The famous Austin, Texas Friday Night Motorcycle Parade is a must-do for anyone to participate in during ROT with thousands of motorcycles on the streets of downtown Austin.
With flags flying high and engines revving, the city of Austin, Texas welcomes 200,000 bikers for one weekend of motorcycle madness known as the Republic of Texas Biker Rally. 2011 marks the 17th running of the ROT Rally, bringing with it another year of high caliber live music acts, celebrity bike builders and attractions such as the Friday Night Motorcycle Parade, Ride-In Bike Show, Custom Bike Builder Exhibit, Team FMX Stunt Jumpers, downtown Austin party zone and much more.
Home base for the ROT Rally is located 15 minutes from downtown Austin at the Travis County Expo Center and offers an amazing experience for any motorcycle enthusiast who likes to party and socialize with his fellow bikers. The 128-acre facility incorporates camping, RV parking and on site entertainment allowing bikers to stay the weekend to participate in a no-holds-bar party festival. Snaking through the grounds is what is known as the party highway where bikers can ‘run what they brung’, including wild home-built vehicles mixed in with motorcycles, golf carts and UTVs.
This guy has the best seat in the house when it comes to viewing concerts and getting around the vendor area.
During the night hours this highway becomes the center of attention with bikes roaring, booze flowing and babes rocking body paint well into the early morning hours.
This year the ROT Rally was blessed with sun and mild humidity which in turn became a perfect recipe for a kick-ass biker weekend. The expo center had over 300 vendors on site selling everything from leather bags to homemade Texas BBQ. Entertainment during the day included the high flying freestyle motocross riders of Team FMX East whipping-out back flips and heel clickers along with daily shows from two-time World Trials Champion Tommi Ahvala. His gravity defying stunts took place on a course made of vertical ramps and huge platforms so spectators could soak in the action from many angles. As the sun set on the horizon the fun really revved up. The Texas night air becomes filled with live music from top artists such as Eddie Money and The Doobie Brothers on the main stage for Saturday’s headliner. The crowd loved the bands and the bands made the most of it by rocking hard into the night.
A popular destination at the expo center was the Custom Bike Builder Exhibit featuring local and national builders showcasing their newest rolling works of art. Sinister Industries had several custom baggers on the floor but one bike stood out among the rest, coated in bright electric green paint with tattoo inspired graphics. On the other side of the spectrum sat Texas native bike builder Rick Fairless, owner of Strokers Dallas. Fairless showcased his love for beer with a custom Miller Lite motorcycle that would quench the thirst of any bike riding beer lover. Other builders included Hostile Cycles, who participated in the Discovery Channels TV show Biker Build-Off, Local builders Southern Metal Choppers and all the way from Sioux City, Iowa was Siouxicide Choppers with a pristine custom motorcycle dressed in green and white paint complete with some stinger pipes and a lucky charm seat.
(Left) Sinister Industries has gone green with their low bad-boy bagger. (Center) Just looking at thr Rick fairless Miller Lite themed custom bike makes us thirsty for more. (Right) This wild John Deere themed trike would make any Texas rancher proud.
Only 25 miles away from the expo center sits downtown Austin where bikers come together for the ROT Rally Friday Night Motorcycle Parade that takes riders down Congress Street and into the heart of the city. With Dallas only a three-hour ride to Austin, Houston and San Antonio, the stage is set for a massive assault on the capitol of Texas. Each year the motorcycle parade only gets larger and this year was no exception with well over an estimated 200,000 bikers and admirers participating in the world famous motorcycle parade. The parade is so large that the Guinness Book of World Records certified the ROT Parade the “Longest Parade of Motorcycles.” Once bikers came through and parked their steel horses the party makes its way to Sixth Street only a few blocks away.
The Motorcycle-USA girls handed out free swag on Sixth Street Friday and Saturday night. You could say they were a popular stop for about 4000 ROT Rally particpants.
Sixth Street is the ultimate biker destination located in the heart of downtown Austin and littered with biker friendly bars.
Sixth Street in downtown Austin has become synonymous with the music world due to the variety and quantity of talented upcoming musicians that are on the scene. Bikers fill the streets as the entire two-mile stretch becomes closed to all other traffic but motorcycles during Friday and Saturday nights. A plethora of bars open their doors to thirsty partyers offering drink specials and live entertainment geared to appease a biker’s taste. A popular bar is the Thirsty Nickel that offered biker bomb shots along with some good looking bar babes to help the medicine go down.
Strolling Sixth Street is like attending a championship sports game when the home team scores a climatic win, loud cheers and utter chaos surrounds you in every direction. Every type of bike can be seen cruising Sixth Street and loads of people hoard the streets to show off their personal styled machine fabricated to represent their own personality. Motorcycle-USA was on site to deliver some free swag to the masses and had two lovely ladies distributing the goods.
After the bars close down on Sixth Street and the dust settles at the expo center, it brings things to a reflective status. Residents and bikers will both look back at the 2011 ROT Rally and think was it a good or bad thing this year. I say it was a great year, but I may be biased seeing as it was my first time attending. In the end it seems the city of Austin has a perfect recipe for the rally and it continues to show due to the sheer fact that it has survived 17 years. In this new economy we see Austin continue to welcome motorcycles and the motorcycle lifestyle with open arms. Rally officials are easy going, businesses are friendly and residents appreciate the event. Hotels benefit with increased occupancy, bars benefit with higher liquor sales, gas stations sell more fuel, restaurants feed more hungry mouths and the list goes on. The 2011 ROT Biker Rally is logged in the books and Motorcycle-USA looks forward to being a part of next year’s rally. We hope to see you there as well.