Downtown REVS UP
By RON LEONARDI, Erie Times-News
Brian Lewis parked his 2002 Harley-Davidson Sportster near East 11th and State streets early Friday evening and gazed at a steady stream of fellow bikers motoring past him.
There was no way the 49-year-old Millcreek Township resident was going to miss the first of the season’s four scheduled Bike Nights in downtown Erie.
“I decided that this year is my 50th birthday, I’m buying a bike and I’m doing Bike Nights,” Lewis said. “I had a Honda years ago, but kids and sports and all that stuff kill you. I figured now it’s time for something for dad.”
Lewis watched as hundreds of bikes flowed north and south on State Street, lining both sides from Fourth to 14th streets.
Ron Konieczki, 66, of Erie, rode his 2012 apple red Harley-Davidson Tri Glide he bought in Florida in summer 2012 to Friday’s event.
He found a parking spot near the Plymouth Tavern, 1109 State St., had dinner there, then spent the evening hanging out with friends.
“The sound of the motorcycles and the people around puts a little zip in the town again,” Konieczki said. “It’s been kind of a slow winter, and this really picks everybody up.”
Many downtown bars and restaurants did brisk business.
“This is good for Erie,” Konieczki said. “We need it. We need a little boost in the arm for spending. It brings people out.”
A lipstick red 1955 Harley-Davidson Hydra Glide motorcycle near 11th and State streets turned heads.
The bike’s owner, Gordon Bowe, 57, of Millcreek Township, bought the motorcycle in 1981 for $1,800.
“I hibernate in the winter, then I come out here and see all my old friends,” he said. “I know probably about 50 percent of the people down here. I’ve been doing this for 40 years. Everybody rides by and all I do is wave, and they know my name.”
Friday’s event ran from 6 to 10 p.m.
“This is always a good time,” said Millcreek Township resident Yvonne Glenn, 45, who attended Bike Night with her husband, Richard, 54. “You walk around and see some old friends that you don’t run into a lot.”
Lewis, who will celebrate his 50th in October, couldn’t wait to attend his first Bike Night.
“It’s a lot of fun and you get a good gathering. … It’s something different. I sold all my toys through divorce, so now it’s time to go the other way. It’s all good.”
Three more Bike Nights are scheduled this summer: June 14, July 12 and Aug. 30.
RON LEONARDI can be reached at 870-1680 or by e-mail.