Motorcyclists discover freedom at the 29th annual 'Oyster Run'

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by TRICIA MANNING-SMITH / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on September 27, 2010 at 8:53 AM

At first glance, an outsider may feel a little intimidated here amidst the noise, the leathers, and images of biker babes in stilletos.

"The 'dude' image is like the rough, tough guys who cause trouble and all that," said Wayne Bergness from Abbottsford, B.C.

Among the thousands, there are a lot of those types here.

But then you run into someone like Wayne, a guy who blasts the stereotype wearing his black rimmed glasses and 80s'-styled gray hair.  "My bike's an '83 Goldwing, I've got collector's plates on it," explains Wayne.

All of a sudden, you notice there are folks like Wayne everywhere.

Barry Gifford from Everett says his personality goes through a metamorphosis when he fires up his Harley.

"Your attitude changes, your personality changes, its somewhat of a transformation," said Gifford.

Gifford works as a wireless telecommunications supervisor - he makes sure cell phones work.

If you ask around, you'll find that the leathers seem to help a lot of bikers temporarily forget their day jobs.

"I'm a bookseller," says a middle-aged woman with glasses.

"I'm a drywall contractor," says a middle-aged man wearing a bandanna.

"I'm a flight attendant," says a young man with mirrored sunglasses.

"I suppose I'm a mild-mannered computer guy," says a goateed guy who claims his leathers are really covering a plethora of tattoos.

"I'm an insurance agent," says 20-something biker babe Michelle Martinez of Marysville. She says her bike helped her find freedom from her daily routine.

"I'm a mom of two," said Martinez.

Gene Nebenfuhr's "hog" helped him rediscover the freedom of youth, or at least the freedom of middle age.

"I'm 66, but when I'm on the bike, I'm about 45," said Nebenfuhr, who works as a general contractor but proudly wears the image of a hog - yes, really a pig - on the back of his biker jacket.

So really, the bikes and the image help a lot of these folks escape for just a little while into a world without worries and responsibilities, and to just be free.

The State Patrol estimates as many as 30,000 bikers have attended past Oyster Runs. Attendance numbers are not available yet for this year.

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