who work hard and long for the benefit of all HD riders. It wouldn't be so with your efforts to educate me and the rest of us.

So now when I see you guys, I'll have a deeper understanding and respect for what it is you are doing within the structures your given in the HOG Chapters.

Two Buck said...

I think HOG is like any group -- you like some parts, don't like others, cliques eventually form, and politics always screws things up. In my opinion, it's primarily a marketing strategy for the MoCo that has the accidental side benefit of being a fun thing for the people who are into it -- and there's nothing wrong with some corporate greed doing a good thing along the way.

I was a HOG member for my first year on a HD since it came free with the bike, and I went on a few rides with my local chapter and went to a few meetings. When the Safety Officer asked for volunteers to take over as Safety Officer from him I was one of the few people to step up -- and he blew me and my years of riding experience off because "You have to be a HOG member for a year first." That was it for me with HOG.

My MC is my roadside assistance plan now. I get lifetime membership in exchange for a lifetime commitment, with all the riding and partying I can stand, anytime/anywhere help -- and all the cliques and politics you'd ever get in HOG.

Sigh... I guess nothing's perfect.

Mr. Motorcycle said...

Joker, I think you have some really good points here, and have listed some of the Pros to joining a HOG chapter. I know from reading your posts, that you clearly belong to one of the best HOG chapters out there. You are a lucky dude in that respect. You are getting out of it, what it was meant to be, not just some business deal. Thanks for sharing the good sides with us.

mq01 said...

hmmm, LadyR, its unfortunate, but I share your feelings. guess i should blog about my hog experiences sometime...there have been quite a few... great post, you sure did get a bunch of great feedback :)

Lady Ridesalot said...

Big Al... We did ride! We put almost 300 miles on the bike Saturday. I had a great time after all. I'm not one to sit around an pout!!

ratone... I love old bikes! Not everybody can ride around on a nice shiny new one, but I don't think everybody necessarily wants to. But, the comment thrown your way, is exactly why a lot of regular Joes don't join. "I left them to the cake and ice cream and went riding." LOL! ME TOO!!!!

Ann... We are headed out to Holt for the Bike Fest this Friday. It will be REAL and fun!
I missed you! Glad your back. Give yourself a big hug from me!

Dean... I've always thought it would be cool to be a part of our HOG chapter, but truth is... I'm not sure I'm ready to throw myself into the social/political game. I would rather be riding anyway! And I don't have trouble making friends on my own. ;)

Joker... Your lucky to have a chapter that seems to be what many riders are looking for. Unity and brotherhood with good people.
I laughed at your boycott story. "shuttle bus for bikers" LOL! Pretty absurd. Some of the ones I know... well, let's just not go there!! LOL! Your boycott obviously made an impression. Good for you.
Reading your stories are part of what kept me interested in HOG. You related to us how much your chapter means to you and that spoke volumes. Unfortunately, it's not the same everywhere. I guess you'll have that!
On your second comment, I'm glad you brought to everyone's attention the good points of being a HOG member.
BTW... AAA is also a great travel club. We've been members for over 15 years and we've gotten out of many pickles with AAA behind us. They cover the bikes as well as our cages. Roadside service and towing is a definite must for bikers who travel. It can be a real trip saver!

Webster... You betcha... Crawfish and beer. We went riding that Saturday, but aborted our "plan B" destination. The closer we got to the festival and Faunsdale, the weather was getting ugly, so we turned in another direction and just rode more. Again, I was briefly miffed that my plan was thwarted again, but the next 280 miles erased any disappointment I may have had. We ended up having a great ride. For me, that's what mattered most.

Steve... Cause hopefully, they weren't all RUBs. Besides, I can play well with most folks, until you step on my toes! GRRRR! Then you better watch out, cause I can get my bitch on!

B.B... Yep, you know us, and we did! Believe me, this wasn't the first time someone shit in my Wheaties! LOL!

Darlin... We had to abort Faunsdale, because it looked like it was storming pretty hard the closer we got. You know Harley, "I ain't fucking riding in the rain!" We ended up having a great ride anyway, but we found out from someone who was at the Crawfish Festival (which was right near Faunsdale), it rained for just a little bit, then cleared up and was beautiful! Hrummpphh! I'll kick his butt later. LOL!
Looking forward to Holt! Been busy, busy, trying to get it all together. Can't wait to see ya'll!

Dave... Your like me, and can totally get into the spirit of a good ride. I can tell by your stories, and that's the kind of rider I enjoy being associated with. Our conversations center around what we see and feel while riding, not how many folks can we screw at our next event. Okay... that was a low blow. But, sometimes, you have to call a spade a spade. Ride on my soul brother!

HOG RC... you and Mrs. RC were on my mind while I wrote this post. I knew I was going to strike a cord here, but I want you to know something. Reading your blog and hearing you refer to your HOG chapter is one of the reasons why I wanted to be a part of it. Your excitement was infectious and I'm always ready to meet new friends to ride with. The problem is, not everyone's local chapter is as welcoming.
To tell you the truth, I would much rather move on and enjoy what I do, and quite worrying about it. I don't have problems making friends on my own, and I do have a great bunch of pals I already ride with. (when we can all get together, that is) So my point here, is... the fact that I may or may not be a HOG chapter member will not inhibit my ability to enjoy being a biker. I tend to march to my own drummer anyway, and I just thought HOG membership would be a nice bonus, but certainly not worth losing any sleep over.
Sorry, if I still sound negative, but, because you challenged me, I will try to get my idea heard about rally costs. That was my only beef to begin with!! In the meantime, ride on and ride safe! :)

Baron... thanks! Wow, I need you in my corner everyday. With support like that, I feel like I could conquer the world! Muwahahahaha!

Chessie... I know why I like you so much! Your a walking motorcycle encyclopedia! I'm always amazed by your knowledge of motorcycle history. I need to come and hang out with you awhile, maybe some of your wisdom would rub off on me, ya think? Thanks for your comment, you've given me more reason, why I think I'll just keep doing what makes me happy, and that's ride free and fast! I love it!!

dave... I like your attitude! Let's just ride! Your take on Dan is right on too. He puts many of us to shame as far as really being a rider "all the time". Thanks for commenting, and giving us a great reminder... to ride and have fun! ;)

Mr. M... Ditto! As I said to RC, joining would have been a nice plus, but certainly not necessary. I'm sorry if I still think it may not be for me, but I'll going to keep an open mind... while I ride for free too!

Two Buck... See? This is what I mean... If they thought your experience didn't mean anything until you became part of their group... well, is just fucked up! It sounds like your with a great group of brothers... good for you! Ride on!

mq01... Ya think? I never expected this much feedback, but I think this strikes home to everyone here, in one way or another. I for one would like to hear some of your experiences. Thanks for stopping by. :)

Thanks to all of you for your comments. This has certainly been fun! :)

Road Captain said...

Lady R you have a very valid point about your state rally. You also have a lot of friends who came to your side here, but in defending you there were some things said about HOG that were not true or were just plain rude and I felt an obligation to address the conversation. I for one don't usually get serious on these blog discussions... but taking a HOG Chapter and turning it around and getting it right is the opportunity of a life time and I think all the good Harley owners should jump in and fix it when it's not working right. I hate to see people turn their backs and ride their own way when they really wanted to be part of something bigger. For those who really do want to ride by themselves than god bless them. Enjoy!