Some lawmakers complain about spinning their wheels while they are stuck here in Washington, D.C. Rep. Tim Griffin can’t wait to do that just as soon as he gets back home.
The Arkansas Republican and avid supporter of the Congressional Motorcycle Caucus is organizing a “Ridin’ With Your Rep” event for June 1 (10 a.m.-noon) in an effort to better sync up with his cycle-straddling brethren.
Those mainstream efforts have included hosting regular town halls — at which he often shakes things up by giving out his personal cellphone number — and engaging with folks on Twitter.
But Griffin said he got much more out of an informal gathering featuring a few coolers of fresh-brewed tea and a rolling invitation to come chat one-on-one.
“Very few stayed the whole time ... but we were meeting people where they live,” Griffin said of the open-ended bull session.
The June event marks the next evolution of his nontraditional outreach.
Per park creator Ron Osburn, the 200-acre North Little Rock ORV Park is maintained by the North Little Rock Trailblazers Motorcycle Club and is available free of charge to all off-road enthusiasts.
Griffin — who has been riding since the 1970s, raced professionally in the '80s and calculates he’s owned almost 20 motorcycles throughout his life — said he fully expects to work in some policy discussions before racing off into the mud-soaked beyond on his 2006 Suzuki RM250 (a Ricky Carmichael replica).
“We’re gonna talk about some safety stuff while we’re there,” he said, adding that he’d also like to share some thoughts about the damaging effects of ethanol on two-stroke engines.
And don’t get him started on burgeoning land-use restrictions.
“If you are an enthusiast and you don’t own land, you may not necessarily have a place to ride,” Griffin said of the challenges facing off-road riders.
Former Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., now vice president of government relations for the American Motorcyclist Association, congratulated Griffin for incorporating riding into his grass-roots activism.
“It took some imagination ... [and] I think this is going to be a fun, family activity,” Allard said. He noted that Griffin has invited his association to attend and that the group is excited to do so.
Next up: hanging with the asphalt-chewing crowd.
“We’re going to do a street one, too," Griffin pledged of his next get-to-know-you ride. “This is only the beginning.”