Eleven years ago, a group of sponsors got together to organize Bankers and Bikes for their very first ride.
“We needed an alternative to your regular old golf outing,” says Jim Ford, one of the group’s founding members. “We found that there were a lot of bank presidents, owners and executives who ride, so we decided to start organizing these trips.”
Since its inception, Bankers and Bikes has taken a ride to a different location every year, from Austin, Texas, to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to Colorado Springs. Ford says he’s been amazed by how word has spread about the group. “You’re not just talking about Missouri people,” he says. “We have bankers coming from Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Arkansas, Tennessee and Texas who hear about our rides and want to join.”
Although Bankers and Bikes only organizes one full ride a year, Ford says it’s not uncommon to see several of the group’s members going into local motorcycle dealerships or going on smaller weekend rides together. The annual weeklong trip, which usually consists of 30 to 40 bikes and 60 to 70 riders, is a chance for the participants to shed their business suits and enjoy the open air.
“It’s all blue jeans and T-shirts for a week,” Ford says. “You won’t see a suit or tie for miles.”