The Universe is expanding at a rate of 46.2 (plus or minus 1.3 miles) per second, per megaparsec... and your motorcycle is way slower than that
More and more people are getting into riding/owning motorcycles. This (current) population increase is a younger audience than previous population expansions. Harley wants you to believe more and more young riders are buying Harley's (2011 statistics claim 48% of young riders under age 35 are riding Harley's) Maybe they are? But it took heavy marketing to convince the kids of Generation Z (post-Millennial) that riding motorcycles was cool. Maybe they were too preoccupied with Playstations and iPods and their own metro-sexuality to catch on as quickly as Generation X did, being born into the garage thrash punk band era, raised on Crass, The Angry Samoans, and The Descendents (not LAMFO, Cashmere Cat, or Kanye West) and ready to step it up a level when they graduated high school or community college (or dropped out of same). They had some pocket change to spend, the bought a used Sportster, KZ, CB, or XS, they promptly chopped without even considering to stop and take 200 selfies with the bike diagonally across the center dividing lines or change into their booty shorts. The only cell phones back then were on the big screen in movies like Lethal Weapon; when Roger Murtaugh, used it to check on the psych profile of Martin Riggs (one of the finest LAPD cops ever to be portrayed in movies), they had a 5 pound battery pack and they didn't even take pictures. "Hey, look friend, let's just cut the shit. Now we both know why I was transferred. Everybody thinks I'm suicidal, in which case, I'm fucked and nobody wants to work with me; or they think I'm faking to draw a psycho pension, in which case, I'm fucked and nobody wants to work with me. Basically, I'm fucked."
In one ad, Harley (who else?), equating the bike's operating cost to "about six bucks a day," the company said the 883's daily cost was "cheaper than your smokes, a six-pack, a lap dance, a bar tab, another tattoo, a parking ticket, a gas station burrito, bail, cheap sunglasses (or) more black T-shirts." I love Harley's Argumentum ad nauseam, and I would also add; that's it's cheaper than Lung Cancer, Rehab, Bacterial Vaginosis, Credit Card interest rates, blood-borne diseases like tetanus or Hepatitis C, a life of crime, Salmonella, or any T-shirt from any of those Chopular shops the hipsters drink coffee and park their bike in front of. It might not be as glamorous a list, but essentialy it's the same list. Someone got paid $$$ to sprinkle powdered sugar on a turd and serve it to you with a monthly payment plan.
There are definitely more women included in this observation. According to some studies (which I believe underestimate the numbers) Women make up 12% of the motorcycles owners in the US, a 28% increase in the last 5 years.
"Whether it’s for freedom, adventure, spiritual experience, confidence, independence, or community, women are taking to motorcycles with an increased voracity." Hold on... that entire positive reflection makes me want to vomit inside my full face helmet at 88 MPH. And they forgot to include those women (just like the men out there doing exactly the same) who are getting into motorcycles for the "trendiness" of it (not for any of the above mentioned touchy heartwarming empowering reasons). Ron Howard couldn't have directed a better Womens Movement genre movie, but the star of the movie comes off looking like Clint Howard. The popularity of TV's Charlie Hunnam has replaced the sex appeal of Fabio's Harlequin Romance novel covers. The "band wagon" rolled through town and everyone (man and woman alike) jumped on board for a romp in the hay!
The bottom line is the universe (read: chopper community) is, and has been currently expanding, rarely does it ever shrink, and even when it appears to be decreasing it's only because one generation is dying off and the next has yet to stretch it's legs into the opening left vacant. I argue that we are seeing a decrease (for the first time) in garage builders at the same time as an increase in motorcycle owners (dare I say "riders?")(and even they might believe they're garage builders or garage builders "to-be" but we've yet to see the fruits of their bloody knuckles on any level close to yesteryear's. They supporting evidence; all the small shops that were once booming but are now closed and or downsizing to stay in business in light of bigger corporations (read: dealerships) provided ready-made "chopper inspired" basic Sportster models (the modifications have already been made for you! It's a turn key homage to the choppers of yesterday) The death of DIY is knocking at the door. Are you going to open it?
In that expansion, there is a natural separation (a widening) occurring that is not only driving larger and larger masses towards bigger "mega" events, but also driving individual or smaller like-minded groups (sometimes in close proximity to each other, sometimes across the country) to destinations along different roads (away from bigger events). Grassroots Events are still very much alive even if you don't hear of them as often as you read reports from Chopper World's latest social media press releases. Sometimes, oftentimes, you have to read between the lines to find them. Corporate sponsored "mega" events will always attract large groupings (groupies) of people willing to pay to be entertained. Grassroots Events will always attract those individuals (friends not fans) looking for something beyond the prepackaged entertainment, scheduled rides, and celebrity led activities.
I say, participation should always be more than hand clapping and following the leader (along a per-mapped route).