Friday, August 2, 2013

Placing Expectations on Bikers

Much is made about the sexuality of motorcycles and leather, where two-wheeled v-twin rebellion clad in black-dyed cowhide sweeps up a young nubile nymph and carries her away at 100mph to a hill far away where her naked body is laid down on a blanket under the stars and held down under a welcomed restraint as he brands her with his iron and claims her as his own.

But you never hear about the sexuality of motorcycles and textile jackets.

It's as if somehow the romanticism is all ruined if he's wearing a polyester, mesh paneled, riding jacket with a giant white Alpine Stars logo on the back.

And should a young nubile nymph agree to ride on the back of such a rider's motorcycle, what would her fantasy be? Is it still the same unbridled passion represented ad nauseum on the covers on trashy romance novels? Or is it more like, "Slow this god damned thing down before you get us both killed!"

I like to think that whatever jacket I'm wearing on my sport touring bike still looks awfully handsome and sexy to Sash.  At least I hope so.  I mean, I don't want to be purely a riding geek.  I still want to know that I'm bad ass in her book (and maybe the books of a few other girls too).

It didn't help me that Visor Down published a recent article describing my beloved Honda ST1300 as a bike primarily ridden by middle-aged guys.

But then again wait a minute... I'm 47 years old!

Originally, I thought I trading in my 2005 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Couch for a sport touring bike was making a move towards getting younger. I always thought Harleys were the bikes of old fat guys whose cerebellums had slowed down and therefore couldn't react as quickly as they used to.

I mean, generally, the life cycle of a motorcyclist usually starts with getting a dirt bike when you were a kid, then getting some kind Universal Japanese Motorcycle, moving on to a speed demon sport bike.  And after so many crashes and broken ribs, they retired themselves to a Milwaukee-assembled V-Twin.

But there are those few riders who started out like most others, except decided that cruisers just aren't their thing.

Is it because we like quieter engines?

It is because a textile jacket with a large white Alpine Stars logo looks stupid on a Harley?

Is it because we don't see ourselves as the male-end of a trashy romance novel?

But on the other side of the coin, I don't want the general public to think that they meet the nicest people on a Honda.  I didn't buy my Honda because I'm a nice guy, and I didn't even buy it because it's a Honda.  I bought it because it offered me the performance, handling, and amenities I wanted at a reasonable price.  If Harley could offer the same thing, I would have considered it.

I'm still the same 19 year old who kick started that Kawasaki KZ400 many years ago.  I'm still the same college guy who used that old bike as a strategy towards putting girls on their backs.  Just because it's now a sport touring bike favored by many middle-aged guys, doesn't somehow change the trashy romance novel to a self-help book on low-carb dieting.

And just because I'm married doesn't mean I won't ride your wife out to the hills.  :-)

Of course, I'm no outlaw either.  I'm only looking to be the guy I am on the inside which is a complicated balance of Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, Dr. McCoy, and Tickle Me Elmo.  How that is reflected in the motorcycle I ride and the gear I wear is all there, Honda and all.

But eyes are deceiving.

Eyes are too easily tricked by icons and brands.  We see what's on the surface and fill in the blanks for what lies underneath, and there's far too many fish in the sea to spend any amount of time filleting each one by hand.

But it always fun to fantasize.

It's just always a disappointment when we place expectations on others.

11 comments:

  1. Awesome post Steve!
    I'm always interested and amazed at the perceptions that riders and non-riders alike have about us depending on the type of scoot we straddle.

    In the end, it still seems like you can't judge a book by its cover. But then again, stereotypes started from some bit of truth, didn't they?

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  2. I thought the post was funny and yet cranial filling. I fit into a new 1% rider, in fact I think I am the only one, the top member of a Charter style. I ride a Harley, an Ironhead, an XLH Sportster of 1975 vintage - that makes it an antique like me - and yet we are doing something new. I have given up the Black leather jacket and pants (No chaps for me please), and began again after many years to use a full face helmet. My jacket is a Tourmaster Epic in brite yellow with some black for sex appeal. When I ride now the H-D guys no longer wave, the sport bike riders look confused and the scooter crowd won't return the wave. If I come to a light and some H-D rider approaches from behind they will do anything it takes not to be seen near me, even cut into a vacant lot with crackheads if that's what it takes.
    My new jacket is so loud you can't help but see me, more than one rider has told me that and ask if it has a volume control, cars that might have pulled out in front of me no longer do, plus most drivers in traffic stay farther behind now. My brother who was driving the chase truck on a recent trip said he could see me from afar, in the sun my Jacket was glowing as was my helmet from the reflection off the jacket. Even when I was up ahead and he could not see the bikes behind me very well he had no problem knowing where I was. So, as jackets and women go, I don't have to take them by force as dime store hoodlums do, I just blind them with my jacket and it gives them the Deer in the headlight syndrome
    You sir are Rebel of the new breed such as I, now get your ELMO on and ride..

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    Replies
    1. Sounds like you own the day-glo yellow and made it your bitch, and that I gotta respect!

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  3. Great post Steve. You are going to destroy the fantasy to a lot of leather clad boys and girls :-)

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  4. I like it! Even if I am the cliche'd black leather biker. What can I say, I wore leather for so long chasing cows in the brush - leather is the only thing that holds up to that abuse... and doesn't rub holes in your legs against a saddle ;) ... that leather is what I'm comfortable in, physically and inside my head. Tradition is hard to run against.

    That mine is worn a lot is told by the bug guts, cuts, and scuffs and torn stitching that has applied the patina of many miles... so on that score I ride what I'm comfortable in...

    ...but I still giggle when I see the Billy Bad Ass "Black Leather Bikers" in their Vests, and chaps and jackets... all spiffy and shiny... with the crease marks clear and prominent... from where they get folded up to be stored all week until it's a non-raining, Friday night ride to the bar time! ;)

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  5. Great post Steve.

    And for the record, we women who ride with our hubbies think they are sexy no matter what kind of riding jacket or bike they rockin at the time.

    Hell I'd think Troubadour would be sexy wearing a pink Hello Kitty jacket, but then I might be touched in the head.

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  6. Enjoyed your post Steve. I like your complicated balance. Ride on.
    -Alex at http://eatsleepride.com/rider/1011

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  7. Steve, you had me right up to the point you said you'd ride my wife out to the hills. But then I thought, wait a minute, I wouldn't have to kick his ass...Sash would! Ride on, brother. :-) ~Curt

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  8. Nice writing, Steve, as always.

    I've arrived to the point that I (almost always) wear what's safe when I head out for a ride...not what looks cool.

    Man, I sure used to dress to impress, though! All leathered up and looking like Judas Priest on-stage.

    Now I pretty much look like a cordura-covered motorbike's geek.

    Hey, it's me.

    But my wife agreed with Trobaritz in that we ALWAYS look cool to our wimmin!

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About Steve

San Diego, CA-based motorcycle rider who likes long road trips, old rustic bars, craft beer, and tough women. Can often be found where there's free Wi-Fi, writing about the mysteries of life. (Read more...)