Not that this does not happen in lots of affinity groups, but guys and gals who are members of L.O.V.E. (lunatics on vintage equipment), and you know who you are, seem to have developed a particular fondness (hehe) for the combination of comraderie and consumption. Nowhere is this more evident than in the aficionados of vintage BMW air cooled motorcycles, affectionately referring to themselves as Airheads. The groups motto is “Simple by Choice”, and I would highly recommend you visit their website to learn more about this strange and lovable group. Although any group that would allow me to be a member and then repeatedly renew that membership, is highly suspect to begin with. But I digress…
The Airheads have a concept called Tech Days, which take place across the USA, and have nothing to do with preparing your vehicle for the track. The concept is brilliant. A bunch of Airheads, usually including an Airhead Marshall, gather at some place which provides garage space, and tools, (airheads provide the knowledge), to allow other members to learn to work on their own machines. Some are elaborate multi-day affairs, but many are just a single day. Make no mistake, this is not a free alternative to your local shop or dealership, as you must do the work yourself. The member learns, onlookers learn, curmudgeons curmudgeon, and Gurus guru. Good stuff all around. I should note that it is best not to have motorized equipment within reach at a Tech Day, as it may get “fixed” by bored gurus. The tractor at this Tech Day was actually just a weed wacker and an old Model A Ford a few hours earlier. But wait, there’s more…
There is rarely as much concentrated laughter and poking of fun in one place outside of a comedy club. When people who are enamored of an engine design relatively unchanged since 1923 get together, lookout. Wisecracks, jokes, humorous anecdotes, and friendly insults fly. Your bike, your physical condition, your weaknesses, and yo momma are all fair game. You might want to wear your thick skin under your armored jacket. Then they get to know you and it intensifies! But wait, there’s more….
Food and drink have become signature features of Tech Days. They often start with breakfast and end with lunch. The host dreams up some traditional signature dish, or promises to redeem himself/herself following last year’s coincidental outbreak of dysentery. Barbecue was on the menu for this recent encounter, and it was good eating. Drinks are also special attractions ranging from sweet tea to long island iced tea. People travel to Tech Days far away as an excuse to ride, and for legendary victuals. It is rumored that one airhead simply travels to Tech Days, and has not had to pay for a meal in 17 years. But wait, there’s more….
A bunch of bikes show up. Some lurch in spitting and belching only to leave later on as more civilized conveyances. Some arrive in the back of a truck, and leave under their own power. Some are there newly returned from far far away. Some are from a few miles away. Some are shiny and beautiful. Some are dirty and beautiful. Some are neither airhead nor BMW. All receive interest and attention. But wait, there’s more….
Actually, there is not more. At some point, the host has to kick the freeloaders out and reclaim his property. Not to worry though, there is another Tech Day soon within a day’s ride.
ps: Thanks Dave, and Happy Birthday !!
One Reply to “When Comraderie and Consumption Collide”
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