It’s probably just as well so few riders under the age of sixty will read this – because it was first published in a magazine. Magazines, as much as I still love them – and having devoted my entire working life to producing them, my love is genuine – just don’t pull in the big crowds anymore. So most of the readership is getting on some.
But there’s two kinds of old. My kind and your kind.
And your kind is disgracefully shameful.
When I started riding, I would look at the older riders with genuine awe. They were so fast! They rode so well! They were doing exactly what Hunter S observed people like that did – they walked tall, they laughed at what was funny and they shit on the chests of the weird.
I aspired to be like that. That aspiration guided and nurtured me. It still does, and I am in my early sixties so I am not quite done yet, and honestly never will be.
But it seems so many of you are done.
Instead of still celebrating the sheer visceral joy of motorcycling, instead of relentlessly thumbing your nose at authority, and instead of always embracing the atavistic purity of speed and danger – which is the pure soul of riding – you’ve become this tutt-tutting Greek chorus of moaning old bitches.
When faced with the Orwellian horror of speed cameras, you chant: “If you don’t speed you have nothing to worry about”.
When you see someone smash out a three-gear wheelie, or hammer past you at twice the posted limit, you mewl about how such things are: “Unsafe and give all motorcyclists a bad name.”
You actively subscribe to and parrot government propaganda that speed kills, passive safety gear is a must, and the sub-human, granny-killing thugs who police us are to be respected and obeyed without question.
You wish, and may the Road Gods painfully rot what is left of your mousy wee souls, that people “Ride safe!” instead of “Ride well!”.
When did it all change for you? When did you give up on being a motorcyclist?
Was it when your knees gave way? Was it the last time you dropped your bike? Was it when your GP prescribed you blood pressure medication and told you to take it easy? Was it when your blousy wife told you it was time to sell the bike and focus on the garden?
When Stephen King wrote his magnum opus, The Dark Tower, he used a phrase which was the greatest insult to the gunslinger, Roland of Gilead.
“You have forgotten the face of your father.” Which is to say Roland had behaved a way that brought shame and disgrace to all his father and his ancestors had taught him about honour, duty, and indeed, gunslinging.
You, you doddery old shit-gibbons, have forgotten the face of motorcycling. And thus, you have cloaked your twilight years with shame and disgrace and betrayal.
You have entirely forgotten why you took up this crazy motorcycle shit in the first place, haven’t you?
Because it was safe?
I don’t think so. You took it up because it was hellishly dangerous, and therefore so achingly exciting and fulfilling, it was quite obviously the greatest thing a man (or woman) could do in his or her short time upon this earth.
Some died doing it. Some were maimed. So what? That’s the price one sometimes pays for doing the greatest of things. You knew this then and you know this now.
And yet you have chosen to purse your aged lips in condemnation and squirm in your incontinence nappies each time you see a motorcyclist edge-lording like a thousand bastards.
You bow and scrape at the Altar of Safety like compliant curs. Your spirit has been broken and your youth long-forgotten. I’ll bet you sometimes think back and wonder if that was even you doing donuts on the mountain at Bathurst, or seeing how long you could keep your throttle pinned on a hot summer night out in the suburbs with three beers in your belly.
But you don’t think about it for too long, do you?
You can’t. If you were to ponder, at any length, what was and compare it to what is, the disgusting hypocrisy of your current existence, and the lies you tell yourself about still being a motorcyclist, would choke you.
And I would that it did.
If all you have left is fading memories you don’t even believe happened any more, and a yellow heart full of self-righteous condemnation for those who still see riding bikes for the lizard-brain ecstasy it has always been, then the sooner you gag on your gruel, the better.
Motorcycling is better off without you. Hell, the world is a better place when the least possible amount of you safety-freaks, traitors, and pants-wetters exist.
Off you go.
You have indeed forgotten the face of motorcycling.
Or could it be you never even knew it at all?
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Boris is a writer who has contributed to many magazines and websites over the years, edited a couple of those things as well, and written a few books. But his most important contribution is pissing people off. He feels this is his calling in life and something he takes seriously. He also enjoys whiskey, whisky and the way girls dance on tables. And riding motorcycles. He's pretty keen on that, too.