by Victor Wanchena
I was bored. It was late at night and I found myself parked in front of the television. Nothing good was on. Hundreds of channels and all of them crap. The two-wheeled content of the Speed Channel has diminished since it subtly began devoting 97% of all programming time to NASCAR. Most other channels were either infomercials or celebrity expose shows. As I mindlessly flipped channels I caught the end of a teaser for an up coming segment on motorcycles. Being the sucker that I am, I sat through what seemed like an eternity of commercials until the segment began. The open shots are of a sport-bike, front tire pointed skyward, weaving through busy freeway traffic. Cue the scary music, cue dramatic voice over, ” Blah, blah, blah, death machines, blah, blah, terror and mayhem…” I had unwittingly tuned into a quasi-news program, the type that will show all the important things like the latest fad diet or who that Hilton girl has carnal knowledge of this week. Well, they had now decided to cast their journalistic eye on sport bikes, specifically on the makers of sport bike stunt videos.
The program went on to show several scenes from one video that included riders doing things so foolhardy that I won’t mention them here. They then went and confronted the maker and “star” of the video. When asked why he would ride in such a reckless way with no regard for the law this extreme boy responded with, “What’s the law?” Yikes! The end result was a portrayal of most sport bike riders as brain addled speed freaks with zero regard for their lives or the lives of those around them. I couldn’t really blame the show; it was just too easy a story not to do it. Flashy video clips, drama, mayhem and a moron willing to say about the dumbest thing he could into the camera is the equivalent to crack for news show producers. No, my real ire was directed at the “star” of this little gem. Instead of being willing to do stupid tricks in anonymity he has decided to expose himself to the world by video taping himself in the act.
These videos are easily spotted. Just look for the word extreme or anytime the letter s is replaced by z in the title. I have seen a few of them and they all have the same sort of look. Grainy, poor quality video of riding stunts set to music. Always filmed on public roads or parking lots. Maybe some attempts at witty quips thrown in and a vague warning like, “Don’t try this at home. We’re cool you’re not.” On the surface these videos are benign, some hooligans out having a little fun; at least they’re not mugging old ladies or selling drugs, right? But below the surface lies the ugly truth, these videos are simply evidence to be used against the rest of us. Long after these grifters have moved on to something more extreme, we will be left with documented evidence of how foolish and irresponsible riders can be. 99% of riders do not behave in this way but they will not be the ones remembered. But the fool who parades his stupidity for all to see will be remembered and not fondly.
Ride fast, take chances.