Westgate Bike Night

IMG_0737So last night I got together with the riders from the AZ Victory Meetup group for motorcycle night at the Westgate Plaza. This was my first time at this event which I understand is held weekly on Thursday nights. As you can see from the photo above, there were a ton of bikes. A lot of Model Ts and even some sport bikes. And of course, a slew of Victories. After reading the cyclerides website, apparently it was largest Westgate Bike Night in the last three years. I guess they knew my bike was going to be there.

IMG_0360It was the first night I’ve ever worn my spiffy new Ariat cowboy boots. Complete with my leather jacket, I was feeling pretty bad ass. Riding and style seem to go together. And style, like beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This all comes to mind because with as many people who were there last night, I got to take in a lot of diversity. It helped me realize who I am and who I am not.

I am fairly traditional. For example, wearing boots is functional while riding so why not a little flair beyond the typical black Keens I wear? But the character, Jax, on the Sons Of Anarchy television show wears low top white leather sneakers. My traditional style is simple. You might call it boring. But you really can’t mess up the classics. Leather jacket — “scooter” style with no collar. T-shirt and blue jeans. I like the black fingerless gloves because of the practicality as opposed to the style but the style message it sends is ok with me.

I am not hard core. By that I mean, you will never see me wearing motorcycle club (read: gang) colors — a black leather vest (cuts) with my club’s logos. You will not ever see me wear a black Harley Davidson t-shirt with the sleeves cut off. I won’t wear a jean jacket vest (torn sleeve style) regardless of color. My face is clean shaven. The best you’re going to get out of me is a three day growth. No ZZ Tops here. And frankly, I just can’t bring myself to wear anything with a skull on it. I don’t know. That just ain’t me. I’m sure there is a version of the quote, “If the music is too loud than you’re too old.” that applies to me in this situation but hey, I’m ok with being boring. For me, it is about the style but it’s more about the ride.

There were a ton of motorcycles there last night. There were plenty to take photos of but I focused on the Victories I saw and interesting things people did with their Cross Countries. Like my bike’s twin which was chromed out instead of blacked out.IMG_0734 It belonged to a guy who works for Victory Scottsdale. You can tell he put a bunch of money into it. Or this bike which was tricked out to the maxIMG_0735There was so much customization on this bike including the extended windshield, the lights in the engine guards (which are kind of difficult to see in this picture), the added chrome to the bags, and the chrome name plates on the sides of the tank. Pretty unique color as well. One of my favorite paint jobs of the night belonged to this bikeIMG_0740Like mine, it was a matte or suede finish but I really liked the striping and how it complimented the lines of the bike. Gorgeous. The accessory of the night belonged to Doug, who was with our Victory Meetup groupIMG_0736He placed a custom luggage rack on the back of his Vision which was an homage to the previous Victory logo. I had to take a photo and add it here.

Last night was one of those nights in the Valley you dream about. The weather was pretty much perfect. I wish I wasn’t fighting off allergies but that didn’t matter. The temperature was ideal and the wind while riding was more justification as to why I live here and ride the motorcycle. We walked around and gawked at everyone’s rides and then got hungry so we put our names in for a table at the Saddle Ranch Chop House at Westgate.

After about a 40 minute wait we all sat down to eat. Stop me if you’ve heard this one. I want you to picture, bike night and all it entails, some unknown lady riding a mechanical bull, Eddie Murphy’s song “My Girl Wants To Party All The Time” from the 80’s playing on the surrounding TVs, and me eating a veggie burger. No this isn’t the Twilight Zone, this was my reality. It was surreal but the food was good.

Another “I’m not hard core, I’m just boring” thing about me is I never drink alcohol when I ride. I respect the feeling I have when I’m on the bike and I’ve been hit by enough drunks driving cars to not even want to approach that situation while on a motorcycle. What was nice was the crew of folks we were hanging with felt the same. I think the stiffest thing we drank was an Arnold Palmer. I’m not hating on the folks who were having a single bottle of beer that night. I drink. Just not when I’m riding. It’s a personal choice.

Over dinner I got pick the brain of Lee. Lee’s a Vision rider and a former Victory mechanic. I probably sounded like a dope or a groupie but with a resource like him, I had to take advantage of his knowledge. My big question coming up on 2900 miles was when should I change my oil in the Suede Nuclear Sunset Cross Country. He made a great point. Victory recommends changing the oil every 5000 miles. He also pointed out that since there is as much oil running through the bike as would be in a big block Chevy engine, that I could easily keep the oil in the bike until 5K. And he said the engine needs to be broken in so changing the oil at 3K would not be what he recommends. A little more peace of mind for me considering I am planning on the big AZ tour in about a month.

All in all a great night though. Gorgeous ride back. Next week will be Mesa On Main and then AZ Bike Week. ‘Til then, Take care.

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