Trike Motorcycle Riders Gathering At Tyler Roundup
By JACQUE HILBURN-SIMMONS
Motorcycle rider Jeanette Littleton enjoys the freedom of the open road, but she doesn't necessarily fit the stereotype of Steppenwolf's iconic "Born to be Wild" anthem, featured in the 1969 soundtrack for "Easy Rider."
The retired Louisiana accounting professional and her husband, Jesse, were among dozens of free spirits who gathered in Tyler this week for the American Trike Riders South Central Regional Roundup to socialize and swap notes about their three-wheeled rides.
The couple co-directs the organization and they are apparently not alone in their enthusiasm for the sport that seems to be gaining favor among Baby Boomers.
"We have all ages involved," Mrs. Littleton said. "About 90 percent are about 50 and up. ... we have no age discrimination here. Everyone is welcome."
About 70 riders were expected to gather today at the Quality Inn and Suites, 2843 North-Northwest Loop 323 for the final day of the roundup, which includes trips to Pittsburg, Mineola and Winnsboro.
Day passes are $10 each to participate.
Participants said their organization is about a year and a half old and includes more than 200 members, some of whom ride traditional two-wheeled motorcycles.
Trike motorcycles get their name from the design, which immediately conjures up an image of children's tricycles.
But these tricked-out machines, offered by companies such as Honda and Harley-Davidson, appear to be anything but child's play.
Trikes have a single wheel in front and two in back for power.
They feature cool colors, powerful engines, smooth rides and spunky good looks that seem to mirror the attitudes of their owners.
"Trikes are on the grow; you're starting to see them everywhere," said Becky Guidry, a Louisiana office professional serving as American Trike Riders' executive director, alongside husband, Don. "The people who are here, we all have a love of riding trikes."
Ms. Guidry said she enjoys the three-wheel design because it's easier and safer to handle than two-wheeled varieties.
She also enjoys the people who choose to ride them.
"My main attraction to this organization is the people in it," she said. "They are great people to be around."
The south central region group is comprised largely of members from a four-state area: Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma and whose mission is to help educate riders on safety, resources and networking with others.
Most of the people visiting Tyler are from those areas, although some attendees are from outside the region.
"We also have people from Minnesota, Indiana and Iowa," Mrs. Littleton said. "We plan on this being an annual thing. People here have been nice and accommodating. That's one of the reasons we came."
The roundup convened Thursday and many participants spent Friday riding around the area, touring Motor Trike Inc.'s manufacturing plant in Troup.
"We had a great time," Kacy Mills, marketing coordinator, said. "We had about 50 or 60 people show up."
Ms. Mills said the cycles are becoming so popular, they seem to sell themselves.
"Trikes are definitely an up and coming power sport," she said. "Baby Boomers are our target audience. As people get older, they still want to feel the wind in their hair. Trikes offer more comfort and safety. ... they are also more comfortable so two can ride. These folks are looking for a reason to ride."