San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Biker Club Re Biker Club Revs Up for vs Up for Weekend Rides

IT was Sunday morning, and the soundof church bells was muddled by a combustiblegrowl and the kind of rhythmichonking usually reserved for soccer wins.A straight-pipe put-putting, honking bikergang weaved around San José’s potholes,orange-juice carts and chunks of road tornup for construction projects en route to theSan Rafael Arcangel church in Desamparados,south of San José. But mothers didn’tpull their children off the streets, and sodaowners didn’t lock their shutters – this wasthe Coyote Moto Club on parade, and peoplelined up on the sidewalks to watch thebikers ride.In the church’s parking lot, the Coyotesnudged their Harleys, BMWs, YamahaViragos, Ventures, Kawasaki Vulcans andothers into lines; it was a lineup of theusual suspects for a U.S. interstate roadtrip, not the delivery bikes and scootersusually seen in Costa Rica. With helmetscrooked under arms or left plopped on bikeseats, the Coyotes entered the church andbent their knees for a blessing from FatherJorge Eduardo Rojas before mounting upfor a daytrip through the hills south of SanJosé, to a swimming pool resort in SanIgnacio de Acosta.In leather vests and steel-toed boots,they bore little resemblance to the averagechurchgoer, and their arrival hijacked theservice for a few minutes while FatherRojas flicked holy water on their bikes andsaid a prayer for their trip.THESE are not the storied ZZ Top-bearded,leathery and tattooed barroombrawlers of biker lore; these are theCoyotes, a biker club of business owners,family men (and a few women) and professionals,some working, some retired,who kiss their loved ones goodbye in themorning or throw them on the backs oftheir bikes and parade through San José ontheir weekend jaunts.Besides, that biker stereotype is antiquated.“The idea of a biker as a rebel has beenchanging for some time,” Coyote andYamaha Vulcan 1500 rider Jorge Moralessaid. “Before, people would be afraid ofmotorcyclists because they thought theysmoked marijuanaand did drugs. Nowwe go to church, goto mass, and wedon’t do drugs.”THE group hasbeen around formore than a decade,with a membershiproster of approximately60 transitorybikers, about 20 ofwhom might turn out on any given Sundayfor a daytrip.“We’re an organized, responsiblegroup designed for family fun,” club presidentand Harley Softail 1,450 rider MiguelGuevara said. “We try to help the communitieswe visit; we help by buying thingsand we raise money to help the elderly andpoor children.”The club organizes shows for schools,rides obstacle courses to show off thebikes, and pools funds every Christmas tobuy gifts for needy children. Last year, thegroup pooled ¢1 million ($2,120) andbought toys for children in the Caribbean slopetown of Jiménez de Guácimo, in theLimón province. After distributing thegifts, they rode a five-to-six-hour circuitthrough the province in the rain. Clubspokesman and Yamaha Black Star 1100rider José JuanRivera called it “anexperience to last alifetime.”THESE are someof the most consideratedrivers on theroad. They pointbooted heels towardpotholes, ridges andexposed manholesto alert riders behindthem of the danger. In San José,they ride with one foot or the other kickingout almost continuously, and whenthe hole is big, they point a finger at itand honk to make sure nobody is swallowedin a road hole.During these Sunday rides, whenthey’re not parading through the streets orcruising the highways, they make fun ofeach other’s bikes over beers.One of the club’s first members, CarlosFuentes, known as Carlos Harley, has beenwith the Coyotes for more than 10 years,and has had his Harley 1991 FXRGhostrider for about as long. He rememberswhen the club had more Vespas anddelivery bikes than highway cruisers, andis the butt of what he calls envious jokesabout his own bike.“You know why those who don’t rideHarleys mess with us so much? Becausethey know there are two kinds of bikes:Harleys, and everything else,” he said.He helps new Harley owners learn tohandle their machines on road trips, andspeaks better of his bike than of his girlfriend.“For me, it’s first the Harley, secondthe woman,” he said while sitting next toher.“No, excuse me, half and half,” heconceded.MORE exclusive clubs admit Harleysonly. With names like Los Halcones (theFalcons), Ángeles de Acero (Steel Angels)and Los Gitanos (The Gypsies), they havelong lists of members.However, Fuentes said the Coyotes isthe most highly recognized club because ofthe social work it does in the communitieson its road trips and in San José.“When people see any group of bikersgo by, even if it’s not us, they say, ‘Therego the Coyotes,’” he said.For information on the Coyotes, callGuevara at 382-2751.

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