Motorcycle trike enthusiasts enjoy life in the wind

You don’t have to feel like a third wheel when traveling around with the Pahrump Trikers.

This riding organization is all about having fun, taking scenic excursions and helping to give back to the community. Participants don’t even have to own a trike, but can “hitch” a ride with another member.

In 2012, the Pahrump Trikers became a chapter under the Brothers of the Third Wheel, the largest international organization of motorcycle trikers in the world.

Debbie Heminger has been the local chapter director since 2013, but has been a triking enthusiast since 1990 when her late husband got her interested in riding. In the late 1990’s, she even served as the state director for Nevada before parking her trike and taking a break.

Heminger resumed her love of triking in 2010 when friend Sara Mendez bought a trike from Dennis Eggert.

“He sold it to her and she let me drive it home,” Heminger said. “Made me want to get another trike.” And she did.

Her current husband, Richard, said he likes “everything” about triking.

“Oh, we’ll just take off and go with people and just have a good time,” he said. “Somebody will call up and say ‘you wanna go for a ride’, sure and we’re gone.”

Heminger added that he prefers triking over biking because he doesn’t “weeble and wobble” and fall over, he laughed.

“I don’t have to throw a foot out, see, I can just leave it where it’s at,” he said.

Sara Mendez joined the group three years ago and never was a motorcycle rider like some of the other trikers. Why did she join the group?

“‘Cause we get to socialize with our friends and do fun things and ride…….”, Mendez said.

Some of her favorite trike trips included going to Laughlin a few times, Beatty, Death Valley, Madera, California and Panguitch Lake in Utah.

Cecilia Armitage and husband, Bill, have been members for about a year.

“We used to ride the two-wheeler, and then we got to the age where we can’t ride the two- wheeler anymore, so, we’ve gone to the trike,” she said.

Bill Armitage agreed, preferring a trike over a two-wheeler.

“They’re a little bit safer,” he said.

Operators of trikes do need a driver’s license, but no special one is required as it is for motorcyclists. Trikes are registered as a trimobile.

“One wheel in the front and two in the back is a trimobile,” Bill Armitage explained. “There are some that have two wheels in the front and one in the back and they are considered as a motorcycle, but ours are not.”

In Nevada, trikers are not required to wear helmets like motorcyclists, but this group does.

“It’s smart if you do, here no, California, yeah,” Armitage added.

“I’m new to all this,” Pearl Dethmers said. “This is the first time I’ve ever, you know, ridden a trike or anything.”

Dethmers became a triker when she married her late husband, Richard, who recently passed away. She is still an active member of the group and rides along as a passenger.

“We all have a good time together,” she said.

Bill Mullins and Richard Heminger act as road captains for the trikers. Mullins usually takes the lead on their trips, while Heminger brings up the rear. The guys make sure that there are no accidents or breakdowns. Sometimes there can be 12-15 trikes in the group, but there’s no limit to the number who can ride.

“We’ve had some great rides,” Mullins said. “One of our big adventure rides we went about 2,600 miles through Redwood Forest up through Carson City and back down. That was a great ride.”

Mullins’ wife of 54 years, Blanca, has her own trike.

“We take off together on our own trikes and just have a good time,” she said. “We all enjoy riding and each other’s company.”

BJ and Patty Adams make up another husband and wife trike team. BJ Adams is the assistant chapter director and entered the trike circuit after moving to Pahrump about three years ago. He and Patty had been bikers in the past.

“Riding a trike is about the closest thing, especially for motorcycle guys that used to ride two wheels, it’s the closest thing you can get to feeling like you’re back on a motorcycle,” BJ Adams said.

He added that you don’t have to worry about holding it up at a stop sign or going around corners. Trikes are a good option for riders with knee, back or hip issues since most bikes weigh several hundred pounds.

“I feel a lot safer on a trike; it can’t tip over when you’re at a stoplight,” Patty Adams agreed. “You know your legs don’t have to hold it up, the wheels hold it up. Plus, you’re bigger on the road too, I think.”

Michael “Mickey” Drawhorn learned a lesson in taking curves with his 2014 Harley trike while driving from Shoshone to Pahrump via Tecopa.

With a car, Drawhorn said he could negotiate a 40-mph-marked curve at 50, but not so with a trike.

“I was out there alone and I almost went off into a gully and I don’t know how long it would have taken anyone to find me, but ah, so it taught me a lesson,” Drawhorn said. “With the trike if it says 40, I’m pretty much gonna do 40, no more games.”

Liz and Dewayne Jenkins got hooked on trikes in a neighborly way.

“Our neighbors Bill and Blanca (Mullins) let us use their trike while they were gone to Puerto Rico for a week and we just loved it,” Liz Jenkins said.

When the couple couldn’t find a trike they liked, Dewayne Jenkins built his own and is currently working on number three! He builds them from the ground up, even making most of his own parts. Having a weld shop also helps.

“What makes trikes unique is they’re all different,” Jenkins stated. “I don’t care, you won’t see two alike and that’s what makes them unique.”

Dennis Eggert, a long-time rider even before the Pahrump Trikers formed, also builds them, including his current white “beauty” with a Hemi V-8 engine which took three years to complete.

“The first trike I built, I started in October, 1970 and before the winter was over I’d built five,” Eggert said. “And that’s what got me started.”

He builds them from scratch by cutting and pasting parts from motorcycles and other vehicles.

“No two have ever been alike,” Eggert added.

Newcomers Gary and Ann Underdahl had been trikers and bikers before moving to Pahrump several months ago. They found out about the Pahrump Trikers and liked what they saw.

“It’s about the people, I mean, it’s a shared experience, but it’s really about the comradeship with the people,” Gary Underdahl said.

“It’s always safer to ride as a group versus by yourself because, again, visibility,” he said. “And we enjoy being able to go to this place or that place.”

Ann Underdahl said they rode with a group in the Las Vegas area.

“And with this group we’ll have an opportunity to see some different places than the other group that we rode with, so that will be a nice change for me,” she said, adding that she has a “cushier seat” on the trike compared to riding on the back of a bike.

The group meets the first Thursday of every month at Lakeside Casino & RV Park, 5870 S. Homestead Road. Their dues and other fundraising events help support programs in the area.

In January, they presented a check to the “Food For Thought” program sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Pahrump Valley.

Members in conjunction with another trike organization, the Southern Nevada Road Runners, donated $900 to Beatty High School for the athletic department to purchase uniforms. The proceeds were raised during an April Trike-In event held in Beatty.

Debbie Heminger said they are always looking for new members.

“You don’t need a trike, just be interested in joining the group; that’s all you have to do,” Heminger said. “Just call me.”

The number is 702-286-6662. Their Facebook page is Pahrump Trikers.

“Come to the meeting and see what we’re about,” BJ Adams said. “And you might decide you want a trike. And there’s enough people here, if you can’t find one, they could make you one.”