Today's motorcyclists have families and good jobs.
By IAN HILL
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
CANFIELD -- Forget a night at the movies, a romantic dinner, or a moonlight cruise for two. Some local residents say that if you want to bond with your husband or wife, jump on the back of a motorcycle and hit the road.
"It gives us something to do together," said Ron Berardino, a married motorcycle enthusiast from Boardman.
Berardino and his wife, Sabrina, were one of several couples to ride into the Canfield Fair Friday night for the fair's first Bike Night. Sabrina said a motorcycle gives her and her husband the opportunity to do something different together on the weekends.
"It's a great alternative to going to bars," she said. Sabrina and Ron have a 2002 Dyna Superglide motorcycle.
Al Everson and his wife, Jan, of Salem, came to Bike Night on a 1987 Venture motorcycle. The couple said they recently rode to Maine on their motorcycle.
"There's a mountain out there, and you ride through the clouds," Al said. Jan added, "It was beautiful."
Enjoying the freedom
Brenda Calai of Struthers said she and her husband, Jim, enjoy the freedom of riding a motorcycle. Jim Calai called it "the air in your hair."
The couple rode in on a 2000 Harley-Davidson.
George Less of Green Township said he believes many couples and families are turning to motorcycles and events like Bike Night for wholesome entertainment.
"It's not to do with drinking and partying," he said.
Less is a fair board member who rode to Bike Night with his wife, Penny, on a 2000 Harley-Davidson Soft Tail motorcycle. He said board members created Bike Night after realizing that people were forgoing the fair on Friday night to watch high school football.
Less said the board hoped Bike Night would attract people to help offset the loss of the football fans.
Number of participants
About 325 motorcycles were registered in Bike Night. Registration cost $6 for each motorcycle. Fair admission also cost $6. Those who registered for Bike Night also were given admission to the fair.
Motorcycles entered in Bike Night were judged in a variety of categories, including appearance and safety. The owners of the winning motorcycles received trophies. Bill English, an Austintown resident who helped organize Bike Night for the fair, said he thinks the event is a nice addition.
"We enjoy ourselves riding anywhere, but [here] you've got the fair," he said. English is a member of the Gold Wing Road Riders Association motorcycle group.
Ron Berardino noted that most motorcycle events like Bike Night do not draw gang members and drug users. He said many of today's motorcycle enthusiasts have good 9-to-5 jobs.
"Nowadays, at $16,000 for a new bike, you have to have a good job" Ron Berardino said. He said he works as a corrections officer at a federal penitentiary.
Less added that he believes the image of the motorcycle has evolved since it was seen as an instrument of rebellion in the 1950s.
"The idea of bikes have changed so much over the years," Less said.
Today, people can have both a family and a Harley, he said.