I've been trying to write something about motorcycles but it hasn't panned out. It started when I saw this histrionic bumper sticker that said "Watch For Them. PLEASE." I think the Cadillac Escalade that sported this little missive might have been crying as it went by only barely concealed by a blue plume of exhaust. My first thought (when I could breathe again) was, "yeah you better watch for those motorcycles. They come hurtling up the dotted line between two columns of accelerating cars with more noise than three hundred thousand rampaging toddlers."
Why isn't anyone championing the cause of the bicyclist? Oh sure there are a few weenie stickers out there saying "Share the Road" but we all know they use those "Share the Road" signs when the locals are too cheap to put in a bike lane.
Motorcyclists occasionally like to claim a certain kinship with bicyclists. I'm always polite but it's the kind of watchful polite I get when I'm talking to a meth addict. We are not alike.
1. Motorcyclists kill car drivers. Bicyclists do not.
2. Motorcyclists are not some special win for the environment. Once you notice that they only carry one (rarely two) people they have little to recommend themselves fuel wise.
3. Motorcyclists kill bicyclists also. Weird little shared data point for cars and bikes.
This one motorcyclist at work asks me every month or so "still biking?" I admit it. He chortles (heheheheheh) and says "Bicycles just aren't for me. I have a neeeed for speeeeeed."
"Yeah well I have a need not to be a doughy ball of paste" I think to myself, but of course never say out loud. Instead I smile. The smile is admittedly getting a little frosty with the passage of time.
I have a need for speed also. But the speed I generate is mine. I made it. I thrill to it. It's fast and beautiful and un-marred by the rumble of an engine and the stink of petroleum.
Americans love motorcycles and do not love bicycles. I've been working on why this would be the case. My tentative theory is that straight (mostly straight?) Americans are insecure about their sexuality. If they love on Harley Davidson they're confident no one will wonder if they are gay. If they think roadies are cool they worry that people will think that they've been looking at those cute roadie bicyclist rumps perched on the tiny saddle with the awkward little bag dangling between their legs.
Really America? What do you care what other people think! Sure you're a relatively new country but who invented Freedom Fries, right? Who? It was you America! Now get out there and get confident! Gay or straight, it's ok to be a beautiful spectacular bicyclist.