Memphis, TN: Bikes on Beale Street
"It always starts early," drawled the pretty blonde beside us. "They say 8 o'clock, but if you wait until then, everyone's already here. Gotta get here 'bout 6 or so."
Tourists and locals mixed with riders of all sorts, from the heavily leather clad riders to the skimpily dressed babes showing as much skin as is legal. The feet of riders in boots, sneakers, sandals and flip flops trod up and down the famous brick street amid laughter, sweat, booze and blues. Smiles on every face lit up the darkening sky among the neon and burgeoning streetlights. In the heat, every hand grasped a plastic cup of a cool beverage as bikers mingled, surveying the rides of the fellow riders.
As the evening wore on, the crowd thickened with bodies, chrome, rubber and steel. The never-ending parade of riders cruised down the two-block stretch, searching for a spot to call their own for the night. Sport bikes, cruisers, and trikes flowed in abundance, with even the occasional Spyders, mini-bikes and dirt bikes trickling in. My Kawasaki Ninja 500 looked tiny beside the Sportster with enormous apes on one side of her and the Electra-Glide on her other side. But as the night wore on I noticed her neighbors changed to a Honda VTX and a row of sport bikes on the other side. Well over 1,000 bikes rolled the bricks over the course of 5 hours of every type imaginable, ridden by every rider imaginable.
Our curiosity was peaked when a rider approached up with an enormous grin.
"Ya'll are those Road Pickle people, aren't you?"
Turns out Chris Jones has been following our travels on this blog from his home in Ripley, TN and was delighted to make our acquaintance. The thrill was ours to meet a fellow rider who was as enthusiastic about our trip as we were.
"Ya'll are doing it right, ya' know? 6 months. Awesome!"
His gorgeous, custom silver/chrome painted Yamaha Stryker sported a batwing ferring and a highly polished glint of sexy. The lack of badging seemed to confuse those who don't know the body shapes as well as others.
"Everyone has to ask what it is. I just got this paint job. I love it!"
And so it was with all of the riders. Everyone we spoke to showed an extreme passion for their rides and for the chance to show them off. To see and be seen on Beale Street on a Wednesday night was the highlight of the week for most of them, but for me it was truly a highlight on the trip.
As we ended our evening I rode my Kawasaki, Katie Scarlet, down the bricks, somehow becoming intermingled with a club of sport riders. The heat from the ambient air, roaring engines and hot street didn't compare to the thousands of eyes watching me as I made my first parade on my own set of 2-wheeled happiness and freedom with incredible pride.
Bike Night on Beale Street
Every Wednesday Evening
|Sash met a new "Arkansas Country Girl" friend|
|Old School biker|
|Cool looking half helmet|
|These bartenders from Coyote Ugly remembered Sash and hung out with her for awhile.|
|A woman named Tina rode in on this custom.|
|Chris Jones, a reader of Road Pickle, recognized Sash on the street and introduced himself|
|Bikes continue to roll in well into dark|
|Sash riding her way down Beale Street|
|Guys parking their Sportster choppers on Beale Street|
|Painting at Beale Street Tap House reminds me of a Princess.|
|Live Blues playing at Beale Street Tap House|
|Massive front wheel on this Harley|
|Sash had an awesome time at Beale Street Bike Night|