Republic of Texas Bike Rally (ROT) Austin 2012

The suns sets over the Texas state capitol during ROT 2012


If you read my blog, you’ve occasionally heard me reference The Complete Package (my beloved husband) and his girlfriend (his beloved motorcycle). Each year, TCP takes his girlfriend… er, motorcycle… to Austin to participate in the Republic of Texas (ROT Rally for short) Bike Rally. And every year, I pack my Jeep full of his gear, my stuff and our Boston Terrier and fulfill my destiny as the driver of the support vehicle. Lest you think I’d rather be riding on the back of said motorcycle, think again. But that’s a story for another day.

Each year, approximately 50,000 motorcycle riders and 200,000 participants join in the fun at the largest motorcycle rally in the state of Texas. One of our favorite events of the weekend is the bike parade from the Austin fairgrounds northeast of town where the rally takes place to downtown Austin in front of the state capitol. It is really something.

With the parade route stretching about 11 miles long, bikers riding 2-across will stretch the entire length of the route for more than an hour. To give you an idea of how many riders take part, when the first riders pass the state capitol and turn onto Congress Avenue, there are still riders parked at the fairgrounds waiting for their turn to leave. That’s a solid line of riders stretching out for more than 11 miles riding across Austin, revving engines, honking horns, flashing lights and high-fiving onlookers as they pass. Even if you’re not a motorcycle enthusiast, it’s an impressive spectacle.

Here are a few photos from this year’s ROT Rally parade into downtown Austin.

Here they come! Escorts lead the first riders down Congress Avenue.

Lilly Bug, our granddaughter, takes in the parade from atop mommy’s shoulders.

Bikes of all shapes, sizes & colors parade past.

Some are stretched out choppers…

Some have stretched out riders…

Some get a big ‘thumbs up’ from event staff when they pass.

Some bikers share their ride with pink-haired cuties…

And some ride solo while rocking a spiked yellow helmet for color.

Some like to hide their identities like these mysterious luchadores.

Some represent the ‘older’ crowd on an ultimate trike…

While others represent the younger crowd like this green Ninja hottie.

Some riders are too cool for school…

While others are too fabulously outlandish for words.

As downtown fills with bikes, the first riders into downtown fill Congress Avenue starting at the state capitol and parking their way down to the river.

When a traffic jam occurs, some riders are friendly enough to stop and chat with our grandkids and pose for pictures.

Eventually, Congress Avenue becomes a giant parking lot filled with thousands of bikes and people begin to mingle and take it all in.

I love that the downtown parade is a family-friendly event. People of all ages, races, backgrounds and tastes come out to see this once-a-year event. Rally organizers throw a giant party downtown each year. There really is something for everyone – from bikes to live music to stunning architecture.

When all else fails, you can always break out the light sabers and battle to the death, as My Baby learned at the hands of Jonah Bear. Lilly joined in, too.

Every year, friendly riders show off their bikes to anyone who asks. Some will even let the kids sit on them and pose for photos. Jonah Bear loves that part. I think he likes dreaming of the day when he’ll be big enough to ride a bike into downtown Austin with his Papi. And to that, I say “let the boy dream!”

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28 Comments

Filed under Family Stuff, Travel Tales

28 responses to “Republic of Texas Bike Rally (ROT) Austin 2012

  1. What a great post Jeanne! I love how you write! This really looks like a wonderful event! Lots of fun. But no pics of TCP? Jonah Bear and Lilly Bug are just beautiful! : )

    • Sorry, Anne. I tried to talk TCP into letting me include a photo of him riding in the parade, but it was a no-go. He gave some lame excuse about being mobbed in public and not having the time to sign all those autographs on body parts. {heeheehee} Thanks for the comment on the grandbabies. We think they’re the greatest ever, but we’re blatantly biased. Of course.

  2. OK, first of all, Lilly-Bug and Jonah-Bear – too cute for words. Second, the world needs more spontaneous light sabre battles (I personally have downloaded the light sabre app on my phone in case of just such an occasion).
    Third, what fun that looks like! Glad you guys had a good weekend! :)

    • What’s funny is that it was Austin and no one really paid much attention to the light saber battle. I know their city motto is “Keep Austin Weird” but that kind of thing usually stands out in a crowd. Of all the unusual things you might spot in downtown Austin, this one didn’t even make it on the radar. It was a great weekend, and we (including Jonah & Lilly) had a great time at the parade that night.

  3. gapgrad

    Hmm I totally think we need an explanation of why you don’t want to be a biker babe!!
    Looks like yall had a BLAST!! So gonna have to check that out next year!!

    • I’ve never really loved motorcycles like he does, but after an accident while we were riding together on a major Houston freeway (took a nail in the back tire), him getting knocked unconscious, and spending 11 hours in the trauma center at Ben Taub waiting to get an ‘all clear’ from his brain scans while laying next to some unsavory characters (including a man under arrest who was handcuffed to his gurney while being treated for a broken leg) – let’s just say there’s not a run-on sentence long enough to convince me to get back on. I just don’t love it enough. But I do love him enough to support his hobby. And so, I drive the support vehicle. And that’s the way (uh huh, uh huh) I like it. :)

      • gapgrad

        Wow. That’s crazy. I dont blame you for not wanting to get back on! I am amazed at your bravery…I would have a hard time being the bigger woman and letting my husband keep riding. Major props!

      • I could never tell him not to ride. He loves it too much. :)

  4. The kids are adorable! I can only imagine how impressive that parade must be to see. You certainly took some great photographs. My husband rode a bike for several years (before I met him) and often says “I should get a bike again”…so far he hasn’t followed through :)

    • The Complete Package grew up riding motorcycles. His parents rode them when they were younger, too. Yes… my mother-in-law rode a motorcycle. She even posed on TCP’s new bike. Here’s the post, if you want to see her on it: http://insidenanabreadshead.wordpress.com/2011/01/31/i-love-my-mother-in-law-i-know-sounds-crazy-right-but-its-true/

      TCP talked about getting a motorcycle throughout the years, but waited until our daughter was older. Finally, he decided in his early 40′s that he’d like to buy a motorcycle, so we struck a deal. He got the bike, and I got a dog. Our Boston Terrier, Ziggy, turned 13 this year and TCP is on his second motorcycle. I’m thinking that means I need another dog. I mean, fair’s fair… right? {hee hee}

  5. That viking helmet seems like it would be hard to balance.

    Where’s my lightsaber?

    • I thought the same thing! He’s going to need a neck brace & a couple of Shiners after wearing that for an hour or two. As for light sabers…if we’d had 2-3 more, it would have been an all-out brawl. You can take our dignity, but you’ll never take our freedom!

  6. Deb

    My Sissy & her hubby go to ROT every year & have been saying that we need to make the trip down from S.C. for it one year. I understand it’s quite the weekend, & we plan on coming out one year! Oh the things we’ll see….
    My dear hubby & I just went to Washington DC & rode in the Rolling Thunder parade with over 500,00 bikes this year! It pays tribute to those who have served (my hub included) & it was AMAZING!!!!!! TCP should definately go one year, it is beyond words!!

    • Sounds like a perfect excuse to buy that motorcycle trailer for the support vehicle! I’ll have to tell him about Rolling Thunder so he can look it up. Thanks for telling us about it. I’m sure ROT will seem smaller in comparison, but from the stories I’ve heard about the campground out at the rally, I’d be willing to bet it’s not tamer. Yikes!

      • Deb

        I have heard the campground stories too, & from what I hear, if it can be seen, you’ll see it at ROT!!! I LOVE to sit & people watch so it may just be the best (or craziest) of that, EV-AH!!

        Over a million people go to Rolling Thunder to line the streets of Washington & cheer for the bikes, so you definately have to go too!! It is amazing!!! It takes your breath away!

  7. Big Sis

    Jonah Bear – someone is going to have their hands full – he is way into character in that photo!! :) Tell ‘chicken’ TCP that a photo with his skull cap and shades on would have protected him from the ‘mob’. ;)

  8. This only further confirms that I need to be in Austin for BlogHer Food 2013… And I may never leave.

  9. Seriously getting irritated for my phone comments not showing up on your blog. Grrr…I’m growling at WP Mobile, not you. Although if I were posing on the sweet ride like Jonah-Bear, I might growl at you for the photo op. ;)

    The ROT looks like so much fun, and a great opportunity for people watching. I’m a little bummed that TCP is so camera shy…I was really hoping he was the dude with the longhorns on his helmet. Next year all y’all need light sabers. You can never be too prepared, and a light saber would make an excellent weapon to have on hand in case of an emergency or impromptu battles.

  10. Honestly I never know what to expect from you! Thanks for all the entertaining posts and the wonderful recipes–many of which we’ve tried here and loved. To express my esteem, I’ve nominated you for a Reader Appreciation Award. I know these things are kinda silly, but they’re a good chance to pat someone on the back for a job well done. For info on accepting this nomination, see today’s post on my blog. Thanks and congrats!

  11. I lived in Austin for 3 years and never went to this…sure wish I had…maybe sometime for a visit! Great pictures!

    • Thanks, Kristin. I’m glad you found me. I’m having a lot of fun exploring your blog. Loved your “About” page. And you’re right… gyros are delicious!

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