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!”