News and Tribune

Floyd County

June 29, 2013

FREE TO RIDE: Motorcycle culture is alive but evolving in Southern Indiana

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — “I’m a motorcyclist. I’m not a biker,” says Bernie Bartley, 64, of Louisville. “That’s them people running around looking like pirates, making a lot of noise and don’t want to wear their helmets. That’s a biker.”

Maybe Bartley sounds cranky about today’s motorcycle riders. But then again, maybe that’s a right he’s earned. Bartley owns 14 motorcycles, and he used to own 10 more. Of those, three are licensed for the road, while the rest are now museum pieces that he restored. And there’s not a Harley-Davidson among them.

“I don’t drive an old car and I’ll be damned if I drive an old motorcycle,” Bartley said. “And that’s what a Harley is, basically — an old motorcycle.”

Instead, Bartley’s partial to bikes of Japanese make. He loves to ride often, and when he does, he chooses between a 2012 Honda Gold Wing, a 2013 Honda CB1100 or a Honda Blackbird.

“I’ve got like a Corvette, a Cadillac and something just common,” he joked.

And the differences between Bartley and other bikers don’t stop at a distaste or preference for American motorcycles. Bartley derides the leather chaps, jackets and boots worn by other riders as tough-guy affectations. He eschews chrome as an unnecessary accessory, preferring a simpler look.

But the passion in Bartley’s heart for windy roads and unmarked pavement beats in the chest of anyone who’s partial to two wheels and loud engines.

“Say you’re traveling out west. In a car, you’re in a movie theater,” Bartley said. “When you’re on a motorcycle, you’re in the movie. You know what I mean? OK, you’re in a car, the windows are up, you’re in your air conditioning, you’re seeing everything I’m seeing, but I’m outside and I’m in the movie, and if it rains or if a bird flies up and poops on me, I get hit.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Floyd County
LOCAL MAGAZINES
Easter 2014 photos


Click on any photo to purchase it.

SPECIAL CONTENT
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites
2013 Photos of the year


Take a look at our most memorable photos from 2013.