For some it’s about the freedom, the feeling of the wind on your face and the sun warming your skin as your cruise down your favorite highway. For others it is about the opportunity to meet and mingle with people of similar interests while indulging in a favorite hobby. Whether you are new to the lifestyle or are a seasoned rider, there is no doubt that hitting the open road on your motorcycle can be the thrill of a lifetime.
The Rio Grande Valley has a large and vibrant motorcycle community, and the people who are a part of it each have their own reason for riding. Edgar Castillo says he enjoys the freedom it gives him.
“I started riding again three years ago,” he said. “I got tired of getting in and out of the car. I wanted more open space.”
There is something to be said for the extra mobility a motorcycle gives you over a car in traffic and parking, as well as the savings in gas and maintenance. Castillo purchased his 2015 Harley Iron Sportster because the cost was very reasonable and says he is quite happy with it.
As a Harley owner, Castillo joined the local chapter of the Harley Davidson HOGs riding group. They have meetings every month. According to Castillo, the group meetings are useful because they give out tips for motorcycle riding and maintenance. They also host events and organize rides to various locations. Castillo coordinated a recent organized ride that started at the Harley dealership in McAllen, then went to Los Indios, San Benito, Port Isabel, and South Padre Island. Along the way, they stopped at another dealership and picked up more riders.
The social aspect of the motorcycle lifestyle really appeals to many riders. Nancy Lopez has been riding for about six years. She says she tries to ride at least once a week, most often out to McCook or South Padre Island. Lopez has also been on longer trips. She and her husband rode Route 66 through Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico.
“You meet a lot of new people, nice people,” Lopez said. Even though she doesn’t belong to a club, she has attended many of the rallies and events for bikers. She plans to attend the large Bandera, Texas Biker Rally that starts on March 22. According to Lopez, these rallies are a good place to mingle, hear music, and watch the biker games.
There are also events that are just for the women bikers out there. Lace, Grace, and Gears is a relatively new, women-only event that is preparing for its third world class rally in September in Llano, Texas. They plan to celebrate a unique sisterhood that spans all ages, economic circumstances, life experiences, careers, and riding preferences. The proceeds of the rally will be donated to the Krause Children’s Center in Katy, Texas
Many of the riding clubs show their community spirit by giving back in different ways. Bikers for Christ in McAllen conducts toy drives all through December, as well as focusing on their prison ministry. According to Alejandra Moreno, the marketing and events coordinator for Desperado Harley Davidson, the local chapter of the HOGs is hosting their annual Hog for Dogs event in March to benefit the Palm Valley Animal shelter.
For new riders who are looking for some camaraderie, riding clubs and dealership organizations offer a lot of opportunities for meeting new friends and building a sense of community. Moreno says that Desperado Harley Davidson normally hosts differently themed events every two weeks for bikers.
Whether you are a novice or a seasoned rider, it’s all about the ride — this trip, in this moment. When you’re on your bike, it doesn’t matter how old you are or whether you are a man or woman. All that matters is the feel of the road beneath your tires and the vibrations of the engine coursing through your body as you ride toward your adventure.