A Facebook group has recently been formed bringing all riders of the legendary (you guessed it) Harley Davidson Sportster together. While some of you may be familiar with the global group that has the same name, the UK group was recently formed in order to provide a more geographically relevant site.
The creator of the page James Bricknell started the page in November 2015 and in the first 4 months has already gathered a following of over a thousand riders. In order to be a part of the group members are required to own a Harley Sportster, after that you are free to be a part of the community where you have access to a wealth of support, knowledge and comradery. Regular meets are held, sometimes these are arranged by the administrators, but increasingly riders are arranging their own local meets.
When you first join the group and what quickly becomes apparent (very quickly!) is the positive vibe that is ever present. In fact negativity or unfriendliness towards other members could see you off the group and back on the road by your lonely self.
It possibly sounds like a scene from TV, but the group is all about “brotherhood”, but not just brotherhood like a lot of other organisations, the female section of the group is an extremely valuable and respected part of the group so it is actually “brotherhood and sisterhood”. This bond extends beyond motorbike related topics as well, members who are having a hard time of it can feel free to post and share their burden with their brothers and sisters and be shown genuine kindness and support through their issues. Other acts of generosity have seen members club together to financially support other members, escort fellow members on lengthy rides and donate hundreds of pounds worth of motorbike parts to members when they have been in need.
Acts of generosity like this amongst strangers is not something that is often found in today’s world and the fact that a four month old group has already formed this bond is impressive to say the least. James believes that an important factor in this is in maintaining a positive environment where anybody can ask a question or say what they want without feeling belittled. New Sicko’s (group terminology for members) are welcomed by the group at regular intervals which breaks the ice immediately and makes people feel at home within the group. Certainly the archetypal “biker” commonly portrayed would probably not last long in this group should they step out of line! That being said, anyone who rides a Sportster is welcomed with open arms including club members, however club members are asked to not advertise their clubs within the group.
James wanted the group to be specifically restricted to Sportsters as he felt that there wasn’t a place where Sportster riders could convene without being hassled over “upgrading” their motorcycles. Sportsters are often thought of as a stepping stone in to the Harley Davidson family, but in reality the Sportsters hold their own within the industry. The Sportster was first produced in 1957 making it one of Harley’s longest running production bikes and Sportster sales in recent years have accounted for over 50% of total sales demonstrating its strength and success within the market. The fact is that the Sportster is not only more affordable, but it is lighter and easier to handle than a lot of Harley bigger models making it a very user friendly machine.
Sportsters are also extremely versatile when it comes to modifying them and this is a common theme on the group. Members are often counting down the days until their next pay cheque arrives so that they can add the next modification to their ride, eager for the weekends to fit them on them and test them out. Some prefer to abstain from the world of modifying and take pride in having a stock Sportster, within the group it doesn’t matter what you do or do not do to your bike, so long as it’s a Sportster, it’s cool!
The groups merchandise has recently started to take off with the usual products on sale for the devoted Sicko. James has worked hard in order to try to provide what the crowd has requested. Since this group is non-profit group any revenue generated has been put back in to launching new products. The group is also attracting attention from various companies around the UK who are seeing the potential in the site. Companies are not allowed to advertise within the group as no-one wants to scroll through adverts all day, however groups of Sicko’s are being encouraged to visit for arranged meets at various related stores around the UK. Group benefits may also potentially be available in the not too distant future!
The success of the group is ultimately down to James and his team of administrators who put in a lot of time promoting and encouraging the good natured vibe within the group. A lot of work takes place behind the scenes from these people giving up their spare time for the community and deserves a round of applause, or at least a beer next time you see them!
The first national group ride takes place on April the 16th. Riders can expect to really ride their Sportsters as opposed to a procession through the lanes! While Harleys are not recognised for their riding performance, they are known for their burbling V-twin that has heads turning half a mile away. The pleasure of riding a Harley is in the riding, it’s not always a race and the simplicity of the bikes is part of the pleasure. Multiply that by tens or possibly hundreds of fellow enthusiasts and you have yourself one sick event!
If you would like to find out more about the group or join, then go to their Facebook page www.facebook.com/groups/sportstersicknessuk/