I call this: Self-Portrait in Moto Helmet with Scratch while Getting Gas
Yeah, that’s correct. Moto Chummy. Back in my pre-moto days, I always kind of thought most moto pilots were kind of… well, douchey. You had your guys on cruisers who invariably had extreme facial hair, leather vest and or chaps, looked angry at everyone, and those awful pipes. Then you had your sport bikers pulling wheelies as they redline and lane split all at the same time. Your subclasses like guys on Cafe Racers (hipster pills) and guys on choppers (pretty much criminals with their chrome brain buckets and skeleton bandanas tied around their faces like the robbers when we played cops and robbers as kids). I don’t know. Just didn’t seem like the type of people I wanted to hang out with.
Don’t get me wrong, I always loved the idea of a motorcycle, always wanted to learn to ride, but felt I wasn’t gelling with the community. Then I find some of my friends ride or have wanted to for as long as I have, and they are normal people… mostly. So, take the class, get the license and buy a bike. I believe my bike is what’s called a standard motorcycle, a bit sporty, but naked so you can see its guts. I have since modified it a bit so it comes close to what you would categorize as a street fighter. At least, that’s what I’m saying. If I was pre-moto, I would have called it a sport bike and thought that the guy riding it was probably a dingle-berry.
Why do I bring this all up? Until recently, I was still thinking that my friends and I were probably the exception to the rule as far as douche bags on motos goes. But I just keep meeting more and more friendly people. And today it was just one moto chummy thing after another.
Stacy, at bolty.net, just put up her second Friday happy hour post in as many weeks where she’s asking everyone to introduce themselves, share their blogs, etc. Really nice, chummy (are you sick of that word yet?) stuff. I thought it was a great idea and you can just tell from the tone of her posts, tweets etc. that she’s a nice person.
After reading her post, I headed off to the hills to get a ride in before the rain comes back to the bay. And, of course, riding up in to the hills you pass a lot of other motos and I dig that moto wave. I remember visiting my sis and her family (well, just her husband at that time) in North Carolina when she first got married. I was blown away at how many people my brother-in-law knew while we drove around the flat, country roads, crops rattling their picket-fence rows against my head. There wasn’t one car that we passed where he didn’t wave (well, wave may be too strong a word, usually a lifted finger off the steering wheel). And they waved back. Finally I said something like, man, you know everyone.
He said, “What?”
“You wave to every car that goes by and they wave back.”
“Oh,” he said in a southern draw that, when we first met, I actually needed translated sometimes. “I don’t know everyone. It’s just you wave to everyone around here.”
I figure it’s the same kind of thing. Since motos are more rare than cars, you’re acknowledging, hey man, I see you on your moto. There, in NC, other people are so rare, you’re acknowledging the same thing. Haha. Just kidding… a little. It’s because they’re so damn friendly in the south. Unless, of course, you’re not white. Oh Zing! Just kidding again all you southerners… Well, most of you southerners. Hehe.
I’m feeling happy off Stacy’s post, leaning back and forth into the turns of 84, giving my two finger, peace-type wave to the other motos, etc. When I got up to Alice’s, I saw I needed gas. After I filled up, I started my bike, getting reading to dive into more turns when a guy comes up to me, my age, maybe a little older, his leathers kind of peeled off him to the waist like a banana or surfer, and he says, “Hey,” pointing at my exhaust. “I’ve got a Yoshimura that looks and sounds just like that. I thought it was the same for a second.”
“Oh yeah, this is a Delkevic. It was like 150 bucks,” I say.
“What? Wow. I wish I had known about that. It sounds awesome!”
“Yeah, I like it a lot,” and I proceed to tell him about when we first put the Delkevic on Rob’s bike and how excited we were when he started it up, that throaty growl. “We were really worried it would sound like balls since it was only $150.”
“No, man. It sounds great.”
So, when I pulled out on to Skyline I had to give it just a little more than I normally would, because I knew he was listening. Haha. Maybe I’m the douchey one.
The rest of the ride I was listening to the exhaust. I have said this before, but right in there at about 5500 rpm’s to 6000, sounds so pretty to me on my bike. And when I’m driving around town, coming to a stop, when I first let off the throttle sometimes the exhaust crackles and spits, sounding very MotoGP bike. I love that.
Final chummy moto thing is the way we all kind of look out for one another. On Skyline there was another pilot on the side of the rode, looked like he was messing with his bike, so I slowed down and gave him the is-everything-okay point/gesture. I’m not sure how much help I would have been if he hadn’t given me the yeah-I’m-okay wave, but I would have at least stopped and seen what was up. And I’m sure another pilot would have done the same had I been in trouble. Its the us-against-the-cars unity that we feel. I saw more of that moto bond centered around an accident while we were at Laguna Seca which you can read here.
Ultimately, I’ve met moto pilots who ride every kind of bike and are really nice, fun, cool people. So I will stop being a moto bigot (as shown in the first paragraph) and start being more Moto Chummy! Another term I’ll try to get to catch on. Be Moto Chummy everyone!