As winter starts to ease its icy grip on New England, and withdrawal symptoms from being unable to ride motorcycles start to become almost painful, mid-February is the perfect time for a little encouragement to let you know riding season is (hopefully) just around the corner.
On Saturday, I attended the Northeast Motorcycle Expo at the Bayside Expo Center in Boston, along with a few other Romans 8 Riders: Spike, our chapter president (on the right); Mike Chretien, road captain (center); Bob Levesque (on the left); and Duke Davies (not pictured).
This was my second year attending the show. When I went last year, I did not even own a bike, so it was very difficult to see dozens of used motorcycles for sale by Motorcycles of Manchester, which were displayed at one end of the building, knowing I could not afford any of them - even the more modestly-priced ones.
"That's where you got the bug last year, sitting on the bikes," Bob reminded me. But at this year's show, I was much more subdued, since I bought my dream bike - a 2002 Harley-Davidson Wide Glide - a few weeks ago.
At the Bruce Rossmeyer Harley-Davidson tent, where new and used Harleys were for sale, Spike - who would love to see an all-Harley CMA chapter - couldn't resist teasing Bob, who owns a Kawasaki: "C'mon ... they can sit you down and get you financed," Spike said.
Unlike last year, where we left the show with a bagful of catalogs and handouts, this year we left mostly empty-handed. We did, however, receive an unexpected blessing when a leather and boot vendor, Bruce from Myrtle Beach, S.C., turned out to be a fellow Christian. Noticing our CMA patches, Bruce quickly asked me, Bob and Mike what our favorite Bible verses were. Then he quoted Scripture and prayed with us, urging us to have a fruitful season sharing the gospel with other bikers, because he believes Jesus Christ's return will be soon. He prayed that God would give us a "double portion" of his Spirit.
"That man was on fire!" Mike exclaimed afterward about Bruce's enthusiasm for the Lord.
Walking around the expo center, we also saw several CMA brothers and sisters from other chapters, including the Kingdom Cruzers from the East Bay, R.I. area, as well as Buck West and Bill Hegenauer, CMA area representatives from northern and southern New England, respectively. Rindo Barese and his wife, from the CMA Blood 'N' Fire Warriors chapter, based in Dedham, Mass., also manned the CMA tent in the exhibit area.
Besides new and used stock motorcycles, the show featured custom motorcycles, including radical choppers with fat rear tires and long, raked forks with skinny front tires. If you had $48,449 burning a hole in your pocket, you could have bought a Boss Hoss motorcycle (the red bike), with an engine that looked like it could rival a Caterpillar diesel in size and power.
While I experienced sensory overload during last year's show, being brand new to the world of motorcycles, this year I was more jaded, I suppose. I wasn't looking for a bike, nor any accessories, and I already have riding gear. For me, it was all about the fellowship and spending time with my CMA brothers. And, no Romans 8 outing would be complete without a meal - this year, it was at Ponderosa steakhouse.