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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm so in love with Harley right now. Harley-Davidson hosted their second ever "Ride With Pride" event in Milwaukee yesterday. Last year was a test to see how well the LGBTQ community would respond to HD reaching out. The response was phenomenal so this year they went all out.

I don't normally do Pride events but somehow having bikes has made me more active in the community.

Any company can drape a rainbow over their logo, but HD went the extra mile. If I can have any criticism, it's that they didn't advertise this ride outside of the Milwaukee PrideFest page.

So HD expected 500 bikes but got about 200. Some of us believed it's because a better advertised police ride event was happening elsewhere in the city.

Harley's idea is to smash expectations, break records, and show the world that they love and support all motorcyclists no matter what flag they fly. They wanted to create the largest rainbow flag motorcycle ride in history. No idea if they achieved it, but it was still good fun!

I took out the Goldwing for the ride and arrived far too early, making me first in line by over 30 minutes. Starting point was the awesome Harley-Davidson Museum that I'm so going to visit for real the first chance I get.



The ride was an hour long around Milwaukee’s neighborhoods and across the Hoan Bridge. Pace was a comfortable and constant 20-30mph so slow bikes didn’t have to worry about falling behind. The most amazing part was the police escort from start to finish! I like being able to run red lights and ignore all signage.

HD commemorated the event by designing a pin that an exec (they had a few of those present, that's how serious they were) claims is the first time the shield and bars have been paired with a rainbow. They only made 500 of these things and they only got handed out at this event.

This is their stock photo of the pin. It's an actual rainbow, but I think whoever does their social media ran it through a bad Instagram filter and got this:



Participating in the event also got you free passes to PrideFest and they also had Demo bikes on hand. Unfortunately I completely forgot to demo a bike until I was already halfway home. Oof.

The bike variety was as awesome as the people were! Everything from scooters to ADVs to trikes showed up. There was even a couple with a Road King that was concealing massive speakers and subwoofers.


(Edit: Huh, never had an image hosting site use a swear word in the URL before. lol)



A few Royal Enfields showed up and the first Norton I've ever seen in real life!



This Triumph Bonneville has an interesting story. It's a 2005 but has a lot of patina because the owner has never washed or cleaned it and never plans to.



This experience has definitely heightened my interest in trying a Harley and learning more about the brand. If you live outside of a major city and are "out and proud" it’s not always easy finding a home as a LGBTQ motorcyclist and they wanted to help bridge that gap. And sure, you could say that they’re just trying to pander to get sales, but you know what I really don’t care. They could have just made a rainbow logo like everyone else, but they wanted to make history.

And while this may alienate some of their buyers they plan to spread this event all over the media with pride (they brought their entire media team for this). You'll probably see me in a bunch of shots soon enough! It seems Harley really is committed to changing their public image.

I've always been interested in riding a Harley to see what it's like, but now I'm actually going to commit to it. I really want to see what makes Harley have the stranglehold on the American bike market that it has.
 

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Glad you had a good time, but I don't get the whole "pride" thing. The homosexual community has long fought the idea, patently false to me, that homosexuality is a life choice rather than an inborn trait in some people. But pride is something in response to an accomplishment. How is one proud of something that they had no control over? I may be pleased with myself, but I'm not proud of being white, or straight, or formerly red haired. These are all things over which I had no control and had no say in whether they exist or not. I am proud of being a veteran. I am proud of being a father and grandfather. I am proud of still being an active motorcyclist even as a senior citizen. These are all things that I have accomplished, or made a specific decision to do. Personally I think it is a sign of progress in our society that people can be straight or gay, white or black, healthy of disabled and still all be treated equally under the law and be free to live their lives as they choose. But all this hoopla by gay people over their pride in being gay makes no more sense than if the rest of us held parades and festivals celebrating our pride in being heterosexual.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Honestly I'm just about the worst person for this since I'm so disconnected with the community. If it weren't for the whole Harley-Davidson event and riding in a massive group, I would have done something else with my Saturday.

Some far older than me gay people have told me that Pride wasn't always like it is today. It used to be a celebration that society has largely moved on from the dark years of beatings and murders. Then for a while it was about getting same sex marriage.

I do think it's a sign of progress that we are even able to have a celebration here as opposed to the riots and violence that happens in less friendly countries.
 

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@vito,
I have an uncle and a brother that are gay. We once discussed my same thoughts that you have about "pride."

The reason it's gay Pride is that for most of history, being gay meant being underground or being ostracized.
Whether or not homosexuality is "inborn trait" or "life choice" isn't really the question.
And none of the things you stated being proud of, has ever been shunned or even criminalized. There are times not too long ago, and places not too far away when homosexuals did not have the same rights as you and I.

In the same way you or I can understand what it's like to be a woman, or minority. We cannot really understand the issues that gay people still face in this country. I can walk hand in hand with my girlfriend and give her a quick smooch in public. But, I personally have seen the looks and sneers from holier-than thou asshats when my brother and his husband do the same.

"Gay Pride" is a simple, "bumper sticker" way to say that they aren't going back into the closet.
 

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When I worked for the Harbour Authority in Victoria BC, the company that claimed to support all people in the community.
The smart folks higher up, oversaw the raising of the gay pride flag. Having achieved their mission, they ignored the parade, and left the flag flying upside down. I had even told the stupid supervisor, purple on the bottom, like my socks.
I changed the flag before too much harm was done.

Had lunch / breakfast today, with a lady whose wife is another lady.

UK
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
@vito,
I have an uncle and a brother that are gay. We once discussed my same thoughts that you have about "pride."

The reason it's gay Pride is that for most of history, being gay meant being underground or being ostracized.
Whether or not homosexuality is "inborn trait" or "life choice" isn't really the question.
And none of the things you stated being proud of, has ever been shunned or even criminalized. There are times not too long ago, and places not too far away when homosexuals did not have the same rights as you and I.

In the same way you or I can understand what it's like to be a woman, or minority. We cannot really understand the issues that gay people still face in this country. I can walk hand in hand with my girlfriend and give her a quick smooch in public. But, I personally have seen the looks and sneers from holier-than thou asshats when my brother and his husband do the same.

"Gay Pride" is a simple, "bumper sticker" way to say that they aren't going back into the closet.
Described it far better than me! <3 It's weird you mention the kissing thing. Even in super liberal Chicago I get looks and sneers for simply holding my date's hand. Bizarrely enough, in my current small city (right leaning) nobody even bats an eye at it.

I also find that a lot of car and motorcycle groups are still toxic to us, so it really meant a lot to see one of the biggest and most popular motor companies in the world to flex their muscles.
 
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It's a good thing the speed was in the 20-30mph range.
I don't think those, what look like PVC flagpoles, would have made it for much more.
I worry about my fiberglass poles at anything above 65mph but they have survived
80mph for very brief periods and some steady 70mph for 45 miles at times.
But PVC ???, I don't think so. Even with those thin fabric flags.
Certainly glad you all had a good time. Harley is good at events like that.
 

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@vito,
I have an uncle and a brother that are gay. We once discussed my same thoughts that you have about "pride."

The reason it's gay Pride is that for most of history, being gay meant being underground or being ostracized.
Whether or not homosexuality is "inborn trait" or "life choice" isn't really the question.
And none of the things you stated being proud of, has ever been shunned or even criminalized. There are times not too long ago, and places not too far away when homosexuals did not have the same rights as you and I.

In the same way you or I can understand what it's like to be a woman, or minority. We cannot really understand the issues that gay people still face in this country. I can walk hand in hand with my girlfriend and give her a quick smooch in public. But, I personally have seen the looks and sneers from holier-than thou asshats when my brother and his husband do the same.

"Gay Pride" is a simple, "bumper sticker" way to say that they aren't going back into the closet.
Good points. I hadn't thought of it that way.
 

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It's a good thing the speed was in the 20-30mph range.
I don't think those, what look like PVC flagpoles, would have made it for much more.
I worry about my fiberglass poles at anything above 65mph but they have survived
80mph for very brief periods and some steady 70mph for 45 miles at times.
But PVC ???, I don't think so. Even with those thin fabric flags.
Certainly glad you all had a good time. Harley is good at events like that.
The look on the guys face in picture is having the same thought as you. LOL
 

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For most of history the word "gay" did not refer to a person of the homosexual persuasion. In its original form it meant 'carefree,' cheerful or bright and showy. I went to school with more than one girl whose first name was Gay. Its use gradually increased in the mid 20th century by homosexuals and then the word pride was added a bit later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It's a good thing the speed was in the 20-30mph range.
I don't think those, what look like PVC flagpoles, would have made it for much more.
I worry about my fiberglass poles at anything above 65mph but they have survived
80mph for very brief periods and some steady 70mph for 45 miles at times.
But PVC ???, I don't think so. Even with those thin fabric flags.
Certainly glad you all had a good time. Harley is good at events like that.
Oh yeah, definitely thankful for those low speeds! Apparently I was the only one to lose a flag. The Goldwing has something that looks like a flag holder on the back and I swear that sucker was in there good, but it took off when we went over Hoan Bridge. The guy with that Triumph put the flags on after arriving. Not exactly sure where the PVC came from because he sure didn't arrive with them! :D

If all of Harley's events are awesomely fun like this I may just have to get myself one! :)
 

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Described it far better than me! <3 It's weird you mention the kissing thing. Even in super liberal Chicago I get looks and sneers for simply holding my date's hand. Bizarrely enough, in my current small city (right leaning) nobody even bats an eye at it.

I also find that a lot of car and motorcycle groups are still toxic to us, so it really meant a lot to see one of the biggest and most popular motor companies in the world to flex their muscles.
Not my words, Mercedes. It's almost verbatim how it was explained to me by my uncle when I brought up the same question that vito had posed.


Oh, and next time you in the area of the HD museum. Hop down a few blocks and grab a bite/brew at Fuel Café. Cool place with great food. Hell, my GF and I might be down that way in July, we'll meet you there!
 

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I love my Harley and totally encourage you to try one. It's a great motorcycle brand. I think a lot of people who bash them either have never ridden one, or they had a bad experience with some chopped up bike from the bad old days. There was a time when Harley bikes were not very reliable. Seems to have hit their reputation. Then there is the marketing problem with Harley so plugged into the Baby Boomers that they missed everyone else. Then there is the "biker" bad boy image, which does not fit everyone (definitely not me).

None of these issues have anything at all to do with the current motorcycles and what it is like to ride them. They are comfortable and smooth and stable and confidence inspiring motorcycles that can handle anything the real-life road will throw at them. Wind? What wind? Rain? Easy. Potholes? Bump-bump. Grooved pavement? Can't even tell it's there. Long ride? Short ride? Highway ride? No problem with any of the above. It's addictive to have such a confident and relaxing experience on a motorcycle. Not to mention that most people can actually touch the ground with both feet.

Probably a lot like the Goldwing, really, but with a different engine rhythm to the engine.
 

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Sounds like you had a good day!

Kudos to HD for going outside their normal stereotype box and taking some risk to their bad boy biker image here. I bet there was some serious discussion at their headquarters before they decided to support a Pride event. That's the kind of thinking that will keep them in business, companies have to change with the times.
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
It was an awesome day!

Indeed, they were super serious about this event. They had a couple execs do speeches and they had their whole media team filming the event. Unless something happens between now and then, they're going to market this hard.

I'm already planning a trip back out there to check out the museum and do some demo rides. My only fear is that I'll be hooked and I'll absolutely have to buy one! :D

Side note: On the way out to Milwaukee I rode alongside a Victory Vision. It was the first Victory I've ever seen on the roads and just...oh my gosh I love the design! I especially loved how the pipes were shaped with the tail of the bike.
 
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Visions were 20 years ahead of their time when introduced, and since the oldest like my very early 08 are only 11 years old the world still hasn't caught up :)

Be careful, I want to warn you that as someone who appreciates the design of a Vision
Don't test ride one unless your willing to own one.

Victory Visions are addictive, the looks will draw you in and the ride will have you hooked. You've been warned! The only good thing is that there are some incredible deals out there right now. I have 2 and have been finding it hard to resist buying a 3rd!


Side note: On the way out to Milwaukee I rode alongside a Victory Vision. It was the first Victory I've ever seen on the roads and just...oh my gosh I love the design! I especially loved how the pipes were shaped with the tail of the bike.
 
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