High on the Hawg

At one of Arizona Bike Week's vendor booths, sandwiched between tables hawking everything from Screamin' Eagle performance parts to leather-fringed halters, Beverly Allgood will pass out fliers for Vintages, a planned northeast Scottsdale resort community designed for the new breed of biker -- or what she calls the "upscale motorcycle enthusiast."

"These are the guys who just don't fit in with the typical biker crowd," says Allgood, a former Houston bistro owner who recently began riding a hawg herself at age 40. "He's the guy in his 50s who's made a little money and is just discovering the fun of getting on a bike and riding. He may have a beer after a ride, but it's probably a Heineken or a Guinness. More likely, he's the type who will prefer a good bottle of wine."

Avoiding Allgood's booth like a gravel-strewn speed bump will be old-school biker dudes like Clayton Douglas, the goateed, gruff-voiced publisher of Thunder Riders, the Valley's premier biker rag, who's been riding Harleys for as long as Allgood's been alive. "Yeah, I'm okay with these new Ômotorcycle enthusiasts,'" he says, spitting out the yuppied tag like a bad wad of chewing tobacco. "I'd just rather not ride along next to 'em! But Bike Week is for everybody."

Indeed, the local biker community has grown so large and diverse that Arizona Bike Week -- now in its eighth year and stretching out for 10 days -- draws everybody from the bird-flippin' Captain America types to RUBs (rich urban bikers) crotch-rocketing around on BMWs and Ducatis. In between are the younger Torque-d-out cycle racing crowd ("squids") and the SUV-driving bikers-at-heart drawn to the rowdy bikes, booze 'n' babes ambiance of the week's big concerts.

In fact, Bike Week has become so huge that its 30 official events -- ranging from arm wrestling bouts and wet tee shirt contests to a Baptist church service and a parade led by Jerry's Kids -- are scattered all over town. While many of the big events, including the "Fat Friday" opening night Mardi Gras party, where the new Miss Arizona Bike Week will be crowned, are held at Rawhide in north Scottsdale, nearly all of the Valley's cycle shops, leather retailers and biker bars hold their own all-day parties as well.

"This is where all the real bikers hang out during Bike Week," says Greg at the Hideaway Grill in Cave Creek. For its part, the Hideaway will host a daily Bikini Bike Wash and an autograph party with porn star Jessica James. "Rawhide's like going into a carnival," Greg adds. "This here's like being at an all-week party, from 10 a.m. 'til 1 a.m."

Not that everyone can handle that. "My advice for newbies," says Kylie Pardo at Buddy Stubbs Harley dealership, "is to pick up the schedule and stick to the official events."

There are a lot of un-official things going on, too, Pardo says, but those are for the patch-wearing biker brotherhood. RUBs, squids and scooter geeks beware.

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Jimmy Magahern
Contact: Jimmy Magahern