Hundreds gather for district rally
September 9, 2008
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Hundreds of Honda Gold Wing motorcycles cruised into Bakersfield for the Labor Day weekend.
Each year, the Gold Wing Road Rider’s Association (GWRRA) chooses a city in California in which to hold its annual California District Rally, a three-day event packed with action, information and friends.
Members of the 27 chapters in California meet for seminars, safety lessons, CPR and First Aid training, skill competitions, bike shows, talent shows and organized rides.
This year, Bakersfield’s Doubletree Hotel played host to approximately 700 GWRRA members from all over California. Vendors set up in the California Grill, offering handmade jewelry, wooden trinket boxes, collector knives, T-shirts, visor caps reading “Hairdo by Honda” and compact bags designed by a fellow rider specifically for motorcycle riders.
Out on the patio, Diablo Artwerks demonstrated their custom pinstriping. Also, Kevin Peebler of KP & CO Signs, Airbrushing and Hand Painted Pinstriping out of Delta, Colorado, held a captive audience as he airbrushed an Indian war pony onto the saddlebags of a beautiful burgundy Gold Wing named “Papa’s Pony.”
Inside the Doubletree’s many banquet and meeting rooms, different events and seminars were held. Each chapter performed a skit from a movie in the talent show on Saturday evening. Couples competed for Couple of the Year and individuals competed for Individual of the Year.
On Saturday, several riders gave blood at Houchin Blood Bank.
Sunday morning, a memorial service was held for Ron Tolson, longtime district director who was said to have logged over 600,000 miles in his lifetime. Afterwards, some riders assembled for a group ride to Lake Isabella.
The Honda Gold Wing has long been considered “the Rolls Royce of motorcycles.” These bikes are not built for speed or performance but for distance and comfort. Many of them are equipped with GPS systems, advanced intercom systems and stereos. They ride smoothly and can have a long life if maintained properly. One member estimated that he had $60,000 invested in his bike.
Wayne and Karen Moule of Bakersfield are the proud owners of a bright yellow Gold Wing with a matching trailer and sidecar complete with television and DVD player. Wayne rides to work every day. He prefers the economical aspects and loves the attention his bike attracts. They have traveled as far as Maine on their bike. Wayne often rides in parades and gives rides to children with cancer.
The GWRRA was founded in 1977 and has grown to more than 80,000 members across the U.S., Canada and 53 foreign countries. They are dedicated to their motto “Friends for Fun, Safety and Knowledge.” A non-profit organization, they rely on volunteer leaders to educate members on motorcycle safety so that the experience of riding is more pleasurable. They also do several charity rides, such as Toys for Tots.