Jul 19, 2009

On Motorcycles, Transportation, and the Wind in My Hair

I know little about motorcycles, and I have operated a motorcycle exactly two times in my life for short drives down the street about 20 years ago. Yet I find appealing the idea of traveling around town or on short trips for such a low cost, and from time to time notions pop into my head that I might one day own a motorcycle.

I took the picture of the folks on your left west of Toledo, and they appeared to be enjoying the afternoon sunshine and mild temperatures last week. I envied their ability to feel the breeze in their faces as they drove, though the fear of a crushed skull would mean that I would wear a helmet if I ever took up the pastime of motorcycle riding.

However, my distaste for brand-name mania means that I would not make much of a spokesperson for the Harley Davidson lifestyle. I am not against riding a Hog, mind you, but the idea of being decked head-to-toe with HD insignias and logos appeals to me about as much as being draped in Nike apparel or Hollister gear.

Which is to say, not at all.

I would, however, have no problem outfitting myself with a complete black leather cycle gear set. I say this with an eye toward the traditional outcast cyclist motif, a la James Dean or even 1980s Bono Vox, but I suppose one could make a Freudian argument that this really says more about my latent tendencies toward bovine slaughter or dominatrix fascination.

Beats me.


Middle Aged Woman said...

I am all for cyclists who want to ride helmetless, as long as:

A)They sign a waiver absolving the insurance company of long-term care, as here in MI, that falls on AL of us through the Catastrophic Claims pool, and

B)They have not yet reproduced, allowing Darwinism to serve its purpose and prevent the stoopid genes from passing on.

Mesmerix said...

My boyfriend is a paramedic. He refers to motorcyclists who don't wear a helmet as "organ donors."

Mad Jack said...

Wind in the face? Ok, how do you tell a happy motorcyclist from a sad one? Give up? By the bugs in his teeth! Ha! Get it? Ok, so go and check the protean residue on your windshield or the grill of your car.

Consider that any extended ride leaves you with wind burn and general wear and tear. Anything you collect while riding at 30 or 40 stings like a bitch, and at 70 raindrops feel like shotgun pellets.

Am I convincing you not to ride? No? Okay, Perfesser. Go out to the paved street in front of your house. Take a dog or two with you, as dogs like this kind of thing. Hold the leash in one hand, squat down and run the other hand over the surface of the paved street. Note that if you do this too hard or too fast, you'll do yourself a mischief. Now consider that 30 miles per hour translates into 44 feet per second. Walk down the street 44 feet, taking the dog with you. Look back. Think about sliding on the asphalt from where you are standing to where you used to be in one second. Oh, but your leather jacket will protect you, right? And you're quite right. Your leathers will hold up for about ten feet, then that asphalt will quickly chew through your Levi's and start remodeling the interior of your wife's favorite husband. But you'll wear a helmet, right? Which will keep your brains intact.

Continue walking the happy dog down the street. Note that you don't limp or suffer any pain while walking. Jog a little, because you can and the dog likes it. See that your spine is intact and that your arms work correctly. Spilling your bike tends to change all that, and not for the better either.

I like riding a motorcycle. It's fun. But, you have to share the street with others, and that's where the trouble begins and ends. It isn't that you'll spill the bike, which you will do one way or another. It's that some idiot in a cage will run you over, or pull out in front of you, or run you off the road (like the school bus did to me), or run you off the road into oncoming traffic (like the old lady in the Cadillac did to me).

And, by the way, Messmerix's boy friend is kidding her. The organs are always too mangled to donate.

-Sepp said...

Harley clothes are nothing but overpriced costume apparel for folks who like to play dressup. I've been riding for nearly 30 years and loving every minute of it.