It’s a lot of fun, especially at this time of year, to point out the myriad hypocrisies involved in politics. You know, all of a sudden everyone’s religious, everyone’s out to help “the working person”, the decrying of “Swift Boating” tactics just because they got away with it and you didn’t, and so on.
Do you think that politics has become too divisive? Too polarized? Too “it’s us versus them, with no middle ground”?
Then don’t take up motorcycling.
You think there’s a divide between “red states” and “blue states”? That’s nothing compared to the divide between Harley Davidson riders and Everyone Else.
You would think that all motorcyclists would be brethren (or sistern or whatever), because we all ride on two wheels, we all love the feeling, the thrill of motorcycling, we all face the looming threat of the clueless cage drivers, and so on.
But you’d be wrong.
Yes, you gotta love the Harley crowd. Those “rugged individualists” and “rebels”, living their lives their own way, by their own rules, not following the crowd, offering only disdain for the rest of you sheep.
Well, God help you if you’re not wearing the uniform.
q Black T shirt (preferably HD logo infested)
q Jeans with heavy wallet chain
q Bandanna on your unhelmeted head (see below)
q Tats (preferably on your breast or rump if you’re a woman, ‘cause you’ll have plenty of opportunities to display them publicly)
q HD branded outer garment, or chaps, preferably with fringes (only if temps drop below 60 – and if they drop below 50 fuggetabouddit – put the bike in storage), even though you wouldn’t be caught dead wearing anything with fringes otherwise.
And if you’re riding in a helmet-required state (which we all HATE because we believe in FREEDOM (as long as you’re not violating the above criteria)), and PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY (except when we ride for an hour, toss back six beers, then try to ride home) you have to have the absolute minimal helmet, basically the size of a large yarmulka, worn far back on the head where it will do the absolute least good in a crash, and which MUST be adorned with anti-helmet and/or anti-social stickers.
Oh, and be sure to remove at least some of the noise-suppression baffles from your exhaust pipes, because “loud pipes save lives”. Actually, loud pipes just piss everyone off, alienating neighbors, fellow motorists and giving motorcycling in general a bad name. But hey, you’re not one of the lemmings. You’re an individual. You do what you want to. Especially when everyone else in your group does it too.
Your other vehicle (the one that you actually use 97% of the time) should have a “my other car is a Harley” bumper sticker or license plate frame, or you must have a Harley Davidson window decal prominently in the rear window.
Because, as we know, you’re a rebel.
Most motorcyclists, when encountering another on the road, wave to each other. Just a friendly little wave as if to say “this is great isn’t it? We’re sharing a fantastic experience that only we on bikes can truly appreciate. Good luck getting a wave from a Harley rider, if you’re not on one as well. Because you don’t count.
Now, you could get deeper into it, dividing the “real” Harley riders apart from the “RUBs” (abbreviation for Rich Urban Bikers; typically nouveau-riche senior level executives with more disposable income than they know what to do with, so they buy Harleys to enhance their flagging manhood because Corvettes are, well, so 80s), but that would be picking nits.
People don’t ride Harley Davidsons because they are the best bike available. Top heavy, poor handling, uncomfortable for long periods of time, they are generally rather mediocre. And don’t fall prey to the “Buy American” argument – in this global economy Harleys are made from parts sourced all over the world, particularly Asia. Just like everything else.
Go to a motorcycle convention or gathering some time. If it’s a gathering for most kinds of bikes, most of the people who came from a distance rode their bike there, perhaps even over the course of several days, because they love riding. If it’s a gathering featuring Harleys, you can be sure that most of them either came from less than a couple of hours away, or trailered or trucked their bike to the destination, then rode the remaining few miles to make their appearance on their well-polished, chrome-adorned badges of social differentiation.
You’re riding a Harley to make a statement. You’re a dissident. Different from the rest of us. You don’t play by anyone else’s rules.
Non Harley Rider