On shiny chrome extended forks, the stubby black front tires of motorcycles angled out from both sides of San Francisco Street in front of La Fonda. Like fish-traps in a seining net, the tires seemed to lure people—revelers on the Plaza celebrating the demise of worry and gloom—to pass between them to the sidewalks.
Resting hunkered up against the wall of El Pavon, a man called Butch cast a baleful eye on some who passed too close to his “scoot,” a raked, black machine standing fourth in line from the corner….
Ben, a biker from Texas, (“Just Texas…ain’t that enough?”) said that whenever a lot of riders gathered, as they did for Fiesta this year somebody always stays with the cycles. It is then, when they are basically just biding their time, that the bikers are the most accessible. And dozens of people, according to the 34-year-old, 18-year biker, always come up to them.
“It’s like we are an attraction,” Ben said. “You line up a bunch of iron like this” (his eyes swept up and down along the double row of motorcycles) “and people are gonna stop and look. And some of ‘em are gonna want to talk.”
He nodded briefly toward the street in front of La Fonda where a group of about 10 kids between the ages of 13 and 16 stood gaping at the bikes and their riders.
“The kids won’t come up to you very much. They just stand around the scoots and stare. When they do come up, they want to hear about runs and hassles,” Bad Ben continued.
“An’ you sometimes get some ol’ fud who used to ride ‘hawgs’ back when he was a kid. He’ll want to know what you’ve done to your scoot, modified it, like,” he said.
According to Ben, the third class of people who are drawn to the bikers are the “straights who are scared and just stare and mumble at you.” A final class is what Ben call “pussy jocks.”
“They’re like, you know, football stars. An’ some of ‘em got guts. Sometimes they’ll just want to shoot the s—t, be like equals, you know. An’ sometimes they get drunk and want to prove something. Then there’s a hassle.”