York Bike Night returns for 25th year

For a quarter of a century, York Bike Night has been a local tradition, with festivities at the York Expo Center and a parade through the city's downtown.

The York City- and Harley-Davidson-sponsored event returned Saturday, drawing motorcycle enthusiasts from far and wide.

"I've been riding since I was a kid," said Terry Delp, a Dover Township resident and self-proclaimed "redneck boy" who got on his first bike at age 17.

He recalled York County's Bike Nights from years ago — weeklong affairs with pull-up stands and swap meets. 

Terry Delp, left, and his wife Stephanie Delp, both of Dover Township, during the 25th Annual York Bike Night in York, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Delp returned Saturday with his wife, Stephanie — there for her first Bike Night — who he hopes will ride for the first time on his 2001 Sportster after he finishes rebuilding it. 

More:Harley-Davidson ends open house ahead of York Bike Night

At the Expo Center grandstand, groups of first-timers and seasoned patrons of bike events across the country gather to listen to rock band Local Corn and survey a wide array of bikes on display.

Rob Stewart, of York City, admired a Bobby Chopper with a springer front end — an "old-school" style he said he doesn't see too often anymore.

Stewart, and many others, said they were also there for the community.

"I like the people, the camaraderie," he said, adding that bikers are really good people who are often misunderstood.

Big Mike Taylor, of the Infamous Ryders, and his wife LoLo of the Street Queenz, prior to the 25th Annual York Bike Night bike parade in York, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. Dawn J. Sagert photo

York-based biker club Infamous Ryders has been together 12 years, and when they're not traveling to bike weeks, they're giving back to their communities through toy, food and clothing donations and other charitable work.

"That's what I love the most," said Lolo Taylor, president of the all-women support group Street Queenz, which started this February.

In fact, some motorcycle clubs have a long history of support and encouragement for one another, such as the Motor Maids — a women's group started in 1940 that has grown to 1,500 members across the U.S. and Canada.

"We are ladies," said Pam Harris, of Cranston, Rhode Island, "not biker babes, biker chicks." 

A member since 2011, she said the group is fun and supportive, and there's a real sense of that camaraderie in promoting women bikers. She rides her denim blue 2018 Can-am Spyder three-wheeler — already at 15,000 miles — to many different conventions and events across the country.

This year's turnout was very good, despite it being the first year Harley stopped offering its popular Saturday open house tour, said Bike Night committee member Brad Rugh.

More:York Bike Week brings test rides, parades and concerts

More:York Bike Week adds events to city's longstanding tradition

"I liked that Harley had the open house," said Kevin Vanzwol, a 32-year biker who now rides a 2019 Harley Tri Glide.

Instead, a local group organized events throughout the week, culminating in the traditional parade downtown Saturday night. About 700 riders sat poised to take off at about 5 p.m. 

"If you do it, you'll fall in love with it," Delp said about biking. "It's that simple."