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Easy, rider


Recently I read a magazine article that raised the question of whether cyclists and bikers should “join forces” against automobile drivers.

Seeing all the Harleys rumbling around town over the weekend, I couldn’t help but wonder the same thing.

The gist of the article was this: Everyone who rides a two-wheeled vehicle is threatened by four-wheelers. Rather than bicker among ourselves, we should band together to combat the auto menace.

That’s the theory of the article, anyway.

I’m not so sure, for a couple of reasons.

First: What, exactly, are we banding together to combat? In some sort of Mad Max apocalyptic future world, biker and cyclist might need to join forces to combat the rust buckets driven by the wild-haired masses. But I have to say, in that future I’m probably going to be behind the wheel of the biggest rust bucket I can find. Four wheels trump two in motorized jousting any day.

Second: Do we really have that much in common just because we get around on half as many wheels as automobile drivers? Sure, I get the secret motorcyclist wave every now and then when I’m on my bike, but I don’t feel any special kinship with a guy on a Harley or a bullet bike or even a moped, for that matter. Bikes are self-propelled. Motor bikes aren’t. But I don’t feel especially close to unicyclists, either. They’re all clowns anyway.

Third: There’s plenty of division among the ranks of cyclists. If “we” can’t all come together, how can we expect to link up with a whole other phylum, with its own divisive subsets. In the bike world, roadies look down on the stoner mountain bikers; mountain bikers make fun of the uptight roadies; everybody looks down on the lowly commuters, even though many of them also ride recreationally on the road and/or trail.

I have to admit, there are some similarities between cyclists and bikers, though I wouldn’t go around calling a Hog lover a cyclist or a pedal-pusher a biker.

A lot of motorcycle manufacturers also made bikes. (Did you know Harley Davidson once made a bicycle? Though it was said to be especially well made, it wasn’t a big seller).

There are raging debates in both communities about mandatory helmet laws.

Bikers and cyclists have their own fetish clothing: Lycra or leather. (However, we tend to frequent drastically different bars).

And we’re harder to spot than a four-wheeled cage.

But “join forces?” That’s a bit of a stretch. I never knew we were at war.


Steve Jacob 9 years ago

I'll take the bikers in a bar fight, and the cyclists in a mile run.

Janet Lowther 9 years ago

The point is that to many car drivers, any conveyance weighing less than a ton is invisible.

Admittedly, a typical motorbike is ten or more times the weight of a bicycle and is several times faster, but to way too many drivers, both are equally invisible.

It is the invisibility of two-wheeled conveyances that is their common ground.

Leslie Swearingen 9 years ago

I suggest that all pedestrians join forces and wait until there is a group of at least ten before you cross the street, and then link hands and sing koom-by-ya. Your chances would be half and half that a car hit the people on the other side before getting to you. That's a phonetic spelling.

kmat 9 years ago

Maybe some bike riders should think and look both ways before pulling out onto streets. Had three idiots here for the rally all make a left out of the Harley dealership, right in front of me and another car. Luckily, no one ended up hitting anyone. And they acted like we were in the wrong. Heaven forbid we didn't realize the golden rule that anyone on two wheels automatically has right of way over anyone in a car and especially if they are pulling out of a parking lot in front of moving traffic.

I used to ride a bike (rice burner). I understood that I was smaller than the 4 wheeled vehicles I was sharing the road with. I never assumed that I had the right of way and always assumed everyone else didn't see me. That's the only smart way to ride.

They could have really done some good if they had offered riding classes to some of these riders that came into town. It's realy obvious that too many people are getting bikes as status symbols and aren't good riders. Lots of wanna be bikers.

And maybe some bicyclists would like to explain why they were riding 5 across and about 5-6 deep on 15th St. Friday, heading towards the Outhouse. That was a real smart group of cyclists and it was a nice surprise to all the motorists as they topped a hill and we all had to avoid the group of bikes that was trying to take up the entire road.

I swear, I think all kinds of bikers are on suicide missions. And they want to complain about the regular motorists.

gsxr600 9 years ago

Yes dumb people drive cars. Yes dumb people ride bicycles. Yes idiots ride motorcycles. Yes pedestrians walk out in the middle of the street when they feel like it.

There will always be idiots doing something out there. You can't join an alliance and fight it. You can't do anything about it. You can only learn to be defensive and be as safe as possible.

And LOL at calling the bike a "rice burner". Only uneducated non-riding morons call those bikes by that distinction.

kmat 9 years ago

gsxr600 - rice burner (AKA - crotch rocket) is a common name for a Japanese sport bike. It used to be a derogatory term, but now is pretty commonly used amongst all riders. In fact, Harley riders in the 80's coined that name, so I guess Harley riders are only uneducated, non-riding morons to you. And those of us that chose speed instead of the rumble of a standard bike do refer to them as crotch rockets and rice burners now and don't consider it derogitory.

This rider started with a Yamaha Saka and moved on to a Suzuki Katana. Sorry you think only a non-riding moron would use these terms, but you've just shown yourself to be the moron.

Leslie Swearingen 9 years ago

The number five bus stops right at the intersection of 23th and Ousdahl. A woman would always, always get off and walk up about ten feet from the light and then cross. One day I heard the driver yell, "Go with the light!"

kmat 9 years ago

Oh, I just saw your other posts. You ride a crotch rocket too, but feel left out by the Harley riders that don't wave to you. Get over it. Just enjoy riding your rice burning crotch rocket and smile as you pass them and leave them in the dust. And don't get offended by your type of bike being called various names - it will still kick the cr*p out of most other bikes.

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