Hundreds of motorcycle riders from across Long Island and beyond descended on the Elks Lodge in Riverhead Sunday for a day of music and activities.
The “Rally in Riverhead” was organized by local members of the Road Reapers Motorcycle Club, which also has charters in Virginia and Minnesota.
Members of the local group, which has a clubhouse on Route 25 in Riverhead, said they expected about 250 to 300 people to show up to the event, which featured games and skill competitions, vendors from local businesses and performances from three rock bands, including Lower the Veil out of New Jersey.
Among the vendors was Lisa Chiovarelli of Renegade Classics, a Riverhead motorcycle gear and accesseries shop she opened with her brother, Vince, last year. The two also own a Renegade shop in Deer Park, where the live.
Even a tattoo artist, Tattoos by Wade, set up shop at the party behind the Elks building.
“The East End is fantastic,” said the local Reaper group’s president, Chris “Lucky” Lowe. “We’ve been reaching out, and for us, we’re all about community and being part of the community.
“There are lots of stigmas out there. This is a nice opportunity for the community to come out and see us and meet us; meet some of our members. And really, today’s just a big party.”
The event was scheduled to run from noon to 6 p.m.
Between taking donations of $10 each from an ever-growing line of bikers who showed to the event just after noon Sunday, Reapers member L.J. James said the day is all about having fun.
“We don’t have the money to go to Sturgis,” he said of the rally held every year this week in South Dakota. “That’s one of the biggest biker gatherings in the world. So, we tried to bring Sturgis to Riverhead.”
Also addressing the stigmas about bikers, Mr. James said the attendees to Sunday’s event were “not boys looking for trouble, but men looking to have a nice time.”
Among the competitions was a slowest biker contest, with riders trying to drive as slow as possible without touching their feet to the floor, which, as the biker explained, is harder than it might sound.
When they’re not rallying, many of the bikers attend or otherwise help raise money for charities, Mr. Lowe said. Those include the Bikers for Babies ride, which raises money and awareness for infant premature birth, birth defects and infant mortality, and the annual Big Tom Burg U.S. Marine Toy Drive, among others.
Most biker groups, including the Reapers, also work closely with veterans and veterans groups, often providing funeral escorts, Mr. Lowe said.
“If you know anything about biker culture it has its roots in the military,” he said.