hip40by Victor Wanchena

The first hints of spring are here and you would think that after this long cold winter I would be full of ideas for this column. Nope. Despite months of continually dreaming of riding without actually getting to do any has only dulled my wits to the point that all I can write about is not knowing what to write about. It’s somehow a cliche and very ironic at the same time. I thought about trying one of the other ultra-cliche spring topics like “It’s almost spring boy I can’t wait to ride,” but no, that’s not for me. There’s the ever available “I really like / don’t like this part of riding” or the equally tired “This particular segment of the riding public are morons because”, but I couldn’t start the year off on an old standby.

Instead let’s go over the things I want to do this year in regards to motorcycling, sort of a personal list of resolutions in regards to riding. The first item is something I say every year. Ride more. I do a bit more every year and am always glad I did. It’s a bit of a no-brainer but still I often find myself so busy that the fundamental reason I own a motorcycle, to ride it, is compromised by the pressures of day to day life. So this is a challenge not only to myself but also to all riders. Get out there and ride. I try to do little things that get me out of the house and on the bike, like not washing my bike as much. I was reminded of this in a note in the Aerostitch catalog which said, ” Avoid too much polishing. It leads to idolatry.” Good point. We all remember what happened with Moses and the golden calf. Not pretty.

The next item on my list is to not be so serious about myself or the brand I ride. I believe riders have become too sensitive about their chosen brand or style of bike. We need to get a sense humor and be able to smile when someone talks or writes about the idiosyncrasies of our chosen form of riding. So when someone makes a wisecrack about touring riders wearing matching jackets and lots of polyester I will simply smile and remind him or her about the fact that sport riders tend to look like a primate engaged in sexual congress with a football. Or when someone points out that European bike owners obviously have repressed fantasies about large women in metal brassieres and beer as thick as mud, I will only chuckle, not hurl back obscenities. As riders we are all on the same team regardless of our chosen brand. The “my bike rules, all others suck” philosophy needs to be taken out behind the woodshed and put out of its misery.

The last item on my list sounds the corniest of them all but in reality is the most important. That is that I need to always be the goodwill ambassadors to motorcycling. On the road our conduct is what forms the public’s perception of riders and motorcycling in general. I am all about being a hooligan in the right setting and at the right time, but too often I see riders acting as if they own the road and causing the parents in the minivan to put motorcycles on little Jimmy’s no-no list. The right people with the wrong attitudes about motorcycling can threaten our freedom to ride in a very serious manner. On or off the bike a smile and the right attitude will get you farther than brandishing a tire iron or a snub-nosed .38 revolver.

So this spring ride fast and take chances. Just do more of it, with a smile on your face.


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