Motorcycle Club Rolls Into Athens For National Rally< < Back to
ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — Last week many Athens residents were both surprised and curious when a flurry of motorcycles descended on Court Street.
Over 200 members of the Valkyrie Riders Cruiser Club got a police escort down Court Street, as Athens residents stopped on the sidewalks to watch them pass. In front of Ohio University’s College Green, residents and riders alike perused the street full of parked motorcycles, all of them Honda Valkyries.
The club has a long history in Southeastern Ohio, but this was the club’s first time staying in Athens for a motorcycle rally, an event where riders gather together to do and talk about all things motorcycle related.
In 2001, the Valkyrie Riders held their first rally in Zanesville. And 20 rallies later, they returned to Ohio to once again ride the Windy 9, a set of curvy roads ideal for riding, all of which lead back to Athens.
The club has members across the continental U.S., as well as riders from Canada and Europe. However, this year’s rally had to go on without the international riders, and the club’s international rally was cancelled as well.
Lori Holmes, an officer in the club, said when she and other organizers came to Athens looking for a location of this year’s rally, they didn’t need to visit the other option. Athens served as a great place to gather the club together, she said.
“It’s like a big family reunion we do once a year, and everyone just comes to see everybody else and then they get in a lot of nice riding,” Holmes said. “So we try to pick an area that, you know, has some beautiful roads and beautiful riding.”
During the week the club gathered in Athens, members did a number of activities together. Groups rode the Windy 9 and headed out to other places around the region. There was also a bike parade to uptown Athens and bike games where riders and their passengers completed an array of challenges. A favorite event of Holmes’ was the lunch on the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway in Nelsonville.
In addition to gathering and having fun, the club also works hard to give back to the region they are visiting, by having a blood drive where club members donate and an auction to support a charity chosen each year.
This year’s charity was the Brain Injury Association of Ohio.“They do a lot of good work for people that have suffered traumatic brain injuries,” Holmes said. “The money raised from the pie auction is specifically designated for the charity.”
This year’s rally raised $10,112, Connie Hammond, the club’s president, said in a Facebook post.
The rally had attendees from all walks of life, with the youngest being 19 and the oldest 96 and a half. David Carter has ridden motorcycles for over 70 years, and still rides today.
He still loves bike games, he said, but he enjoys riding in a different way than he did when he was younger. He recently switched over to riding a Valkyrie but said he has previously ridden 300,000 miles on BMW motorcycles.
For many of the club’s members, like Hammond, this year’s rally was especially significant after last year. The club had a rally in 2020, but only around half of its regular attendees were able to come.
“It was kind of a bummer, so people were really anxious to get here this year because they were ready for a vacation from all that,” Hammond said. “Everybody’s kind of over the whole COVID thing. So it’s been great to see everyone again; it’s just like a family reunion. And, of course, every year there’s new people, so we have new family members.”