By Sarah Richardson
As the frosty days of West Virginia winter fade away and we settle into the warmer months, motorcyclists can be seen once again seen out and about on our roads. The Mountain State is an ideal place for bikers with its mountainous views, fun curves and winding drives, and unique stops along Route 60 and 219. It’s no wonder Lewisburg also sees its fair share of bike traffic to local eateries and shops, as well as those just passing through on longer routes.
Several local bikers have banded together to invite the community out to join them as they take rides around the Greenbrier Valley area, and they are seeking to make new friends along the way.
“I created it, and my friends helped me get it all set up,” said Felicity Morgan, the main leader behind the new bike group GBC Two Wheels. “It started out with just our group of friends, but online we have grown to 85 members.”
Over the last two months, she has been recruiting local motorcyclists via Facebook through the group, and says she wants to let everyone know they are welcoming of every person who has a love of getting out and experiencing southern West Virginia via motorcycle.
“No matter your age, race, what cc of bike you have- if you even have a bike- everyone is welcome. Heck, we don’t care if you have a moped or scooter, or a trike, literally anything. You don’t even have to know how to ride, it’s anybody that wants to be involved,” specified Jennifer Lathroum, also known as Jenni. Jenni is a close friend to Felicity, and was also one of the first members of the GBC Two Wheels group.
“We don’t set any sort of rules or regulations, if you have a bike and you want to make new friends you are welcome to join,” Felicity added.
Even those who may not know how to operate a motorcycle themselves are welcome to come and join in the fun. Non-drivers, who they affectionately refer to as “backpacks,” can come and learn more about riding.
“We have plenty of backpackers,” Jenni said, “We also have some people that are new to riding.”
Felicity said, “I had just started riding, and when I met Jenni and we became friends-”
“Family, really,” Jenni interrupted.
“Yes, family,” Felicity laughed, “And Jenni’s boyfriend, Taylor, introduced me to their riding group. From there we thought about adding more people, so I started the Facebook group to invite more to join us.”
There are no membership fees or paperwork required, something which Jenni said is common in some circles of biker groups.
“When I was living in Florida there was a lot of technical stuff involved with being in a group, and this isn’t like that.”
Felicity added, “I feel like a lot of riders don’t want to go through all of that and spend money on that process, they just want to get out and ride.”
Taylor Mayo, Jenni’s boyfriend and fellow group member, explained, “Sometimes trips are more spur-of-the-moment, or we will schedule them ahead of time. We might schedule a ride at say, 4 p.m., but perhaps some of the people don’t get off work until 6, so we will work to schedule around them. Most of our meet days are on Sundays, since that’s when people tend to be free.”
The group tends to meet in easily accessible locations such as the Wal-Mart parking lot or the old K-Mart lot in Fairlea, and they have recently made a new fan that way.
“We were in the Wal-Mart parking lot at a meet, and this kid, Nathan, was so excited to see us all there on the bikes,” said Taylor. “He was freaking out. His mom asked if he could come over and look at them, and I said, ‘I’ll do you one better,’ and let him come and sit on the bike and rev it a few times. It really made his whole day, you could tell.”
Felicity said it’s important to them to make sure and include everyone when they travel, and they match routes with rider’s skill and comfort levels in mind.
As they gain more members, they have started reaching out to other bike clubs in the state, and plan to meet up and go on rides together.
“This Sunday we actually have some people from Charleston coming in to ride with us,” said Taylor.
Eventually, they plan to organize larger trips like going to Virginia Beach, Blackwater Falls, traveling the scenic highway, and more.
“Some of us have thought about maybe going to a bike week event,” said Taylor.
However, the plan is to always keep the technical aspect of the process to a bare minimum so everyone can simply enjoy the ride.
If you are interested in joining the group, you can do by searching for the GBC Two Wheels group on Facebook.