Hell hath no fury like a biker scorned by journalism
Apparently, the Hells Angels are a bit sensitive about their reputation.
At least, that’s the impression I got as one long-haired member barked at me from his booth at last weekend’s Easyrider Bike Show Tour 2010 stop.
“You better not write any of this shit!” he warned.
My bad? I’d spotted a wall of merchandise hanging behind the tattooed Angels and asked, “When did you guys go from beating up people to selling T-shirts?”
Stupid, I know.
See, my roommate and I arrived at the show Saturday afternoon expecting raucous, alcohol-fueled debauchery. You know, the kind of badassery you’d expect from large biker crowds: flames, wet T-shirt contests, brawls.
Instead, we found something more Costco than biker show. I guess when Geico sponsors your event and Budweisers cost $6.50, things stay tame. Inside the spacious hall were more leather-clad bodies than at the San Francisco Pride parade. Hooters’ girls posed with groping fat dudes who wouldn’t have a chance with them in real life.
The edgiest display was a booth selling anti-Obama hats, shirts and bumper stickers. My roommate, J.R., pointed out a “Beware Islam” shirt, the “S” replaced with a swastika.
We wandered the rows of merchants while a cover band butchered Journey’s greatest hits. A James Hetfield look-alike with a leather vest and bushy goatee mouthed the chorus to “Lights.” We also ran into a guy dressed head to toe in animal skins twisting balloons into wildlife for kids.
At the booth for the Soldiers for Jesus Motorcycle Club, a guy named Wrench said, “We’re just letting people know that Jesus loves bikers, too,” and handed over a yellow tract.
The Hells Angels booth sat directly behind the Soldiers for Jesus. I figured the infamous biker gang that now dresses up in Santa suits for charity toy runs would have a sense of humor.
“Where did you hear that we beat people up?” the long-haired guy demanded.
I mentioned Hunter S. Thompson’s book.
“That fuck was a lying fucking fuck,” he growled. “Are you a reporter?”
Getting punched in the neck was not on my to-do list, so I walked away.
At 5:30 p.m., all-female dance troupe Purrfect Angelz took the stage. The dancers spent most of the performance going over their résumés.
“I was in all five Bring It On movies,” chirped one dancer. “So go rent them.”
J.R. looked over at me. “This is so depressing,” he sighed.
On the way to the exit, we spotted the bikes from Easy Rider.
“Those aren’t the real bikes, are they?” I wondered.
“No, they’re just replicas,” said J.R.