While the rest of the blogging world tackles the A to Z challenge, Almost Iowa has thrown down one of his own. Here, then, is my entry in his My Stuff Challenge…
Spring has arrived on the Front Range, and with temps in the 70s it’s time to pull the cover off my motorcycle and see if I can still shift gears and chew gum at the same time.
Yeah, that’s right, I’m another old guy with a crotch-rocket. Don’t look now, but it appears the Hell’s Angels were the victims of a hostile takeover by the AARP. These days Bike Week in Sturgis more closely resembles an episode of the Golden Girls than it does Sons of Anarchy. You know it’s bad when the biggest drug problem at the event is trafficking in unprescribed Flomax.
Chalk it up to brilliant marketing. They tell us the cure for a spreading paunch and receding hairline is sixteen-hundred cubic centimeters of thundering metal between our legs. And judging by the number of sixty-somethings walking around in ass-less chaps and American flag dew-rags, we believe them. Once stricken by what is referred to as ‘Peter Fonda syndrome,’ former bankers and insurance salesmen are transformed into geriatric rebels without a cause, straddling twenty-thousand dollar cruisers, their silver locks fluttering in the wind. If you buy into the Harley-Davidson mystique, an overpriced motorcycle (along with thousands of dollars worth of logo-splashed accessories) is nothing short of the modern-day fountain of youth, making it so that even dentally-challenged guys with moobs and hairy backs can get laid. A couple of dagger tattoos, a leather vest, and you’re ready to roll. Don’t get too excited, though – it turns out having your taint in such close proximity to all that pulsating horsepower still may not be enough to raise the dead so don’t forget to pack the Viagra.
Now, I’m not simply jumping on the bandwagon here…I’ve actually done this before. I owned a Honda 350 back in the days before designer saddle-bags and fairings with 6-speaker sound systems, but it may as well have been a Moped compared to these modern-day behemoths. Bikers used to travel in packs for the protection that came with having a few buddies around who knew how to swing a crow bar when things got dicey, but now it’s more for road service…if one of them drops their bike, it will take five grown men and a gorilla to get it upright again.
And, no, I don’t own a Harley…I figure the extra money I’m saving will come in handy when my next of kin are picking out a casket for me, after I lose control of my “steed” on a mountain road because of my reduced eye-to-hand coordination and go sailing off a switchback into oblivion.
At the moment I ride an old-school Suzuki…very old school, as in circa 1984. As a point of reference, they were assembling this bike while listening to Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ and Wham’s ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’ (at least the Japanese versions of those tunes). It still has plenty of pep but admittedly lacks a little in the ‘cool’ department. Still, if I’m ever in the market for a new bike, I plan to avoid anything that looks like the space shuttle or, say, a praying mantis. I’m simply having a mid-life crisis, okay, not auditioning for a role in the next Batman movie.
No, it should be tastefully low-key…just a few flames painted on the gas tank. On second thought, maybe a pair of muscle-laden women – draped only in bandoleers and chains – throwing lightning bolts from their freakishly large breasts, standing on either side of a giant human skull that has a bloody snake emerging from either eye socket. But that’s all.
The thing is, it’s really not about the bike. Hell, Marlon Brando could have been riding a Big Wheel in The Wild One – it didn’t matter. He was a bad-ass, even with that “Captain and Tennille” sailor hat. But your grandpa gliding along on his chrome-bedecked hog replete with pavement lights, a luggage trailer and Garth Brooks blaring from the stereo, not so much.
Of course, there’s an easy fix for the problem – just get the manufacturers to stop including electric starters as standard equipment. There’s no way grandpa will be able to kick-start that GoldWing after his hip-replacement surgery.