Biketoberfest: a necessary tradition or too much too soon?

This past weekend our city welcomed an annual fleet of bikers even though our streets are currently lined with debris.
Oct. 18, 2016

I don't know about you, but I'm exhausted. 

For the past two weeks, my life has been Hurricane Matthew, Biketoberfest and the aftermath of both. I navigated my way through debris-ridden roads in the middle of the night despite a nice policeman telling me not to. I climbed over a dozen fallen trees and received over a dozen bruises. A group of biker dudes jokingly tried to take my camera. I picked up a weird glass bottle on the beach full of what turned out to be pee. A greasy gentleman in leather chaps patted my head like a dog. I was shoved through a small kitchen window.

So by the time my last story was filed Tuesday evening, I was ready to fall — or maybe collapse — into my bed for a solid three days. 

But then I remembered I had to write this column. 

Now I don't need to remind you of how messy our normally put-together city currently is. It's like all the smart people who know how to properly use vacuums skipped town and left me in charge. It's bad out there. 

And while we didn't suffer from the same devastation and destruction that some of Hurricane Matthew's other victims did, we still got hit. The storm may technically be over, but I think most of us agree that it's really not. 

So when I learned that Biketoberfest was still happening, I was a little annoyed. Trees are still in people's front yards. Signs are still knocked down. Some businesses are still closed from damage. And debris is still so packed on some street corners that it's almost impossible to spot oncoming traffic. 

Inviting bikers into this mess just felt like a really bad idea. But now that the dust from the fleet of motorcycles has settled, I can say that I was kinda wrong. 

You see, I went out for my first Biketoberfest and fully expected to feel irritated and claustrophobic. But instead, I felt slightly relaxed. In the sea of leather jackets and bandanas, there was only laughter, music and a lot of beer.

No talk of tree trimmer scams or branches in our driveways. No mention of yard work and how expensive getting through all this will be. No one wondering out loud when we'll "get back to normal." Because, for a brief evening, we all felt normal. 

So was Biketoberfest a little inconvenient? Sure. But so was the hurricane and the power outages and my camera dying in the middle of taking storm photos.

Life is inconvenient — but that doesn't mean it stops. 

A list of the weird things I saw during Biketoberfest: 

  • A guy painted like a skeleton holding a selfie stick
  • Someone intensely headbanging to a "Nickleback" song 
  • Beard braids
  • A miniature horse riding in a sidecar 
  • Clowns that weren't trying to be creepy
  • And a wallet that "caught on fire" everytime its owner started talking to a pretty girl