I've been following plans for the up-coming “Rumble” with trepidation. Having lived through several bike weeks in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, I can tell you that it may be fun for bikers, but it sure isn't fun for anyone else. Locals tend to stay inside. On top of that, “bike week” soon expanded to include the entire month of March every year.
What is the problem with a serious influx of bikers? First of all, the noise. Motorcycles don't really have to make a lot of noise, but they do. That is the idea. Otherwise, why call biker conventions Rumbles or Rolling Thunders? Then there is the unnecessary congestion. Bikers don't have to park in masse blocking the entrance to restaurants and gas stations, but they do, and they don't have to ride in large blocks, gun their engines, and weave in and out of traffic, but they do. Lastly, there is the inevitable proliferation of biker bars and attendant problems. Don't think it can't happen here.
The “heads in beds” rationale advanced by promoters breaks down when you factor in the number of people who will drop Franklin as a vacation destination, or move away, if it becomes a biker haven. Franklin is not another Helen Georgia, thank heaven, nor should it aspire to be. People don't come here to party. They come here to enjoy the quiet country lifestyle and unspoiled beauty of the mountains. People do not need (or want) supercharged entertainment all of the time, and every endeavor does not need to turn a big profit. We know this. That's why we live here.
I have talked to very few people who would like to see Franklin become a center for gambling, biker rallies, and state of the art liquor stores. To the few promoters of this way of life, all I can say is be careful what you wish for.
Jean A. Welch — Franklin, N.C.