Ryders Alley Motorcycle Club

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The first time I went down to the Ryders Alley motorcycle club was a Sunday afternoon in late spring. The members, who pay $200 a month to house their $20,000 weekend toys, were grilling burgers in the alley when I pulled up on my Triumph. They took a look at my bike, waved and asked me how I wanted my burger cooked. The guys were sharp, all hovering around 30, with jobs ranging from Tommie the nightclub owner to Robert the stockbroker.

After a quick burger, Demian Neufeld, the 35-year-old owner of Ryders Alley, announced that the race was starting and I followed the crowd inside. Row after row of gleaming Ducatis, BMWs and Moto Guzzis stunned me as I followed the crew to the lounge, where we gathered around a HD projection screen to watch Valentino Rossi crash in the Euro Moto GP.

Ryders Alley is a motorcycle club that shares its name with its location, an ancient cobblestone alleyway off Fulton Street between City Hall Park and South Street Seaport. Neufeld, who lives steps away from the garage, splits his time between the downtown garage and his new location in Hell's Kitchen while planning the city's first zero-emission racetrack, to be built at Brooklyn's Floyd Bennett Field, in his downtime.

It struck me as odd that there was no bar in the club's lounge. A motorcycle club with no bar? Turns out, serious motorcyclists don't mix booze and speed.

After the race I got the full tour, starting with the immaculate workshop with two lifts, tons of specialty tools and operating theater lighting available 24/7. A library is situated in the lounge, stocked with the latest mags and hardcovers on motorcycling. I could spend a week on those leather couches and still not make it halfway through one shelf of books.

The amenities, group outings, track days?it just went on and on. But what I remember most, what made a lasting impression, were the people: thoughtful, genuine and passionate about sharing their favorite hobby.

?Photo by Kevin Sheehan

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