ROT: 2014

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An estimated 200,000 bikers converged on Austin for last week’s Republic of Texas Biker Rally. This annual event is based east of downtown at the Travis County Exposition Center, although there are motorcycles¬†everywhere during ROT. If you aren’t a biker, it’s a good weekend to avoid driving on the area’s roads…or to leave town.

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The Friday evening ROT tradition is for motorcyclists to drive in from the Expo Center to the Texas State Capitol and then cruise south on Congress Avenue. Typically, the parade of bikes moves slowly as the riders look for places to park on the street. However, this year’s parking was moved to South Austin, so the line did not back up, and many bikers sped noisily—and often dangerously—down the street. Bill and I were glad that we had remembered our ear plugs.

DSC02032After the parade, we walked over the Congress Avenue Bridge to check out the ROT Biker Rally Downtown. Food trailers, beer tents, biker-related booths were set up around a live music stage in the Austin American-Statesman parking lot. A reasonably-sized crowd was milling around. We didn’t stay to hear the headliner band, Los Lonely Boys, but there was no need: we could easily hear them from our downtown apartment (and also The Bright Light Social Hour the next night).

DSC02051On Saturday evening, Bill and I walked over to Sixth Street and realized that this was where the real action was. The street was filled with thousands of bikes and the bars were filled with even more thousands of bikers. A narrow pathway was left in the middle of the road for some cruisin’ down Sixth Street. Now I’m not a fan of the noisy, crowded streets during ROT, but I must admit that the motorcycles were fun to look at…

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Some bikes were works of art.

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If I were a biker, I too would need a full-sized trunk.

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A Western theme apparently requires a real leather-tooled saddle and stereo speakers.

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Not sure if these really qualify as motorcycles.

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Some bikes and bike clubs are more interesting than others.

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