Motorcycle Rally Bathroom Etiquette

colleenswartzcyrilhuzeblogBy Colleen Swartz, Motorcycle Writer/Photographer/Friend at Digital Magic Shots.
“With summer in full swing, I find myself spending more and more time in motorcycle rally port-a-potties.  This is an unfortunate trend, to say the least, as I find the port-a-potty to be one of the more unpleasant places to be, especially with your pants down.
The rally environment is filled with all sorts of elements that lead to the need to use, and abuse the port-a-potty.  When one considers the spicy sausage smothered with onions and peppers, the fried dough, the pulled pork with beans and the copious amounts of beer, it is easy to see how the port-a-potty becomes such a hellacious place.  The by-products of this food and drink are deposited by thousands of rally goers in an above ground plastic cube and left to bake in high double digit sun which leads to low triple digit temperatures inside of the cube and a rendering of the by-products that no amount of blue water can suppress.  We have all been there; you know what I am talking about. 

In its defense, the port-a-potty does the best it can under these conditions to provide a needed space for the necessary functions of any rally attendee and if treated properly, it can be nearly civilized.  Unfortunately, the same elements that lead to the need to use the potty also cause significant abuse to the potty which in turn, leaves the potty a less than comfortable space for the next in line.
I think it is time to lay out some general rules and suggestions for the use of the potty for the betterment of all who need to experience it.
The new generation of port-a-potties provides a brilliant option that should be used and observed by all users.  It is the “Gender identification symbol”.  This symbol is simply the universal Man/Woman symbols which indicate if it is a man’s port-a-potty or a woman’s port-a-potty.  Some of you may wonder what the difference is.  Well, there is actually no physical difference.  Both have a seat and a wall funnel but to all women I know, the occupants who use the potty make a huge difference to the condition of the potty.  Men don’t seem to notice this, but women surely do.
When men use our facilities, they do several things differently than we do.  First, they yank rudely on the door whether the little red “occupied” symbol is present or not.  Noting how flimsy the latches are, this is never a good idea especially to a shy bladder on the inside trying to hurry to avoid suffocation in the 105 degree potty.  Secondly, men stand.  In the old days there was no funnel on the wall and men would use the same hole as the women.  Most didn’t put the seat up or down nor did they appear to make any attempt to aim. Gentlemen, you must stand CLOSER, it is shorter than you think.    For this reason I applaud the woman who invented the wall funnel, however the down side of the wall funnel is that it is approximately at chin level to the woman occupying the potty.  For this reason alone, we don’t want the funnel being used in the “ladies potty” under any circumstances.
Now on the flip side, I have to chastise the women who use the port-a-potties.  Whoever came up with this whole “hover” idea is a complete idiot.   Girls, hovering does nothing but cause you to pee all over the seat that then the next woman has to use.  God gave us big asses so that we can seal our own potty seat area and leave no chance of peeing on the seat no matter how drunk we are.  If you want to put paper down first, fine, but please don’t hover, you just don’t have the plumbing to pull it off successfully.
Also ladies, please don’t get confused by the little bar of soap that they put in the funnel on the wall.  No matter how much you rub it between your hands, it won’t foam up or get your hands cleaner.  I’ve tried it.
Smoking a “doobie” in a port-a-potty is bad form.  You would think that would go without saying, but at every rally I find myself stepping into a potty that had just been used by a stoner.  I don’t see what the thought process is that causes someone to go into a tiny cubicle where people go exclusively to do their business in insufferable heat to light up and inhale this air deeply and strongly and hold it in as long as possible.  In fact, I think if you breathe deeply enough in a potty, you can get a buzz without the joint.
And lastly, there is no meeting so serendipitous or any mood so romantic as to warrant any form of sexual encounter in a port-a-potty.
Many rallies have really improved conditions of port-a-potties by providing “potty attendants”.  The best of these are at The Broken Spokes.  A crew (usually the same people at every rally I attend) are on hand to keep paper rolls full, periodically mop out the floors, put candles in at night to aid in seeing and in aroma control, wipe down surfaces, and provide everything from a tampon to a swisher sweet after your potty experience.  I tip these people often and well.  I know how much I hate to clean up after myself in my own house once a week, much less doing it for 10 days straight for thousands of people.  These people are worth every penny of my tip money just for having the wet ones and hand sanitizer available when I am done.  God bless them. And that is how I see it, from behind the lens”  Colleen Swartz


16 Responses to “Motorcycle Rally Bathroom Etiquette”

  1. 1 JWR Jun 30th, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    So true…

  2. 2 nicker Jun 30th, 2009 at 9:10 pm


    Not to worry ma’am.
    Out “Governator” (with the help of the Courts) has just managed to hand greenhouse gas jurisdiction over to the California Air Quality Board (CARB).

    I’m sure these paragons of liberal policy will soon recognize port-a-potties as a huge contributor to global warming (via methane and other noxious gasses being generated there in) and CARB will simply outlaw such environmentally insensitive contraption.

    And since CA seems to be the acknowledged leader in such National stupidity, you-all can be assured that Port-a-potties are soon to become extinct.

    Problem solved………….. 🙂

    Oh ya, about the “by-products of this food and drink”……
    Arnold (being the Biker he is) will tell-ya:

    “… You godda-get tough!…..Stop being such a sissy!… jus-hol-dit…”

    Remember, they don’t want us playing with internal combustion toys.
    For the Left the “ends justifies the means.”
    Port-a-potties are just another “Means.”
    Hay, it’s all about “Change” right..???…… 🙂

    Don’t shoot the messinger.

  3. 3 Rogue Jul 1st, 2009 at 7:35 am

    Yes it is a subject that is definately worth bringing up.
    I do have a few questions though.
    If seperate facilities are provided for different sexes can we also expect what happens at venues that provide more permenant facilities to repeat it self at the porto-a-potties.
    I am refering to women using the mens facilities because the lines to use the womens are so long.
    Not that I have a problem with that just do not get in my way when I am heading for the urnial. LOL
    Recently someone sent me information on a device for women so they could urinate in situations other than sitting. I did send it to women I know and even did remark Could I now expect women to be standing next to me at the urnial. Okay I like being a smart ass now and then.
    I can see it now as I am relieving my blatter there is a conversation with the person at the next urnial – So Colleen did you get and good photos today, well yes Rogue I did, how about you and so on.
    Yea I Know In My Dreams LOL
    Yes I do appreciate the clean facilities and do tip when using them.
    No I have never washed my hands with the small bar of soap. Somehow that is one thing boys learn very young. LOL

    OKAY GIRL ya know I Love Ya Just hadda write something

  4. 4 Rodent Jul 1st, 2009 at 9:25 am

    Doug McCauley Promoter of the Redwood Run as the best solution to the porti-potty problem. No attendents to shame you into tipping for something he provides. At the Redwood Run the porti-potty provider services every porti-potty ever 30-45 minutes with a contantly ciurculating pumper truck and man.

  5. 5 Troy Jul 1st, 2009 at 9:58 am

    In what way are the Port-a-potties at a motorcycle rally & sky diving similar?

    It is best if you do not look down!

  6. 6 Hank Jul 1st, 2009 at 11:40 am

    There seems to be numerous reasons to not attend big rallies & ride your own trip with a few best friends

  7. 7 Sasha Jul 1st, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    I have strong quadriceps and a smart ass thanks to hovering. : ) I carry a pocket size Purell, too.

  8. 8 RICO Jul 1st, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Hey Colleen, Great article…I also will never get used to the way some folks use the portables like a sewer. I guess they think it will be the last time they need it during the event. Can’t say I ever had sex in one…or would ever want to. There should be a name for that, maybe CreekRat Love vs. Mile High Club hahaha Keep up the great work and hope to see you again in Cincy or ??? Look us up if you get down to Florida anytime soon (Rogue still loves ya but I’m hoping to beat him to the sweet thang !!! ….we can all dream anyway)

  9. 9 Rogue Jul 1st, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    Just in case anyone is wondering aboout the device to let a woman stand up and pee like a man LOL
    It can be found at
    and probably a few other places.

  10. 10 Rogue Jul 1st, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    Must be pretty popular.
    Here are a couple more

  11. 11 Gina Woods Jul 2nd, 2009 at 6:45 am

    Good read Colleen! Funny comments!

  12. 12 choppertom Jul 2nd, 2009 at 8:11 am

    one of my trademark accomplishments is to totally ruin a public restroom in a “high class joint” like, say the mall or at a resturant that i have been in.

    now this goes without saying. i don’t deface property, but the next person in will definately know i was there…lol. at least for a few minutes…

    it’s really great when the fumes enter the hallway. LOL

    i will never say my shit doesn’t stink.

  13. 13 john reed Jul 2nd, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    I dont care how bad the porto-a- potties are at runs etc, they have to be better than the the bathrooms in the old days ,
    Do you remember the line of 5 gallon or bigger metal cans filled right to the top, leaking a brown liquid down the side into a lake covered in turds,condoms and toilet paper, thank god for technology.

  14. 14 Jeff Nicklus Jul 6th, 2009 at 12:16 pm


    I have the perfect solution to this problem……. you need to give Paul Jr. a call and have he and his new company design a better, less stinky, ergonomically suited for the female figure, port-a-potty! “The Lady Portie”, as it could be named, could start possibly jump start a whole new TV Seriesand kids lunch box thing for Jr. I know, I know, sometimes I even amaze myself with my ideas!

    In all seriousness, I love your photography work.

    Over & Out,


  15. 15 amy irene white Jul 6th, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    i think the weirdest thing ever was i found a used condom in a really nasty gross porta potty at the gulfport drags. i sincerely hope it wasn’t used there, just disposed of… kinky is one thing, but geez…

  16. 16 amy irene white Jul 6th, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    sasha, i hope you never end up at a rally with my ex husband… he was bad about hiding behind porta potties and shaking the hell out of them when girls went in.

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