I’m thinking there’s a good bunch of you out there who are wholeheartedly dedicated to promoting and securing the good name of motorcycling.
You like to think of yourselves as good people. Responsible citizens contributing to the good of the whole while nurturing wholesome thoughts of goodness and goodery.
You’re law-abiding and you always ride at the speed limit. You pay your taxes. You wear all the right gear when you ride your motorcycle lest the unthinkable happen and the bike suddenly fires itself into a tree, or the road surface causes the tyres to surrender, or a car-driver nudges you off a cliff. You know full well these things happen despite your best efforts at the handlebars, and you want to be prepared.
But most of all, you feel it is incumbent upon you to uphold the good name of motorcycling and to sit in harsh judgement and condemnation upon those vile tramps and ne’er-do-wells who would bring that good name into disrepute.
Those feckless bastards who are ruining motorcycling for the rest of us. The selfish swine who give motorcycling a bad name. Those reprehensible muckers eagerly hammering nails into the coffin of motorcycling respectability.
In short, people like me and my friends.
Yes, we’re the ones who knock. With hammers.
And we’re the ones who speed. And we’re also the ones who indulge in unrestrained two-wheeled hooliganism.
We’re the ones who come slicing through your road-going cavalcade of colostomy bags, fat wives, and servile acquiescence to the State like arse-butter through a goose.
We’re the ones with loud pipes, loud laughter, and loud howling five-gear burnouts in front of pubs full of cheering drunks. We’re the ones with tattooed hands and necks. We’re the ones who don’t clean our bikes all that much, but we know a bit about setting up our suspension and not turning in too early on a sharp downhill right-hander.
We prefer beer to soy lattes, and our arteries have been hardened by terrible pies bought in stinking servos and served by the unwashed hands of hot, sullen country girls with runny noses and vast hoop earrings. You are free to pound smashed avocado into your colon and make tutt-tutt noises each time one of us sails around the outside of you on some bend you’re struggling not to crash in. “Giving motorcycling a bad name” I believe you call it.
Here’s something you might consider in your rush to judgement upon me and my bad-mannered ilk.
Motorcycling has never had a good name. It has always been and must always remain a haven for misfits, outlaws, and anti-social speed-freaks, some of whom do very much want to watch the world burn but refrain from lighting the match because they have motorcycling to placate the demons.
If it is not that, then it is not worth doing.
And if it is not that to you, then you’re doing it wrong.
Furthermore, nothing I do on a bike and nothing you do on a bike, and certainly nothing that any pleasantly-disposed mugwump does on a bike, will make any difference to how motorcycling and motorcyclists are perceived by society at large and its police, whose job is to vex the more freedom-minded of us.
You can pretend how the way you ride, all politeness and sweetness and light, has a bearing on how car drivers perceive us as a whole.
But you’d be wrong. Just as wrong as you were when you decided you were going to buy a 1000kg cruiser as your return bike after a non-riding hiatus of 40 years and maybe hitch a 500kg trailer to it. Just as wrong as you were when you didn’t divorce the terrible harridan you’re now forced to ferry around the country at 10km/h below the posted limit because she doesn’t really like going fast.
If you dispensed $50 notes at each set of lights to the drivers around you they would still hate you.
If I was to smash a rolling burnout through the playground of my local primary school as the kiddies ate their lunch, it would not make one iota of difference to the level of dislike Australian society has for motorcycle riders.
So I will not waste my time trying to get people who cannot ever like me to like me.
I would much rather ride as hard and as fast and as nasty as I can get away with each and every time I get on a motorcycle. I would much rather pit my wits and skills against the road, the Highway Patrol, and the world in general, than chug along dispensing bullshit bon homie in the vain hope I don’t tarnish an image Australian motorcycling has never actually had.
And you know what?
Motorcycling is a respectable hobbie over there.
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