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Cars > Blogs > Official Motortopia Blog > European Motorcycle Night draws a good crowed in Haymarket of Lincoln, Nebraska


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Lincoln, Nebraska
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European Motorcycle Night draws a good crowed in Haymarket of Lincoln, Nebraska

By GoldyLocks

The motorcycles lining both side of 8th Street in the Haymarket area of Lincoln, Nebraska on this Wednesday night slowed traffic, turned heads, and prompted questions. Maybe people are riding a lot more to save fuel in this recession? Maybe it was a swap meet or auction and the bidding would start soon.

So, I decided to find out what was up? I snapped some pictures and asked a few of the newly-arrived riders "who is the leader of this event?" They smiled when I said "leader" as if referring to some uptight command-and-control CEO. Then they pointed to a twinkle-eyed fellow at the tables in front of Brewsky's Bar and Grill and said "That's him, Bill, he's responsible for all of this."

Bill Swearingen leads the European Bike Night the way Hogan lead his Heroes, with cunning, lots of smiles, and a gentle, relaxed sense of mission. The mission here, Bill explained, is easy -- fun and gettin' together. No purpose to this gathering other than to gather and share the groups' passion for European bikes and the joy that the bikes give their owners.

Like most good things, this one developed over time. Staring in the summer of 2003, Bill and some friends started going to Brewsky's and Buzzard Billy's in the Haymarket area of Lincoln, Nebraska on their bikes. They invited friends and this became a first Wednesday social gathering.

At first, Bill had to catch parking space as he could. They learned to come early and mark out some space for the bikes. Of course, there were a few hassles from the parking police because they didn't have a permit and couldn't hold parking spaces reserved for cars and couldn't do whatever else the holy local ordinances proscribed.

But, that didn't seem to deter Bill. He thought it a good thing that he and friends would gatherand share some laughs, eat some food, and spend a little money one night a month. And, apparently, so did the right thinking folks of the Haymarket Association.

Bill said he tried to work through the Lincoln City government bureaucracy to obtain the needed special event permit so they could get parking meter hoods and marked space for the bikes. Nope. Bill explained that the bureaucrat-with-no-name with whom he spoke simply said no. There was no provision in the special events ordinance for a bunch of motorcycles. Horse shows, clowns, carnival rides, and pets...yes, all allowed. Motorcycles, no, not in Lincoln.

Then somehow the motorcycle gods intervened and introduced Bill to Dave Norris, a citizen information officer for the City of Lincoln. In short order Mr. Norris, Bill, the Haymarket Association and the proprietors of The Mill, Buzzard Billy's, and Brewskys helped get an ordinance change, adding the words "including but not limited to" the list of permitted events and, well, now there is European Motorcycle Night the fist Wednesday of each month. That is government with some smarts

European Motorcycle Night is not a club, Bill is clear to point out. No dues, no roster, no application. No board of directors and they take no minutes. No reports and no committees. Just folks enjoying each other once a month. Hey, can we get Congress down here to observe this!

Bill has a number of bikes but he seemed most fond of his BMW.

Starting out as a bicyclist, Bill moved over into motorcycles. He explained that this was a common path for those who were interested in bikes.

Bill was gracious with his time to explain all he did about the evening and the political drama, but then it was time to go an do what he came for...enjoy the friends who came for that European Motorcycle Night in Lincoln. Nice.

See the pics of the evening and the bikes here.

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Cars > Blogs > Official Motortopia Blog > European Motorcycle Night draws a good crowed in Haymarket of Lincoln, Nebraska

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