The Austin Chronicle

Luv Doc Recommends: ROT Rally Parade

Congress Avenue, Friday, June 11, 2010

By The Luv Doc, June 11, 2010, Columns

If you're into beef jerky, this weekend your meat market is going to get a whole lot bigger. The incessant rumble of Harleys should have told you something is up, and that something is the Republic of Texas Biker Rally, aka the ROT Rally, the annual gathering of 50,000 or so motorcycle enthusiasts that takes place in Austin each June – mainly out at the Travis County Expo Center but also at swank places like Bikinis Sports Bar & Grill, Twin Peaks, Hooters, and Coyote Ugly. For most Austinites, the locus is a little harder to pin down. If you're anywhere inside the loop, the incessant cacophony of blurts and pops rattling every sash in your home might lead you to believe there's a hawg rally right in your backyard. If you're feeling a little smug about living in the suburbs or exurbs, don't gloat. There's nothing like having your REM sleep shattered at three in the morning by the farting exhaust of some bewildered biker tooling through your quiet subdivision to remind you that the ROT Rally isn't just that thing they have at that place out past the dump. No, ROT is all up in our chili, parading down Congress, tearing around the Hill Country, clogging up Sixth Street, and scaring away nearly as many hipsters as the Texas Relays. The difference with ROT is that nobody is going to be closing down clubs for this crowd. Sure, there are still some scary biker gangs – leathery old dudes with meth-rotted grills and biker bitches who look like the granny from the Playboy cartoons (especially topless) – but a huge swath of the ROT demo are suburban professionals: lawyers, accountants, and middle-management types who had a deferred midlife crisis and dropped 20 large on a steel show pony thinking they could recapture the wild youth they never had. In a way, they have … as long as their wild youth fantasies involved hanging out with a bunch of trussed up, rheumatoid old dudes in mechanic-themed bars listening to Van Halen and hitting on saddle-bagged, butter-faced 35-year-old women in leather halter tops. Careful, even though you might feel compelled to pop off audibly to your skinny-jeaned buddies about some potbellied, do-ragged sexagenarian who is wearing a T-shirt that says, "Yeah, I'm hitting that!," don't discount the possibility that the shirt's meaning is literal. With bikers, you just never know. You should also consider the possibility that anyone willing to spend their recreational hours straddling a 600 pound suicycle/legchopper/murdercycle probably has a bit of a death wish – and really, wouldn't you if you were tapping that? The best policy for most people is to just lay low until the whole thing blows over – ideally with a bottle of Demerol and some really expensive noise-canceling headphones. On the other hand, if you're one of those hellions like Sandy Bullock who gets turned on by a guy who gets turned on by a huge vibrator with wheels, you'll want to make sure to get down to Congress Avenue this Friday night for the "Longest Parade of Motorcycles Known to Mankind." At around 8pm, nearly all the cyclists from the Expo Center will rumble through a waiting throng of willing voyeurs. Yes, you can bring dogs and children, but it's about as smart as taking them to Mardi Gras. It's pretty safe bet that both animal and child will surely be debauched at some point during the evening. Yes, there is beauty – some of the finest, most lovingly cared for machines you will every see – but there is also plenty of ugliness as well, both figurative and literal. Regardless, it's all riveting entertainment … and afterward you get your fun tank topped off with a concert by Vallejo, Grady featuring Dee Snider, and the L.A. Guns. If you've never been to the ROT Rally, Friday night will give you a good taste: tough and salty, but ultimately satisfying – sort of like beef jerky.

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