Five speakers inspired and educated listeners during "Motorcycling & You," a collection of oral essays about the motorcycle lifestyle during AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days.
Story by Jim Witters
Photo by Halley Miller
Andrew Raitz wears a sailing captain’s hat and returns every “Aye, aye, Captain” with an “As you were, sailor.”
That little quirk earned him the honorary title of Louisville Vintage Motorcycle Club Captain for AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.
“Just that simple gesture of picking up this hat on my way out the door changed my life,” he told a group gathered Saturday in the AMA Hall of Fame tent for a series of speakers on the topic Motorcycling and You.
But that wasn’t the biggest change that motorcycling has brought to Raitz’s life.
“A little more than a year ago, I was on the Facebook group page for the Japanese Vintage Bike Club, when I saw a picture of this cute girl on a ’76 (Kawasaki) KZ400 amid the amber waves of grain,” Raitz said. “I commented on the photo, and we started communicating. And I realized that she was just an hour-and-a-half away in Bloomington (Indiana).”
That “cute girl” was Tayler Glover. And the two are celebrating one year as a couple during VMD.
L-R: Andrew Raitz, Tayler Glover
“Motorcycles are symbols that make connections,” Raitz said. “If someone says something simple, like, ‘Hey, that’s a nice bike,’ it is one of the most amazing feelings you can have as a human being.”
Raitz likened AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days to a music festival, but one that you can re-experience every day by riding your motorcycle “or get together with some friends to B.S.”
“Without us, motorcycles are just machines,” he said. “But with us, they become the focus of a wonderful community. You could stop and talk to anybody here (at VMD) and wind up in a two-hour conversation that started out with the torque specs for a 750 engine and ends up about how the guy just bought a dirt bike for his grandson, who is just starting to ride.”
Other speakers included AMA Association Editor Heather Wilson, AMA Supercross Director Kevin Crowther, motorsports announcer and "the voice of AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days" Griff Allen, and AMA member Matthew Mesarchik.