Raleigh County

Bikers coming in hot for Fire and Iron Rally

BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) - Riders from all over the world are coming in hot for the Fire and Iron National Rally in Beckley from June 21-23.

The motorcycle club is made up of firefighters and the one thing they take more seriously than their bikes is safety.

Riding motorcycles is a lifestyle for the members of Fire and Iron. However, with the lifestyle comes the danger of riding.

Toney 'Hottdog' Calhoun, a region officer, said the group goes to great lengths to protect themselves on the road, whether it is gear, proper training, hand signals, the buddy system, or maneuvering near cars.

"When we're on our bikes we have to be very vigilant on everything,you're constantly looking around seeing what's ahead of you, what's beside you, the cars next to you...just everything. The cars don't pay attention very much," Calhoun said.

The riders do everything they can to stay safe, but sometimes the dangers are out of their control, especially when they rely on other drivers. With around 800 members coming to the rally, they urge people on the road to stay alert. 

"The biggest thing we see on the roads is the cars and trucks not paying attention," Calhoun said. "Everybody is distracted with everything else going on in life, they want their cell phone, they've got to text and all this.. They don't pay attention to the bikers they need to open their eyes a little bit more and keep an eye on the bikes....and look twice."

The club offers advanced safety courses for its members and teaches them to always keep their eyes open in the field.

Many of them live by the phrase, 'dress for the slide not the ride.' That means wearing helmets, leather jackets and other protective clothing incase of an accident. Bikers are also advised to wear vibrant colors so they can be seen by other cars. 

United Cycle parts and service manager, Skyler Sallee, said road and weather conditions are crucial for biker safety.

"For rain, obviously you want to go a little bit slower you cant stop as fast and obviously your tires don't hold traction on corners as well," said Sallee. "Just go slower and also stay in the tracks of the other cars."

Fire and Iron has members coming all the way from Germany to attend the event. The rally concludes on Saturday with a national ride followed by a party with live music.

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