To recruit more “trikers,” Larry Goulet took an unorthodox approach.
When he passed someone along a two-lane highway, he turned around, coaxed him to stop and gave him his best sales pitch. He was starting a trike club and he wanted more members.
“People would pass us and we’d make a u-turn and flag them down,” Goulet said. “It worked.”
On Saturday, Nov. 15, a large collection of trike riders will be passing through town – stretching from Weeki Wachee to Inverness.
Goulet’s club – the Spring Hill Wingnuts – is organizing its first poker run. The winning hand will win $500. The 82-mile run will end in front of Trikes by Tony, a shop in Inverness where several of the local riders are customers.
The proceeds will benefit the Hernando Food Bank.
In the 1950s, those driving their roadsters with the top down would wave to each other while passing along the highway. If they were pumping gas at the same station, they likely would strike up a conversation about their chrome-wheeled machines.
Nowadays, local trikers are the ones who enjoy a culture that harks back to the roadster days from 50 years ago. When someone sees a Honda Gold Wing parked outside a restaurant, he or she often will circle around it and nod in approval.
A trike is a three-wheeled version of a motorcycle. The most popular “converted motorcycle” is the Gold Wing, Goulet said.
In six months, membership has grown from five members to 75. The Spring Hill Wingnuts is the first and largest trike-riding club in Florida, according to its Web site.
“We have an absolutely delightful club,” said Goulet, who is the club’s president. “We have some nice-looking machines and a great membership.”
Most of the members are retired, including Richard De Angelo, of High Point. He said the club’s long-term goal is to increase its already robust membership and continue raising money for local charities.
Hernando-Pasco Hospice will be among those he hopes will benefit from future poker runs.
“Anything that comes up, we’ll do it,” he said.
For him, triking is a safer way to enjoy the open road. It’s also best-suited for those who are intimidated by motorcycles.
“Most of us are retired. We don’t feel safe on two-wheelers anymore, but this still keeps us young,” De Angelo said.
The Wingnuts regularly take day and overnight trips. A number of them recently returned from Key West, Goulet said.
For more information about the club, visit http://fl-1wingnuts.trisite.org.
Reporter Tony Holt can be reached at 352-544-5283 or firstname.lastname@example.org.