Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Two Wheel Fashion




It's funny to watch all the different kinds of motorcycle riders around our neighborhood. Considering it, they're probably pretty much the same anywhere in the US.

Most conspicuous is the Born to Be Wild crowd, each guy in the parade more of an outlaw HD biker than the last, with LOUD pipes and bald head. Sometimes there's a variant where the rider has a pony tail of grizzled gray. You've got to have a skull tat per inch of bared skin, possibly a lit cigarette dangling from lower lip. You've got a doo-rag but no helmet, because that would be chicken. Sometimes there's a woman on the back, wearing form fitting leathers no matter what kind of shape she’s in. She’s often younger and skinier than her “old man.” The joke Teeshirt in this crowd has written across the back “If you can read this, the bitch fell off.”

Nowadays, though, The Bitch rides in own right, all she likes to be dressed in leather. It must be tough on some the boyfriends when these gals show up on a better bike! At her best, she looks like Angelina and wears leathers that match the color of her show-room glittering cruiser.

Now, I shouldn’t ignore the genteel HD/big bike riders, because there are a lot of them. They appear to have money, and they spend it on vehicles—big diesel trucks they might not strictly speaking need are parked in their driveways along with boats, and RV’s. They ride beautifully cared for, fully decked HD’s or brutal BMW's, those luxury vehicles of the m’cycle world. They can be spotted astride machines of pastel colors, sailing our interstates, rigged with travel trailers. They are taking long treks to Florida or to the West Coast, or down Route 66, or across Canada, whatever the dream ride. One thing all big bikes love in common is a parade, sometimes to the annoyance of other travelers.

Second, and less familiar stateside, are the Rocket Boys. In our part of the country, world, so near an HD plant, this is necessarily a smaller group. Rocket Boys seem to cling to the coasts and have a strong presence in sprawling urban areas, like Greater Atlanta. My husband and I belong to this group, although we are geriatric members. I ride behind him and as he’s at heart a cautious fellow, there are no stunts for us. It is thrill enough to accelerate down a winding country road, leaving other traffic behind like a black Japanese UFO. We ride in helmets, jackets and boots—maybe we’d go for the full Rocket suit if we traveled longer or less tamely. My husband and I go quietly, unlike some of our brethren. Noise has never been a preference for us; stealth is always our Grail.