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Harley Weekend Warriors: Who Are Those Guys (and Gals)?

One local expert said the answer to that question is anybody and everybody. And, most often, he said in a Patch video clip they're simply looking to escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Darren Conrad, one of the owners of Conrad's Harley-Davidson, a family-run business located at 19356 NE Frontage Road in Shorewood, used to ride his race bike at Daytona and Road America.

"Road racing is kind of—you see the guys dragging their knees around the corners," he said. "It's a thrill. I did that for five years on my Harley 883. Then, I switched to Buell's, and I did that for probably another four years. It was a lot of fun. I loved it.

"Nothing beats going into a corner doing 80-mph with 15 guys right around you. It was pretty cool."

Today, he sells Harleys with his father, Ray, and his brother, Patrick. The three have been business together since 1984 and now are in their third location.

"We went from an 8,000 square-foot building to an 80,000 square-foot building," Darren Conrad said. "So, there's definitely been a change there that we've seen throughout the years."

Conrad said one reason motorcycle enthusiasts flock to Harleys is because the bikes are produced in America (and most of the parts, too) and the company has come to be viewed in an iconic fashion.

"Guys—and gals—that ride Harleys are very passionate," Conrad said.

Many belong to Harley clubs and ride in organized events on the weekend. The number of organized events goes up at this time of the year—when the weather breaks.

"There's definitely different groups," Conrad said. "We sponsor a 'HOG' chapter. And 'HOGS' stands for, 'Harley Owners Group.' We have a Joliet chapter. They go on all sorts of rides, do all sorts of charity events. Usually, any Sunday, they're out heading somewhere."

Conrad said Harley riders are aging—and studies show this to be true—but Harley is reaching out to attract the 18-35 year-old demographic through a series of bootcamps this spring.

Conrad's is hosting a bootcamp from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on April 19. The educational event is open to anyone interested in learning more about the Harley brand.

YOU MIGHT LIKE: 101 Reasons to Own (and ride) a Harley-Davidson

saywho April 08, 2013 at 01:22 PM
I always loved seeing the bumper sticker "START SEEING MOTORCYCLES!" How about "MOTORCYCLISTS, START DRIVING RESPONSIBLY AND MAYBE YOU'LL BE SEEN!"
anonymous April 08, 2013 at 01:30 PM
The answer to the article title's question-"d-bags"
Infamous Steve April 08, 2013 at 01:34 PM
Amen to that!
Infamous Steve April 08, 2013 at 01:35 PM
That as well! There have only been a few nice days so far to hear them and I am already tired of it.
Maynard R. Jerome April 08, 2013 at 05:48 PM
It’s really unfortunate that many (not all) Harley riders feel that since their costumes don’t call quite enough attention to themselves, they feel the need to run straight-pipes or nearly straight pipes that are so loud, no one can possibly miss them in all their plumage & racket. It’s inconsiderate in the extreme. Their entirely excessive noise is bothersome to anyone within a thousand or more feet of them who would rather listen to something other than their immature hormonal displays. It’s no different than teenaged boys squealing their tires to impress the girls, except most of those kids outgrow this once they find more effective ways to impress the girls. Additionally, the cops have decided to enforce the laws against noisy tire-squealers, but for some unknown reason, apparently not Harley riders who are equally in violation of that law. Now before all the hate mail starts, let me say that I’ve ridden motorcycles since I was sixteen and I’m sixty-three now, so I KNOW that you don’t need loud pipes to be safe on a bike. That's no more than a weak excuse for juvenile behavior. Somehow, they've concocted this belief that God has endowed them with the right to bother everyone around them with their loud pipes. I also KNOW that helmets save lives, but that’s another whole subject involving “profiling” vs safe riding.
Don N April 08, 2013 at 06:08 PM
Wow glad to see the support for motorcycle riders in these comments. Seems people are never happy unless they have something to complain about. I think of all the things bikers including myself do. From charity rides, helping our military, toys for tots, the list goes on....
Maynard R. Jerome April 08, 2013 at 06:17 PM
All those things are very commendable Don, but is it an "either - or" situation where you'll only do these good things if you can have annoyingly loud pipes? How about all the Goldwing or Yamaha riders who do good things too... must they start running obnoxious pipes to "fit in"? My earlier comment in no way besmirched any of the good things motorcycle riders do (Harley or otherwise), any more than crazy-loud pipes have anything to do with Toys-forTots, charity rides, etc.
anonymous April 08, 2013 at 06:33 PM
This is great for conrad's-free advertising from The Patch. R Kremer probably got some free a$$less chaps for the free plug.
Chris April 08, 2013 at 10:09 PM
Amen, I am so sick of having a nice day to open the windows, get some fresh air only to have to shut them and turn on the AC five minutes later because the noise is annoying as s***!
Chris April 08, 2013 at 10:10 PM
Couldn't have said it better.
Chris April 08, 2013 at 10:14 PM
Do harley riders like that they are annoying? Or do they just not know how annoying they are? I always wondered.
Chris April 08, 2013 at 10:15 PM
I want to make a "Stop HEARING motorcycles" bumper sticker.
Brian Wendholt April 08, 2013 at 10:27 PM
Well, if the chaps ARE a$$less, I'll point Kremer towards YOU!
Don N April 09, 2013 at 03:30 PM
MRJChannahon its obvious you are not familiar with the other styles of Yamaha's and Honda's that have loud exhaust also. Or every classic car on the road. There are bad apples in every bunch. It just amazes me how people take every opportunity to complain cause they have nothing better to do. How about focus on what the article is about. A local family owned business that is striving. In this economy thats a great thing. People like you complain on things like this cause it makes you feel important. You never focus on what the actual story is about only your complaints. This will be my final entry as I'm sure you will rant on and on. Still missing what this story was about...
Maynard R. Jerome April 09, 2013 at 11:55 PM
Have a good one Don, and IF you're running loud pipes, please try to be considerate of those who don't enjoy the noise. Now go get some bugs in your teeth from the big smile the highway brings!

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