Wolf still has his leather vest, ponytail and silver rings on each hand, rolls his own cigarettes with Bugler tobacco and has 43 gems and baubles pierced through the cartilage of his ears.
He still has his fat Honda 750 motorcycle, on which he rode this week from Weyauwega, Wis., maintains the dark, bearded visage of a man proud of his image, and remains, he says, every inch a biker.
But he has shed the decades of blinding alcoholism, the years of criminal conduct and the antisocial activities that once went with his persona. Now he straps a briefcase to his bike.
And this weekend, Wolf, who, like many recovering alcoholics, prefers that his name not be used, is the chief host and organizer of the first annual worldwide rally of clean and sober bikers, which runs through tomorrow at the Frederick County (Md.) Fairgrounds.
Though so far lightly attended, it is a striking gathering of men and women from across the country decorated with skull rings and thorn tattoos, clad in denim, leather and bandannas, and mounted aboard rumbling Hondas and Harley-Davidsons.
Yet, as they rolled in from Ohio, Connecticut and Pennsylvania this week, a vase of yellow roses sat at the outdoor registration table. Workshops were scheduled on spirituality and relationships. And most participants, grizzled though they were, carried powerful stories of redemption.
The modest gathering was, indeed, far different from the beer-swilling, breast-baring bacchanals of the hundred-thousand-plus biker rallies in Sturgis, S.D., Daytona, Fla., and Laconia, N.H.
Although more arrivals were expected today, the rally's busiest day, only a few hundred appeared to be on hand yesterday, prompting complaints from the vendors of leather wear and biker jewelry who had set up stalls.
But Wolf, 42, a former Army rifle instructor now studying toward a PhD in counseling psychology, and co-organizer Jean Wittman, 36, whose life took her from Chevy Chase, where she started drinking at age 10, to a Florida motorcycle gang, were encouraged nonetheless. It was not bad for the first time, they said. The big rallies started small, too.
"This is a work of God," a parched and sunburned Wittman said happily yesterday, as the fairgrounds exhibit hall began to fill up with gleaming custom Harleys.
Wolf said he and other bikers in recovery had been pondering the idea behind the rally for years: Could you leave addiction and negative conduct behind and still be a hard-core biker?
The answer, he and others passionately believed, was yes.
"For many people, recovery from alcoholism or drug addiction is a real struggle," Wolf said Thursday, as he stood near the registration table, a pair of sunglasses propped atop a Crocodile Dundee-style hat.
"For a biker, they have to pretty much give up their identity as a biker," he said. "Because, for a lot of their history, biking was about running from bar to bar on their motorcycle, and big parties and drugs, alcohol and raising hell."
That loss "leaves a big empty spot in them," Wolf said. "Now they have two big empty spots: They lost their best friend, alcohol or drugs, plus they lost their identity as a biker. It's one of the things that causes a lot of bikers to relapse."
But Wolf and many in attendance this weekend said biking, substance abuse and hell-raising needn't necessarily go together. And they held the rally as one way to prove it.
The cohort of the nation's motorcyclists has aged and broadened over the years, and the image of the ferocious Hell's Angel has been leavened tremendously by the advent of doctors, lawyers and retirees to its ranks.
There remain, though, those who call themselves "bikers"--die-hards for whom biking is a way of life--a solitary priesthood, intoxicated by the wind, the road and the machine.
"Once a biker always a biker," said Wittman, now of Frederick, who said she has lived the lifestyle for two decades, much of the time heavily involved in substance abuse.
"You name it, I did it," she said. "Heroin. Cocaine. PCP. The whole nine yards. In 1993, I hit a bottom. I woke up out of a blackout in Southeast lockup in D.C. and didn't know how I had gotten there. . . . I had a spiritual awakening."
She vowed to chuck her addictions. But she cherished the lifestyle.
"To me, it's very important," she said Thursday, extensive shoulder tattoos of roses and lilies peeking out from under her black halter top. "It's who I am. It's what I've been. I can't exactly, with all these tattoos, go back and become a nonbiker person."
Besides, she said: "I love it. I love being in the wind. I love the fellowship that comes with being around bikers. Most of them are very solid citizens. They care about each other."
And as they continued to roll in yesterday for traditional biker games like the "weenie bite"--in which a passenger on a moving bike bites at a dangling hot dog--they resembled a horde right from the movies.
But the dry throats of these fearsome riders would be slaked this weekend only with iced coffee and lemonade, and their urges addressed with workshops on anger management, responsibility and working with others.