April’s Fools


by Louis Cypher

I’ve been noticing lately that some motorcyclists have been saying and doing some really stupid things. Things like:

A) “I use premium fuel in my bike to make it go faster…” O.K., listen up here. With few exceptions, motorcycles are designed to run on 87 octane fuel. Check your owner’s manual for your bike’s requirements, and use that octane fuel. Anything more than that is wasted. It always amuses me when people tell me of how they ran “race fuel” and immediately gained 40 horsepower, increased their top speed by 30 MPH and picked up more chicks. 99.9% of these guys could go faster by spending their money at a race school or an MSF class.

B) 85% of male motorcyclists rate themselves as above average riders. (Source: Midwest Polling 1997 traffic survey.)

C) How can 12 zillion people all buy the same chrome widget for their bike and then call it custom?

D) If A.B.A.T.E. is an acronym for bikers and education etc. (or whatever their initials mean now), then why is it that any flyer or poster you see for one of their functions lists beer as a reason to attend?

E) Ever notice how many BMW riders buy the latest ABS equipped bikes, Kevlar gloves, Gore-tex boots, Aerostitch suits, and then wear their System helmets? Hello? Helmets should be discarded after five years. System IIs went out of production in ’91, and System I went out back in ’87. These helmets weren’t even that good then. It’s past time to replace them.

F) I’ve often noticed that the individual who is having a benefit thrown for them is frequently the same person you’ve heard at the other bike events spouting the “freedom of choice” and “personal responsibility” rhetoric. Shouldn’t the “personal responsibility” part have started with them having adequate insurance?

G) “I had to lay ‘er down….” Translation (pick one): 1) I’m an unskilled rider who was faced with an emergency situation, and all I did was lock up the rear wheel, lose control of the bike and crash. 2) I’m a highly skilled rider who was faced with an emergency situation. I carefully considered all options and decided the best thing to do was to slam myself on the ground at 50 MPH.

H) “Loud pipes save lives….” This phrase has to be the most moronic pile of B.S. ever unleashed on motorcycling. Squids on sportbikes, crowds of cruisers, even two-up tourers all join together in an incredible eardrum assault obviously orchestrated to save us unsuspecting souls from a horror the likes of which we cannot comprehend. Listen up you clowns, there has never been any study done that has substantiated this “saves lives” crap. The next time you’re out in your car running down the highway behind one of these loud-piped morons, try this easy experiment: roll up the window and turn on the radio. What do you hear? That’s right, nothing! You’re in the direction the pipes are pointed. If you can’t hear it, how can the person in the car turning left 50 yards in front of the bike? I bounced this idea off of some of these “life savers” and they pointed out the scenario of the car in the next lane that merges right into you. “You’re right” I said, “but we need to change the phrase, so it’s accurate. I propose the phrase now state ‘loud pipes save lives of motorcyclists too stupid to stop driving in cars’ blind spots’.” Catchy, huh? If they’d had opposed thumbs, I think they might have made fists.

Even though car drivers may not always be able to hear you, you know who can? John Q. Public, that’s who–the guy out in his yard, the mother putting her child down for a nap, the priest in confession, the people running the corner store. These loud pipe cowboys are annoying the hell out of mainstream America. Although motorcycling is enjoying a resurgence in popularity, there is a very visible anti-motorcycle current flowing out there. When you continuously annoy that many people, eventually some will start to complain, and some will complain loudly. When they go to their elected officials demanding that “something be done about those damn motorcycles,” we’ve got real trouble. Something the “savin’ lives” crowd does not grasp is that our elected officials and judges are part of the same mainstream America that’s getting sick and tired of hearing this noise. Politicians who were once on our side have turned, and once open doors are being closed. Are you aware that the Chicago City Council is currently working on a law banning motorcycles on city streets during certain hours? Do you know in Canyon Lake, California it is illegal to ride a motorcycle on any street at any time? The AMA went all the way to the Supreme Court and LOST on that one. Did you hear about the politician here in Minnesota who was having a conversation with an AMA member last year? He said, “I used to side with motorcyclists on their issues, but not any more.” When asked why he replied, “Why don’t you ask the son-of-a-bitch who goes roaring past my house every night at two a.m.”

Loud pipes, here’s what they do: 1) make motorcyclist look bad, 2) frequently reduce performance, 3) attract police officers and 4) cause others to secretly speculate what personal inadequacy you’re trying to compensate for. And don’t forget, you paid good money for them.

Louis Cypher is a 41-year-old motorcyclist who lives with his wife and daughter in the north metro area. He currently owns three bikes: a BMW R100, a Harley-Davidson FXRS and a Honda Hurricane. He belongs to AMA, MMRA, MRF and A.B.A.T.E. and believes you should too.

While at a recent bike event, he saw a gentleman with an Excelsior-Henderson logo tattooed on his arm. After talking to him, Louis learned the man had never owned an Excelsior-Henderson, didn’t have one on order and didn’t work for them. “How odd,” he mused. “I always thought you got a tattoo of something you really believed in, something you were really committed to. This guy’s got one of something that doesn’t even exist in his world.” Using this logic, Louis has been begging, pleading and cajoling his wife, Di, to finally let him get a tattoo of his own. His choice of design? Winged Yorkshires, of course.


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