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Travels With An Airhead

Finger Lakes Rally Mellowness

— by Notch Miyake

After listening to our editor, Dave Ellingham, beg for material every month, I finally decided to submit a monthly column for the newsletter. I will try to keep my comments to motorcycles, with occasional touches of sex and violence just to keep you reading.

I know that, sooner or later, I will piss somebody off. This is inevitable in any column that is at all interesting. Look, if I only wrote stuff that everybody agreed to, I would find myself out of material in a few sentences and you would be bored silly. So if you get pissed off, remember this is supposed to be entertainment. Stay cool.

The rally this year had a distinct ambiance: The quiet camping area filled up before the rest of the campground, but it didn't matter because you couldn't tell the difference; an often heard complaint was that the band was too loud and when they played, people sat on lawn chairs outside the dining hall; the field next to registration looked like a KOA campground full of motorhomes; Security's biggest problem seemed to be four-wheelers trying to park in the two-wheeler section; I heard of no fights or loud drunken parties at 2:00 am; the guys mostly sat around and told dirty jokes.

As usual, it was a wonderful rally. But as the weekend progressed, I wondered why it seemed so mellow. I look forward to seeing everybody every year, and this year was no different. The weather was good. But there was something more. . .

Norm answered my question when he announced that the average age of the rally-goers was 48 years. Of course! There were no young punks around with their annoyingly loud music and stupid stunts like doing wheelies in front of registration! Stuff like the rally-goers remember with fondness but will no longer tolerate.

Finger Lakers, we have a problem. Forty-eight years is old. It is probably worse than that because the women tend to lie about their age if they don't have a chance of winning the oldest rider award. And that's most of the women since the oldest riders are now octogenarians.

So what should we do to attract younger people to the rally? Have a wet T-shirt contest? Free beer? A rave on Saturday night? Drag races at the racetrack? What about attracting younger members? Should we hold our monthly meetings at the Klassy Cat? Our annual banquet at Hooters? Should we allow Kawasaki Ninja or Honda Hurricane owners to join? Maybe they can be honorary BMW members? We need ideas.

If we don't do anything, at next year's rally the average age will be 49 years, the band will play golden oldies, and people will do swing dances, the bunny hop and the twist. Many will sit around and discuss their retirement travel plans and medical ailments and grandchildren. A few will be having interesting mid-life crises. Fewer still will be concerned about paying for their children's education. There may not be anyone struggling with post-puberty sexual concerns, but there will be plenty of new sex jokes. Everyone will be talking about motorcycles and rides. It will be mellow.

Ride safe.

— Copyright © 1999 by Notch Miyake.

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