There’s plenty on the docket for local bikers this holiday season, from parties to blood drives, and a little political action to boot.
Here’s a roundup.
BEAVER BAR “NAUGHTY BUT NICE” CHRISTMAS PARTY
Celebrate the holidays this weekend at The Beaver Bar in Murrells Inlet, which is hosting a Christmas blowout starting at 8 p.m. Friday. The invitation promises “Lots of good food, drink specials, live music and Christmas cheer with old and new friends.” Local musician Jody Hunter will perform and early birds can enjoy a holiday Happy Hour from 4-8 p.m. The Beaver Bar’s County Line location is at 3534 U.S. 17 Business, Murrells Inlet. For more information, call 357-6969. TOYS FOR KIDS: 25 YEARS OF GIVING
Horry County ABATE (A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments) hosts the 25th Annual Toys For Kids Run on Saturday. The ride will leave from the Inlet Square Mall parking lot near Belk at noon sharp. Participants are asked to donate a new, unwrapped gift or $10. The toys will be delivered by the riders in the form of a huge, police-escorted ride to the McDonald’s in Surfside Beach. All riders are welcome to celebrate the ride with a free after-party including food and raffles at a location of that will be announced at the event. If you have never been on this ride, it is one I personally recommend. Not only is it for a good cause, but it is a spectacle to behold. Every year hundreds of riders come out; many wearing holiday garb. Area residents often line the streets to show their support for the ride and to enjoy the sparkling chrome and roaring engines as they cruise by. For more information call 321-5522.
MYRTLE BEACH HARLEY-DAVIDSON BLOOD DRIVE
Bikers have long been known for their giving hearts and the holidays have unfortunately always been known as a time when needs are more prevalent than ever. This season Myrtle Beach Harley-Davidson is providing us all a chance to give something that can’t be made in Santa’s workshop or grabbed off the shelves of our local Wal-Mart store: The gift of life. Myrtle Beach Harley is hosting an American Red Cross blood drive from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Dec. 29. If you go, please be sure to bring a picture ID; and eat and drink something before donating. MBH-D is located at 4710 S. Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach. For more info, call 369-5555.
ABATE LOBBY DAY IN COLUMBIA
Your Horry County ABATE chapter is promoting its state-wide, annual Lobby Day on Jan. 8 in Columbia. The not-for-profit group’s mission statement says it “…promotes motorcycle awareness and voluntary motorcycle rider training” and is “…dedicated to the protection of the rights and liberties of motorcycle riders.” The ABATE Web site at www.scABATE.com bills the event as “…your chance to talk to your legislators about issues important to you.” Participants will meet on the statehouse grounds (located at the corner of Gervais and Assembly streets) by the statue of John C. Calhoun at 9 a.m. and then walk the statehouse halls together. FUN FACT: Calhoun was a South Carolina Senator and served twice as Vice President of the United States; once under John Quincy Adams and again with Andrew Jackson. OK, maybe that wasn’t “fun,” but I learned something and thought I’d share it.
I spoke to ABATE’s Public Relations Officer, Chad Fuller, who explained constituents are allowed to visit their representatives offices any time, but ABATE has chosen to do so as a group on the first day of the legislative session each year as “a show of force” and to “…let our representatives know we ride motorcycles, but are not the kind of people you see portrayed on TV. We are concerned and well-educated.” Fuller, who is a registered lobbyist, explained, “We are constantly fighting the insurance companies who have lots of money; but, we have the numbers. If you ride on two wheels; or on a trike; or a Can-Am [a sort of backwards trike vehicle with two wheels in the front and one in back], we’re fighting for your rights.”
I asked Fuller for an example of a bill for which ABATE is lobbying and another it opposes. Fuller told me, “This year we’re working to prevent a bill that would prohibit motorcycle riders from carrying any passenger below the age of seven.” To some, that may seem prudent enough, but Fuller argues, “To our knowledge there have been no deaths to children that can be attributed to being a passenger on a motorcycle. I don’t even think there are even any stats to suggest it’s a problem.” Prudent or not, Fuller’s concern lies more in the fact that the bill is simply another example of insurance companies and the government trying to tell us what to do unnecessarily. Another bill ABATE supports is one the organization wrote with the help of Lexington legislator (not to be confused with Lebanon Levi of the Amish Mafia) Todd Atwater that would enforce equal access to government-funded parking structures for cars and motorcycles alike. According to Fuller, “Motorcycles all over the state are being denied access to park in garages and other facilities that are either partially or wholly funded by our taxpayer dollars.”
Anyone interested is invited to participate whether you are an ABATE member or not and everyone will get an ABATE Lobby Day patch and an invitation to the after-party at Carolina Ale House, 708 Lady Street, Columbia, four blocks from the statehouse, at 1 p.m. with free food and awards.