Girls of HOG
By J. JOSHUA PLACA
Once almost the exclusive domain of primal men wearing animal hides and making strange, tribal whooping noises, motorcycle rallies have seen a steady influx of women riding or walking in, adding balance and clean faces and nice smelling hair to what used to be predominantly a gritty and grizzly gathering.
The Arizona HOG Rally was recently held mainly on Historic Route 66 in the old logging and trapping town of Williams, about three hours northwest of Phoenix. At around 6,900 feet in elevation, Williams offers almost ideal spring and summer riding. The relatively cool conditions, however, particularly after sunset, kept HOGers dressed in the usual uniform of jeans, big black boots, patched and pinned leather vests and traditional cow hides while riding, a little less while strolling Route 66 for trinkets and eats and the next cold beer.
Harley has done well in attracting younger buyers. Millennials and Gen-Xers are gobbling up the flat-black, re-badged and badder machines in surprising numbers. The Motor Company’s core market, though, remains Baby Boomers. These “mature” riders tend to dress age appropriately, which translates to sensible boots and generally conservative, floppy outfits. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Women account for roughly 25% of new Harley purchases, and they are making their presence felt on the road, at the vendors, and in the crowd as fashions in jewelry, leathers and clothes (or lack of) grow more daring— usually. HOG events trend toward more veteran riders where loose shirts and baggy pants hide what was once washboard stomachs, now well padded in old laundry.
None of this seemed to dim the camaraderie of HOG rank and file, nor the comfortable affection couples often openly shared. If love is still a hot bike on a cool day, saddled with an ageless couple, than ride on Route 66 ride on.
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