Title: Motorcycle Parade

Date Occurred: May 1, 1993

Date Written: May 1, 1993

Written by Joel T. Kant

Copyright (c) 1993


Around noon, I went running. I ran out to the Ohio State Capitol in Columbus. In front of the main entrance, a crowd listened to a woman talk about how dance can be understood by all people, no matter what language or race. Behind the audience, two girls too young to be teenagers took off their shoes and put on ballet slippers.

I continued on, taking a different road back toward my apartment. I had only gone a couple blocks when I reached a red light with a DON'T WALK sign. Three ladies stood at the intersection waiting to cross.

I swung my arms and bounced to stay loose. Led by a squad car with flashing lights, down the road came two columns of motorcycles. All the motorcycles appeared to be Harley Davidsons. Most were driven by men, although women often rode in back. Many of the riders looked old. More than a few of the men and women had potbellies. Since it was hot, many of the riders weren't wearing their black leather jackets and instead wore only tee shirts. The tee shirts allowed easy viewing of many tattoos.

A non-police motorcycle with a side car and a police motorcycle were used to block the intersection. A kid sat in the sidecar and a woman sat to the back of the regular seat of the stopped non-police motorcycle. The guy, who wasn't a cop, had gotten off and was walking around. The cop stayed seated on his machine.

As my light turned green and the motorcyclists' light turned red, the motorcyclists kept coming in the two seemingly unending lines. This continued over many cycles of the traffic light. After ten or so minutes during which it seemed thousands of motorcyclists had gone past, the motorcycle cop drove on. Once the cop was gone, the cars started honking in earnest. By this point, other brands of motorcycle appeared such as Hondas and Suzukis. Compared to the roaring Harleys, these machines were extremely quiet. I couldn't even hear the Hondas compared to the louder motorcycles.

At last, some cars appeared behind the line of motorcyclists. The guy walking around climbed back onto his machine and started it. As he prepared to ride off, he noticed more motorcyclists behind the cars that had just gone past. He got back off his motorcycle. The driverless motorcycle rolled backward until the woman in back reached up to the handlebars and grabbed the brake.

My light again turned green. By this time, the honks from the stopped cars was deafening. Cars started creeping out into the road. One car looked like it was going to drive right into the line of motorcyclists, but the car's driver finally relented and stopped. The motorcyclists kept coming, swerving around the car stopped in the intersection. The wait was longer than for the longest train that I had to wait to go past, and back in my younger days, it could be long waits for trains hauling logs to the papermill in the Village of Biron back in Wisconsin.

After two more light changes, the line of motorcyclists finally ended. As I resumed my run, I moved stiffly and awkwardly after standing still so long.


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