Saturday, December 01, 2007

Just a little more before I let go of this.

I had an experience today that I found quite interesting. It involved one of my students from early this year. His wife is in the class this weekend. She's a driver's ed instructor, by the way. I'm not really trying to put anyone down by relating this. It's just a real life experience that happened to cross my path. By the way, we got snowed on for a while this morning but it didn't stick. Cool to watch the bikes among the snowflakes.

Anyway, this guy showed up at lunch time to visit his wife. He's the proud owner of a new Harley Glide series. I don't know all the models and I don't apologize for it. I commented on the guy's gear. His full face helmet is yellow. His jacket is black on the lower part with yellow and black mixed in the upper part. It's good looking and provides some visibility.

The reason the guy took the class in the first place was to ride with some of the guys from his place of employment. They had gotten him enthused about riding. Since they all rode Harleys he bought the same brand. Today this former student of mine expressed his disappointment to me.

Seems that when he showed up for a ride with his new bike and gear, he was promptly told he'd not be allowed to ride with them. Here's his quote on what they said,

"We wear black. Nothing else is allowed. We also don't wear full face helmets. If you want to ride with us, you have to look like us."

To my student's credit, he stuck to his guns. He told me he just didn't think it was worth it. If his gear made him visible to one in a thousand drivers he was better off than these other guys who were visible to one in ten thousand. ( his statement )
He also didn't want to wear a half shell helmet. What was the use of saving the top of his head while his face got ripped off if, God forbid, he crashed?

So his wife is taking the class and they are going to do their own thing. I'm sure they'll find other riding companions soon.

I wish you could have heard this guy tell his story. He sounded like a child who'd been rebuffed by one of his heroes.

This sort of reminds me of an old ballad. I've slightly changed the words of this line. To the tune of Streets of Laredo imagine this line.

"I see by my outfit that you are a biker. I see by my outfit that I'm a biker, too!"

Just thought I'd share this for whatever it's worth. I was amused by the situation.

Have a great rest of the weekend.

Miles and smiles,



Steve Williams said...

Style is everything for a lot of people from Harley riders to office workers to Dead Heads.

Black and yellow sounds kind of nice. If you see him again tell him I'd ride with him!

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

irondad said...

I actually thought of you when I saw his jacket! Functional and tasteful.

Joe said...

Good for your student. I guess that's why I almost always ride by myself or with my wife because I'm not into all that style and poser stuff. I couldn't imaging riding with a half shell, I'd be scared to death. I was lucky enough to not get hurt when I started riding wearing an open face helmet, much less to tempt fate now.

Balisada said...

Truly, I am sorry for the guy.

He can at least take solace in knowing that he will at least be part of a group of motorcyclists that don't ride an image, but they ride a motorcycle.

He is now free to wave at anyone he pleases!

I jokingly remarked to someone today that if I was to wear my tiger ears on my full-face helmet while riding a Harley, Harley guys would have a fit.

I had no idea that I was right.

Lucky said...

Yep, if you see him again, I'll ride with him too.

Shame on the guys who wouldn't ride with him. Everyone look at the non-conformists being a jerk to another non-conformist not conforming to their standards of non-conformity.

I'll admit that I prefer dressing in black, but if you want to wear pink leathers and *shudder* tiger's ears, I'll still ride with you.

I will not, however, ride with anyone - apart from Evel Knievel - wearing white leathers. And if you wear a half-helmet, I'll tell you that you look like Gazoo.

Krysta in Milwaukee said...

Black is for funerals. Hope it's not their own.

Good on him for sticking to what he knows is right. I'm sure he'll quickly find new 'friends' if he looks for gatherings of riders... not poseurs like his co-workers, but riders.

I like Lucky's comment about non-conformity. May have to remember that one.

Only people I won't ride with are the LPSL folks, 'cause I don't want to be associated with the noise. I'll probably giggle at the ears stuck to your helmet (that's why they're there, right?), or comment on your (lack of) appropriate gear, but if you want to go without, that's your decision. Just don't expect me to commiserate about your (preventable) injuries much beyond "sorry you're hurt".

Heinz & Frenchie said...

We think it is great that he is riding with his wife. Having family time on 2 wheels is what it is all about. He won't miss those look-a-likes for long.

dru_satori said...

While sad, this mentatality isn't exclusive to Harley guys, it seems to happen in all segments of the community.

Oh well, their loss.

That's the part that sucks the most, but excluding a guy that wanted to ride with them, they create situations where they either chase of potential riders in general, or in this case they alienated a rider that looks to be on the path to building better bonds than those guys ever had. He and his wife will be better for it, and he will be better for sticking to his guns.

Tinker said...

I figure black &yellow id a maximal contrast color pattern.
It can be seen easily even by people color perceptionb deficits.

I'd be happy to wear such a pattern, if anyone made a jacket to fit me. Of course, I have to confess they probably would not ride with me either. Most cuiser riders are just trying to wear old style Uniforms, for the most part.

Solid black is fine on the sidewalks but it just not all that visible on the street. Its hard to realize what we used to wear 30 years ago, is just plain dangerous.

Tinker said...

Sorry about the typos, folks

irondad said...

I'm with you. Can't imagine riding with a half shell.

Perhaps if you wore the tiger ears on a black half shell helmet?

Would pink or white leathers actually cause target fixation?
By the way, none of us will ride with Evel on this earth again, as you know. God rest his soul.

I actually got lost in the non-conformity loop!
Hear you folks in Milwaukie are getting hammered for ice and snow. You doin' ok?

Heinz & Frenchy,
His wife passed the class this weekend and didn't do too badly. I'm sure they'll find each other to be great riding companions, as well. My fondest ride memories are with Katie on the pillion.

I think you're right about the "putting off" part. He was going to ride to work but probably won't until he deals with how these guys look at him. Although, I'd be surprised if these guys actually rode to work very often, themselves.

My 'Stich is black and yellow. It's true you seldom see combinations like that on cruiser riders. However, the good news is that I'm starting to see more of them with brighter gear and full face helmets.

I tried to resist the temptation to pry, but lost. You made the comment "if anyone made a jacket to fit me". What challenge do you face finding a jacket to fit? If you feel like sharing, of course!

Take care,


Krysta in Milwaukee said...

"Hear you folks in Milwaukie are getting hammered for ice and snow. You doin' ok?"

Mostly. I'm getting lots of exercise, but I don't like being cold. Can't ride 'til A) my new Stich arrives & B) Karl puts new winter tires on the sidecar.

Sat. the 1st I stayed inside. Outside, it snowed from about 11am to maybe 6pm. Then it rained. Then came night, and it all froze.

Sun. the 2nd I spent over an hour shovelling my little 1-lane by 60' driveway + front walk. There was only about 5" of snow, but with the frozen rain soaking through, it was HEAVY.

Tues. the 4th overnight we got hit again, but this time it was fluffy. The skiiers are in heaven. Another 6", but it didn't take nearly as long to clear the pavement this time.

I hear there are a few more inches in store for us tonight. ::le sigh:: And it was below zero F last night. Ick.

Compared to what these storms did out on the west coast, causing all that flooding, we're not doing badly.