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Almost 'hog' heaven, W.Va.

August 21, 2005|By CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.VA.

Wearing her specially made goggles, a scarf and a Harley-Davidson hat, Baby looks like a pro on her motorcycle.

She's actually only been riding for about six months. And she's a dachshund.

The dog rode in a pouch strapped to Sandy Crouse's chest Saturday during Bike Night in Martinsburg.

More than 600 motorcyclists took part in a scenic ride through Berkeley and Jefferson counties before parking downtown to eat, drink, shop and listen to live music.

When Crouse and her husband, Wayne, got Baby, they decided to turn her into a bike enthusiast.

Sandy Crouse, of Shepherdstown, W.Va., helped Baby get acclimated to loud noise by carrying her in the pouch while mowing her lawn.

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Now, the dog seems to enjoy riding on the couple's 2002 Harley-Davidson Deuce.

"She doesn't try to get out," Sandy Crouse said.

Many of the bikes parked along the city's streets garnered admiring looks, including a 1969 Harley-Davidson former police special owned by Steve and Sharon Walker of Hagerstown.

Steve Walker bought the bike from the Washington (D.C.) Police Department at an auction in 1975 for around $1,500.

Painted orange, the bike has a sidecar in which Sharon Walker rides.

"It's very comfortable," Sharon Walker said. "I can stay nice and warm while he freezes. I can stretch my legs."

In 1976, the couple and their 2-year-old daughter spent 68 days and 9,000 miles riding the motorcycle across the United States and back.

At the time, Sharon was pregnant with the couple's son.

The Walkers started in McLean, Va., rode on Route 2 west to Washington state, went down a coastal road to California, headed east through the south and then back to Virginia on Skyline Drive.

"We're going to do it again, but without the kids," Steve Walker said.

Not all of those in Martinsburg rode in on a motorcycle.

Meta Foster, 74, was sitting in a lawn chair outside of the library.

She said she came into town to see "the bikes. These beautiful pieces of machinery."

Although she has ridden a bicycle and horses nearly all of her life, Foster has never ridden a motorcycle. She's hoping to garner a ride as a birthday present.

Her dream motorcycle?

"The biggest Harley they make," Foster said. "That is the sweetheart of bikes."

Bike Night was organized by West Virginia Blue Knights Chapter V and Main Street Martinsburg.

More than $4,000 was raised through a voluntary registration fee and pin sales. Sales of T-shirts and beer remained to be tallied, said Chris McCulley, with the Blue Knights chapter.

Proceeds benefit Main Street Martinsburg, Hospice of the Panhandle and other charities.

"It's getting better and better," McCulley said of the event.




Stick with it


From the Choppers to the antique motorcycles, most bikes are meant to be admired. Some riders also want their helmets to be read.

Nearly every helmet at Bike Night seemed to have at least one sticker plastered to it, with the sayings ranging from political commentary to crude humor.

Many had lewd slogans not suitable for a family newspaper.

Some referenced a rider's preferred make.

"The last biker on Earth will be riding a Harley," one read, while another said, "I'd rather push a Harley than ride a Honda."

A few offered advice on what to do after imbibing a few drinks of the alcoholic variety, including this one: "If at first you don't succeed, buy her another beer."

With some stickers, the helmet-wearer's gender was obvious.

"P.M.S. allows a woman to act once a month like a man does every day," one read.

Age also could be guessed.

"Old age and treachery always overcome youth and skill," one sticker read.

A few referenced the noise associated with motorcycles, including "Loud pipes save lives," and "If it's too loud, you're too old."

Passionate riders had stickers such as, "For some there's therapy, for the rest of us there's motorcycles," and "My bike doesn't leak, it marks its territory."

Scathing might be the best adjective to describe some of the stickers.

"I'm not prejudiced. I hate everybody," a sticker read. "If you can't feed them, don't breed them," another advised.

"Be nice to me. It's my tax dollars that will support you in prison," read another.

One sticker could make a voyeur smirk.

"Get your own sticker and stop reading mine," it read.

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