Being a third wheel isn’t usually a good thing socially, but having three wheels will be celebrated this weekend when Mount Airy hosts the East Coast National Trike-In 2013.
Owners of trikes — which are three-wheel motorcycles — will gather for the fourth-straight year at Veterans Memorial Park during the event scheduled Friday through Sunday.
Their unusual vehicles will be on display for the public, including at a Saturday morning parade, a trike show and other activities.
“Mount Airy is a very biker-friendly town,” Tim Nine of Franklinton, longtime North Carolina state director of the organization Brothers of the Third Wheel, said of one motivation for its trike-in here.
The organization has held such an event for 20 years, with this weekend’s gathering coming on the heels of the state Harley Owners Group (HOG) Rally in Mount Airy earlier this month and July’s Run to the Ridge motorcycle rally. They also were based at Veterans Memorial Park.
Formerly known as the East Coast Trike-In, the event gained the national label in 2012 and is one of three trike-ins held across the United States, also including the western and central U.S., Nine said.
“So we’ll have people from all over the eastern part of the country coming,” he added, and possibly even one rider from Australia. “They come from everywhere.”
About 250 to 300 people usually attend. “It’s like a big family get-together,” Nine said.
The trike-in provides an opportunity for like-minded individuals to come together and share their common hobby, while also entertaining the public, Nine said.
That will include the Saturday morning trike parade through the downtown area, to begin shortly after 10 a.m. It included 65 trikes last year. “Every trike is pretty much different,” Nine said of the vehicles that are custom-built in most cases. He has one unusual trike in particular, modeled after a Roman chariot.
The public also is invited to visit Veterans Memorial Park, where various activities are planned. Admission to trike-in events is free and open to everyone.
Also Saturday, a trike show will be held there at noon. Even those who are not part of the gathering are invited to enter trikes or motorcycles in the competition, with no fee to be charged, Nine said.
Trike-in games, another highlight of the weekend, are slated to begin Sunday around 1 p.m.
“There’s quite a bit people can do and see,” Nine said, with other activities to include games for children, a swap meet and more. “Bring the kids on out,” he said.
While local residents are checking out the event, trike-in owners will be experiencing Mount Airy. “There’s a lot there to see and do,” Nine said of another reason for holding the event here, with the hospitality of the community also a draw.
In addition to scheduled activities, riders will have free time on their hands to take in local attractions, along with participating in runs to various destinations in the area.
“We’re just going to go out and have a good time,” Nine said.
While trikers can be considered a special breed of biking enthusiasts, their hobby largely is built around safety and necessity, according to Nine.
“A lot of them are getting up in age and they have trouble holding the (two-wheel) bikes up,” he explained, while other riders have back problems that are not aggravated by the three-wheelers.
“They can take their families and grandchildren on the trikes and they can’t do that on the bikes” unless they are equipped with sidecars, Nine said of another advantage.
Nine, 62, has been been involved in the hobby since 1972. “I’ve been riding trikes because they are safer,” he said.
“A lot of your older bikers are turning to trikes,” Nine said. “I would say the average age of a trike owner is 50 to 70, but there are some older and there are some younger.”
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or firstname.lastname@example.org.